FARGO — For the third year in a row, Medicare participants will be able to enroll in Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota's (BCBSND) MedicareBlueSM Rx prescription drug plan year round as a result of the product's five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The typical open enrollment period for a plan that did not earn the five-star rating is Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.
"The five-star rating allows seniors to enroll in our prescription drug plan at any time of the year, while plans that do not have a five-star rating can only be selected during the special open enrollment period," said Judd Wagner, chief marketing officer of BCBSND. "It allows seniors more flexibility in selecting their plan. If they try another plan and don't like it, they can switch to us at any time during the year."
BCBSND is the only plan in the state and one of only four plans nationwide to achieve the five-star rating. MedicareBlue Rx is also the only plan in the nation to achieve the top rating every year since CMS began the Star Rating System. The perfect rating demonstrates the excellence and accessibility of BCBSND's products and the not-for-profit member-owned company's strong focus on providing customers with the best possible service, quality and access to care.
"This is a very difficult measurement to attain," Wagner said. "We are extremely proud and excited to be the only plan in the state to have a five-star rating three years in a row."
All scores are posted online at www.Medicare.gov. Medicare prescription plans that receive five-star ratings can offer their products year round beginning on Jan. 1, 2013, through a special enrollment period, instead of only being available during a fixed open enrollment period.
The Star Rating System was designed to provide consumers with additional information to help them choose a plan offered in their area. Plans are rated based on several quality measures, with the summary score providing a measure of a plan's overall quality and a representation of the quality of care, access to care, responsiveness and beneficiary satisfaction of the plan. Plans with five-star scores represent "excellent performance."
About Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota
BCBSND is a member-owned, not-for-profit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. As North Dakota's largest provider of health care coverage, BCBSND is taking BOLD steps to collaborate with doctors, hospitals, clinics and members to ensure affordable access to quality health care in the state. To learn more about BCBSND, visit www.BCBSND.com.