Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is open: Select a plan that offers the whole-health benefits you need.

(BPT) - The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is here — and it’s important to make sure you have the healthcare coverage you need for the year ahead. It’s also important to understand that not all Medicare health plans are the same. Some offer benefits that can help with the everyday challenges of healthy living — benefits that aren’t offered by others.

Medicare Advantage, or Medicare Part C, are Medicare plans that can be purchased through private health insurers. Medicare Advantage plans include all the benefits of the Original Medicare program offered through the federal government, but also provide additional benefits to members that are not offered by Original Medicare.

This year’s deadline to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan for 2021 is December 7, 2020.

The wellness benefits that make a difference

One of the most important differences between Medicare Advantage and Original Medicare is that many Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, also known as Medicare Part D. Medicare Advantage plans also have annual limits on out-of-pocket costs, while Original Medicare does not have these caps.

Many Medicare Advantage plans offer additional benefits not available with Original Medicare that help with day-to-day needs that aren’t strictly medical but can still have a profound effect on health. There’s more to health than getting sick or hurt and needing treatment. Social and economic factors like the ways we live, the things we eat, and the environments that surround us are all a part of “whole health.”

That’s why Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield makes these types of wellness benefits available in many of their 2021 Medicare Advantage plans. Customers who enroll in MA plans through Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield have access to Essential Extras, which allow them to select one of nine whole health benefits at no additional cost. These benefits support the whole health of customers in several key areas such as food and nutrition, support at home, and accessibility.

A member accessed nutrition education benefits through her Medicare Advantage plan to support her health and weight loss journey. “The Healthy Pantry benefit available to me through my Medicare Advantage Plan helped me lose forty pounds over the past several months and make smarter decisions around my diet. The nutrition benefit means so much to me because it allows me to maintain a healthy lifestyle that lets me take part in the activities that I value the most.”

The plans can also help members stay healthy with access to fitness trackers and healthy meal deliveries. Beyond nutrition and fitness, these wellness benefits address whole health by improving access to care with transportation to health appointments and in-home personal aides.

“Healthy living is a choice we have to make every day,” says Martin Esquivel, Vice President of Medicare Product Management at Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “Help around the house, healthy food delivered to your door, health-related transportation assistance, and other similar benefits can help address the ‘social determinants’ of health and support living a healthier life.”

To learn more about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Medicare Advantage plans and Essential Extras, visit shop.anthem.com/medicare.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield depends on contract renewal. This policy has exclusions, limitations and terms under which the policy may be continued in force or discontinued. For more information on benefits, please contact your agent or the health plan.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin (BCBSWI), Compcare Health Services Insurance Corporation (Compcare), and Wisconsin Collaborative Insurance Company (WCIC). Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc., an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Anthem Health Plans, Inc. an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthcare Plan of Georgia, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of: In Indiana: Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. In Kentucky: Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky, Inc. In Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area): RightCHOICE® Managed Care, Inc. (RIT), Healthy Alliance® Life Insurance Company (HALIC), and HMO Missouri, Inc. RIT and certain affiliates administer non-HMO benefits underwritten by HALIC and HMO benefits underwritten by HMO Missouri, Inc. RIT and certain affiliates only provide administrative services for self-funded plans and do not underwrite benefits. In Ohio: Community Insurance Company. In Virginia: Anthem Health Plans of Virginia, Inc. trades as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia, and its service area is all of Virginia except for the City of Fairfax, the Town of Vienna, and the area east of State Route 123.

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