Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans to cut Medicare Advantage rates by 30 percent on average for its 72,000 North Carolina customers who are covered by the health insurance policies.
The Durham-based health insurer said the savings for the typical North Carolina customers will range between $200 and $675 a year, depending on the plan they select and the county they live in. The rate cut, approved by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, will translate to a 25 percent reduction in Wake County, 38 percent cut in Durham County and 39 percent cut in Johnston County.
As part of the savings, Blue Cross is offering its Medicare Advantage members a free gym membership at any of 458 participating health clubs across the state.
The company is also expanding Medicare Advantage coverage from 82 counties to 86 counties in the state.
The rate reductions for 2019 will range for a 15 percent cut in Richmond County to a 69 percent cut in three counties: Montgomery, Stanly and Union.
Medicare Advantage provides health care benefits — such as vision, dental and prescription drug coverage — additional to those provided by the federal health insurance program for people aged 65 and older.
Open enrollment for the plans runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, and coverage begins Jan. 1.