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Blue Shield of California To Offer a Medicare Advantage HMO Plan in 2016 in Portions of Kern County

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (October 26, 2015) --- Blue Shield of California today announced that it will continue to offer $0 premium and $0 deductible Medicare Advantage Plan benefits to current GEMCare Health Plan members in portions of Kern County. Through the acquisition of GEMCare Health Plan, Inc. on February 28, 2014, Blue Shield of California’s Medicare Advantage Plan will now have a presence in Kern County. The name of GEMCare Health Plan’s Medicare Advantage Plan in Kern County will change to Blue Shield 65 PlusSM (HMO) as of January 1, 2016. Additionally, Blue Shield 65 Plus will also be making coverage available to eligible county retirees with the County of Kern. Blue Shield has notified current GEMCare members of these changes.

“We are pleased to expand our reach and looking forward to serving even more Medicare members next year,” said Cathy Campbell, vice president and general manager, senior markets. “Blue Shield is dedicated to providing the highest levels of service and continues to look for ways to help our members improve their health. This expansion allows us to further our mission to ensure all Californians have access to high quality health care at an affordable price.”

Blue Shield 65 Plus benefits available in parts of Kern County in 2016 include:

  • $0 plan premium and $0 deductible (members must continue to pay their Medicare Part B premium)

  • $0 copay for basic X-rays, lab services, diabetic strips and lancets

  • $5 copay for primary care physician and $15 copay for specialist office visits

  • $5 copay for a 30-day supply of preferred generic drugs

  • Vision and hearing benefits

  • Chiropractic and podiatry services

  • Nurses on call to answer your healthcare questions 24/7

  • Blue Shield 65 Plus is the only Medicare Advantage Plan with GEMCare Medical Group in our provider network

Some current GEMCare Medicare Plus (HMO) members will need to switch plans for 2016. When Blue Shield acquired GEMCare Health Plan, the review to ensure members had adequate access to network providers, including specialists, identified gaps which resulted in a service area reduction for 2016. Blue Shield has notified impacted members about their plan changes.

Blue Shield of California is an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Blue Shield of California depends on contract renewal. This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. Limitations, copayments and restrictions may apply. Benefits, premiums and/or copayments/coinsurance may change on January 1 of each year.

Contact: Mia Campitelli, 415-229-5359,

Background on Blue Shield of California

Blue Shield of California, an independent member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health plan with 4 million members, 6,800 employees and more than $13 billion in annual revenue. Founded in 1939 and headquartered in San Francisco, Blue Shield of California and its affiliates provide health, dental, vision, Medicaid and Medicare health care service plans in California. The company’s mission is to ensure all Californians have access to high-quality care at an affordable price. Blue Shield has contributed more than $325 million over the past ten years to the Blue Shield of California Foundation. Contact your local agent or broker about Blue Shield of California products and services, or visit