These new products will extend VNSNY’s mission by offering comprehensive and affordable healthcare coverage to more low-income New Yorkers.
In a step that’s expected to accelerate VNSNY’s business growth and extend the reach of the organization’s 128-year-old mission, VNSNY CHOICE Health Plans has introduced two new Medicare Advantage health plans for 2022. The two plans, EasyCare and EasyCare Plus, are geared to lower-income New Yorkers, with a robust provider network and affordable premiums. Adding to the plans’ appeal is the fact that they are the only Medicare Advantage HMO plans in New York City or Long Island to have a 4.5 Star quality score (out of 5 Stars), based on the strong quality ratings of the CHOICE Total MAP plan.
“We’re already serving 28,000 New Yorkers with specialized needs through our three existing plans—our Medicaid plans, CHOICE MLTC and SelectHealth, and our integrated Medicare-Medicaid plan, CHOICE Total,” says Dr. Hany Abdelaal, President of VNSNY CHOICE. “With the addition of EasyCare and EasyCare Plus, we’re poised to bring our high-quality health coverage to thousands of additional New Yorkers.”
Both plans offer an array of supplemental benefits, including dental, vision and hearing coverage, as well as a benefit that can be used to purchase OTC medications and health supplies. EasyCare Plus members can also use their OTC benefit to buy groceries at select locations, and even arrange for groceries or healthy meals to be delivered to their home. “Good nutrition is essential for optimal health,” notes David Robinson, Vice President, Sales and Partnership Development at CHOICE. “This OTC/food benefit will go a long way toward addressing the food insecurity that’s all too common among dual Medicare-Medicaid recipients, many of whom find it hard to afford healthy foods.”
Here are highlights of the two new CHOICE health plans:
CHOICE EasyCare is open to anyone eligible for Medicare, but it is particularly well-suited for Medicare beneficiaries who are not eligible for Medicaid but who do qualify for the Medicare low-income subsidy, which can bring down the cost of premiums substantially. Members have a co-pay of just $10 when they visit their primary care physician. The plan’s benefits include coverage of prescription drugs, dental care, vision (including glasses or contacts), hearing (including hearing aids) and podiatry services; free transportation to health care appointments; and access to health coaching, CHOICE pharmacists, and a 24/7 nurse hotline. Plan members also receive a special benefit that can be used to purchase over-the-counter medications and other health supplies, while the plan’s Sliver Sneakers benefit gives them access to gyms and virtual exercise classes.
CHOICE EasyCare Plus is designed for people who are enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid. Premiums and primary physician co-pays for members can run as low as zero dollars, depending on their level of Medicaid eligibility. Like EasyCare, this plan also covers medical care, prescription drugs, dental, transportation and health coaching services, and includes a significantly larger OTC medication and health supplies benefit that can also be used to buy groceries and other food supplies. Purchasing options include produce boxes, healthy meals, in-store shopping and home delivery.
“Taken in combination with our current CHOICE Total plan, these new plan offerings provide a unique suite of products that can work together to support our Medicare-eligible CHOICE members over time, enabling them to shift from one CHOICE plan to another as their health status and financial situation change,” says David. “At the same time, the new CHOICE plans will diversify our revenue stream.”
Both EasyCare and EasyCare Plus began advertising on October 1st and will start enrolling new members on October 15th, when Medicare’s annual open enrollment period gets underway. The plans will be marketed through a variety of mediums, including print publications, display ads, digital advertising and radio, with a special focus on direct mail outreach.
“Our target audience for these plans is an ethnically diverse Medicare population that’s spread across New York City, Long Island and Westchester,” says Cindy Zanca, Vice President, Marketing. “Our consumer research found that many of these individuals feel overwhelmed or confused by the healthcare system—so CHOICE, with our strong member support systems, is well-positioned to serve as a trusted advisor to them.”
To help spread the word, CHOICE is encouraging all VNSNY employees to let their friends and family know about the new plans. Any staff who are interested in learning more about the plans can reach out to CHOICE in one of two ways:
- Send an email to [email protected] and ask CHOICE to contact you with information about the plans. If you’d like a call back, you should include your phone number and the best time to reach you.
- Call the CHOICE Medicare line at 1-718-4CHOICE (1-718-424-6423) from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, seven days a week.
“The terrific supplemental benefits these new plans are able to offer are one of the key things that help set them apart,” adds Hany. “It’s important to remember that the financial incentives CHOICE has earned from our outstanding quality scores are what allow us to provide these benefits. So these new plans truly reflect the tremendous work of our entire organization, as well as the great efforts by the staff working on the new plans themselves. I’m proud of everyone involved, and I look forward to seeing the response to EasyCare and EasyCare Plus when open enrollment begins this week!”