Health Care Service Corporation is again growing the reach of its Medicare Advantage offerings. The company carried out its largest-ever expansion in 2022 and is planning even bigger growth for 2023, reaching more than 150 new counties in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
In this interview, HCSC Medicare President Christine Kourouklis shares why providing options to the Medicare-eligible population is a critical part of the company’s broader strategy and mission.
Why is HCSC investing significant attention and resources in Medicare?
Medicare Advantage is really important for the organization because we want to be able to serve our members throughout their lifetime. And that includes offering affordable Medicare Advantage products as an option as they age into Medicare. The expansions really allow us to go deep in our communities and advance our mission to provide access to quality, affordable coverage.
How did the company decide where to go?
We were thoughtful to make sure we were focusing on all five states and looking particularly at underserved and rural areas where there are opportunities to help close gaps in care. We also carefully considered where we could leverage and build on existing provider relationships.
Why would Medicare Advantage options be particularly important in these areas?
As you think about Medicare Advantage plans, they offer benefits beyond what traditional Medicare offers, such as enhanced benefits like dental, vision, hearing and prescription drugs. And they offer the member a wide array of price points.
We have options at a $0 monthly premium and lower cost sharing, as well as those enhanced benefits. While we’re not able to discuss details ahead of regulatory approval, we plan to offer a wide array of benefit options to meet the diverse needs of these members.
What has to happen behind the scenes to reach so many new areas at once?
It took almost everybody to be a part of it — I can’t think of an internal area that wasn’t involved. In addition, we contracted with about 22,000 health care providers and 3,000 hospitals and other medical facilities to make sure members have access to quality care in these new areas, including when and where they want and need it.
That really shows how we're going deep in these communities — and as we talked about, many are rural and underserved areas. This is really important to us, and we’re just so excited.