CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee will add 45 counties to its Medicare Advantage Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) network in 2010. In total 67 counties across Tennessee will now have access to the company’s Medicare Advantage PPO network.

BlueCross’ Medicare Advantage PPO product, BlueAdvantage, includes approximately 15,741 physicians and 85 hospitals and medical facilities throughout Tennessee.

“We’re pleased to be able to provide our members such a variety of choices to meet their health care needs,” said Robert Slattery, vice president and general manager of BlueCross’ senior care division. “Whether it’s an expanded network, cost savings features like a $0 plan, or access to a health coach, more seniors across the state will be able to benefit from our member-centered approach.”

The following counties are part of the 2010 PPO network expansion:

Bedford, Benton, Bledsoe, Blount, Carter, Chester, Clairborne, Cocke, Coffee, Crockett, Franklin, Gibson, Giles, Grainger, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Hickman, Johnson, Lake, Lauderdale, Lawrence, McMinn, McNairy, Madison, Marshall, Maury, Meigs, Montgomery, Morgan, Obion, Overton, Rutherford, Scott, Sequatchie, Stewart, Tipton, Unicoi, Union, Washington, Wayne, White, Williamson, Wilson

The entire line of BlueAdvantage PPO products will be available in these counties. These PPO plans provide both Medicare Part A (hospital) and Part B (medical) coverage along with Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage in one plan.

Some features of the PPO plans include benefits for an annual routine physical exam and preventive screenings, discounts on items like gym memberships, and air medical transportation back to a hospital close to home for members traveling 150 miles from home.

Open enrollment for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries is Nov. 15 – Dec. 31. For more information on BlueCross’ BlueAdvantage PPO plans, visit www.bcbst-medicare.com or call 1-866-210-1522.

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.