CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — In today’s challenging economy, local governments across Tennessee are searching for affordable ways to meet their commitments to provide retiree health care coverage. To help meet that need, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is launching BlueAdvantage Plus, a unique group retiree health plan.

BlueAdvantage Plus provides the advantage of large group coverage by combining Tennessee municipal retirees into one large statewide group. This group purchasing power means the same monthly premium is applied to health benefits whether it’s a large city like Memphis or a small township in the Tri-Cities.

“Employers across the state are telling us that health care affordability is the key issue for them right now,” said Rob Slattery, vice president and general manager of BlueCross’ senior care division. “This new concept in coverage helps answer the requests for local governments to ensure quality health care for their retirees and control their own costs, while saving money for the local taxpayers.”

BlueAdvantage Plus provides seniors with comprehensive benefit designs that cannot be bought in the individual market. The two design options available include BlueAdvantage Plus PFFS, a private fee-for-service Medicare Advantage plan that includes Medicare Part D prescription drug benefits, and BlueAdvantage Plus PPO, which uses a preferred provider organization that offers a network of doctors and hospitals. The BlueAdvantage Plus PPO also includes Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.

According to Tammy Helton, product manager for BlueAdvantage Plus, both plans offer benefits such as no deductible, $10 office copays, free annual physicals, no referrals for specialists, and free air ambulance service.

Additional free services for members include preventive health coaching, care management for chronic conditions, a 24 hour-a-day telephonic health information library and online personal health manager.

“Beyond a solution for local governments, BlueAdvantage Plus is a real value for retirees. It not only addresses the costs for seniors, many of whom are on fixed incomes, but it also addresses their well-being,” Helton said.

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.