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Arkansas Blue Cross committed to Medicare Advantage business

Barnett, Curtis 2017

A message from Curtis Barnett, president and chief executive officer

Independent agents and brokers have made huge contributions to Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s success over the years – from our beginning, more than 70 years ago, right up to today … and for many more years to come.

You are a vital connection point to the people who are at the heart of our mission.

And our senior population is no different. Over the years, our Medicare supplement Medi-Pak® products, which help pay some of the healthcare costs Medicare doesn’t cover (like copayments, coinsurance and deductibles) has enjoyed great success – largely due to the work of independent agents and brokers.

For a number of reasons, we’ve been less successful with our Medicare Advantage products, which, unlike supplements, provide all of our policyholders’ Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance) coverage. These two products are:

  • Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Med-Pak® Advantage PFFS (patient fee-for-service)
  • Health Advantage Med-Pak® Advantage HMO (health maintenance organization)

Over the last 18 months, we’ve committed one of our executive leaders to investigating the reasons behind our puzzling performance on these products and develop a strategy to turn it around. This has been an extensive initiative that has touched virtually every department at Arkansas Blue Cross.

A big part of this investigation involved obtaining feedback from independent agents and brokers. You openly and honestly communicated your observations and concerns, and we listened. We greatly appreciate your candor.

Based on this input and the conclusions developed as part of this investigation, I want to make a few things clear:

  • Arkansas Blue Cross is committed to making Medi-Pak Advantage successful.
  • I firmly believe the Medi-Pak Advantage approach is the future and may result in a model for all our individual coverage plans to emulate in the near future.
  • We will continue to look for ways to improve our Medi-Pak Advantage plans to ensure that they meet our members’ healthcare needs and provide so much value that they will be viewed as the most attractive offerings in the marketplace.

I know this is a busy time of year, and I wish you a very successful annual open enrollment season. Please know that we highly value your tireless efforts to match your clients with health plans and options that meet their unique needs and are resolved to provide solutions that help you succeed.