The History of Anthem
Anthem was founded in the 1940s in Indianapolis, Indiana. It has grown from its small beginning to one of the nation’s largest health insurance carriers. The company started with the creation of Mutual Hospital Insurance and Mutual Medical Insurance. These two companies merged in the 1980s, forming Associated Insurance Companies Inc., later becoming the Associated Group.
The Anthem name appeared originally as a subsidiary of American General Insurance, which was acquired by the Associated Group early in its formation. The Associated Group acquired Community Mutual Insurance of Ohio in 1995, and one year later changed the name of the parent company to Anthem Insurance Company.
In 2003, Anthem acquired Wellpoint, then modified its name to Anthem Inc. In 2015, Anthem sought to merge with another healthcare giant, Cigna, but the merger was not approved by federal regulators.
Anthem is now the largest for-profit managed healthcare company in the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
Because the Blue Cross Blue Shield brand name is often attached to Anthem, many customers are confused about the relationship between the two companies.
Blue Cross Blue Shield is a federation of 36 health insurance companies. It is often referred to as the “Association” in the healthcare industry. BCBS licenses its name to various healthcare companies that meet certain standards of excellence.
Anthem offers Medicare Supplement Plans in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Depending on your state, Anthem may operate under different brands. In California, it operates under Anthem Blue Cross. In New York, it is Empire BlueCross BlueShield. In the other states, it uses Anthem BlueCross and BlueShield.
Anthem has a high rating among companies that specialize in rating financial and healthcare companies. The Better Business Bureau gives Anthem an A+ rating. AM Best awarded Anthem an A rating. S&P rates the company near the top with a AA-. Financial stability and strength are important for an insurance company. It is an indication of its ability to pay claims promptly and also reinvest in innovation to improve the customer experience. Because of Anthem’s growth, it has climbed the Fortune 500 list to 33rd place as of the end of 2020.
Health among the senior population is important to Anthem. Over the past several years, it has begun focusing specifically on health products for seniors.
What Does Anthem Medicare Cover?
Anthem offers many healthcare products, from individual health insurance coverage to group health insurance, but it stands out with its supplemental Medicare plans.
As you know, Medicare Supplement coverage was designed by the federal government to assist and cover large out-of-pocket costs not covered by traditional Medicare. These products are administered by private insurance companies like Anthem. While the coverages are standardized among all insurance companies, premiums and extra benefits can vary widely from company to company.
Medicare Supplement plans come in a variety of plans based on the coverage they offer. Plans are labeled Plan A through Plan L. Most companies do not offer every Plan standardized by the federal government. Also, plans offered by different carriers can vary based on geography and the states where companies offer them.
Anthem offers only Plans A, G, and N in most states. It also offers Plan F, but F is only available to Medicare recipients who entered the system prior to 2020.
Plan A is the basic Medicare supplement plan offering the least amount of coverage among supplements.
Recipients of Plan A will receive Medicare Part A coinsurance for an additional year, Medicare Part B copayment, 3 pints of blood, Part A hospice coinsurance or copay, and Part B preventive care coinsurance.
Anthem’s Medicare Supplement Plan F
Plan F has undergone several changes over the last couple of years. For years it was the most popular Supplement plan because it is so comprehensive. Today, it is only available to seniors who entered Medicare prior to 2020.
Even though it is not available for new Medicare subscribers, it still remains a quality comprehensive product.
Plan F covers:
- Part A deductible
- Part B deductible
- Part B excess charges
- Preventative care Part B co-insurance
- Part A hospital and co-insurance costs up to an additional 356 days after Medicare benefits are exhausted
- Part B co-insurance or co-payment
- First three pints of blood used in an approved medical procedure (annually)
- Part A hospice care co-payment or co-insurance
- Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) co-insurance
- Foreign travel emergency
For those eligible for Plan F, there are also high-deductible Medicare plans that offer lower premiums for healthy seniors with low medical expenses.
Anthem Medicare Supplement Plan G
Plan G has slowly become the most popular plan. It is identical in coverage to Plan F, except it does not cover the Part B deductible. Because of that, premiums for Plan G are much lower. Many seniors found that the money they saved with Plan G, more than made up for the deductible cost.
Anthem Medicare Supplement Plan N
Plan N is one of the newest Medicare supplements on the market. This plan was created in 2010, and offers comprehensive coverage but lower premiums than Plan G. The reason for the lower premiums is that you do pay more out-of-pocket costs, but the large costs are covered by the insurance. Like G, you are responsible for the Part B deductible, but also any Part B excess charges.
Anthem Other Medicare Supplement Products
Even though Medicare plans tend to be Anthem’s most popular coverage, it also offers other Medicare-based products, including Medicare Advantage.
Anthem offers the Medicare Part C, Medicare Advantage plan. This can be a great Medigap plan for many seniors, but the healthcare choices can be limited and it is not available in every geographical location.
Another Anthem plan is Part D, Medicare prescription drug coverage. In many locations, they have vision and dental plans as well.
Committed to a Great Customer Experience
In general, insurance can be very confusing, especially health-related insurance. Anthem understands this and has done a great job responding to customers’ concerns in understanding their coverages.
Anthem explains supplemental health coverages and benefits without a lot of insurance jargon.
Extra Medicare Benefits
- Medicare Supplemental Insurance provides deep security for seniors against the high out-of-pocket medical costs that Medicare does not provide. However, they do not cover everything such as vision, dental, or prescription drug coverage. As someone managing their healthcare expenses, these coverages are essential as well. Anthem offers all three of these coverages that you add separately.
- Silver Sneakers is another supplemental insurance health benefit that Anthem provides that is highly valued among seniors. Anthem has created a detailed resource describing Silver Sneakers if this free exercise program is of interest.
- Discounts are available to Anthem subscribers. Paying your premium in full versus monthly billing will save you the most money. If you decide you want to pay monthly, Anthem offers a discount for automatic withdrawals as well. Finally, Anthem provides a household discount if you and your spouse both subscribe to Anthem for your Medicare Supplement.
- Anthem Extras: Anthem also offers Travel assistance to provide access to arrange medical transport. They also have a member assistance program that you can call to receive medical advice from one of their care managers.
Drawbacks of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Supplements
- Localized: Like many insurance companies, Anthem supplemental insurance is currently not offered in every state. This can be a challenge to some consumers, especially if you have moved to a state that does not offer Anthem. This is normal and does not reflect on Anthem. They continue to expand their product offerings in various states. If you have had Anthem in the past and currently live somewhere they are not offered, Medicare Nationwide agents can shop you with carriers available to you and provide multiple offerings on similar packages and pricing.
- Price comparisons: Some customers have complained about navigating Anthem’s site when they try to compare plans and pricing in their states. This is a common concern we hear from multiple companies. Because of this issue, we’ve created a tool that allows you to compare pricing and companies. Medicare Nationwide understands the problem, and also provides live agents to help you sift through all your options when choosing a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage.
Anthem Builds Reputation for Care and Concern
Anthem has grown into one of the largest healthcare providers for seniors by building a reputation for care and concern for their customers. We recommend Anthem as one of your options as you are searching for a Medicare Supplement provider. If you want to compare other companies in your area, we can provide a list of other recommended carriers as well. Anthem has done a great job for its customers, but you are not stuck with one option, and our experienced agents can provide you with a full list of options.
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