Medicare Advantage plans, which many private insurers now offer, are an alternative to the government's basic and typically free Medicare coverage. With Medicare Advantage plans, members pay to receive Medicare health coverage as well as additional benefits, like dental and vision care.
With the upcoming changes, HCSC says it will offer plans in more than 82% of counties in the states it serves as it focuses on rural and underserved areas. HCSC still needs state regulatory approval for the expansion and did not immediately respond to a request for comment seeking additional details.
The private insurer has grown to serve nearly 18 million members, including 1 million Medicare customers, across its five states and is Illinois’ largest health insurance provider, with 77% of the market as of 2021.
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Last year, HCSC saw profits jump 20%, which the company attributes to a growing customer base and a decrease in claims related to COVID-19 care. In its annual report, published in May, HCSC reported net income climbing to nearly $1.5 billion as revenues reached $49.3 billion in 2022.
HCSC classifies itself as a "mutual legal reserve company," which means it is customer-owned and operates like a nonprofit.
"With expanded coverage and competitively priced offerings across our five states, HCSC remains a market-leader in providing affordable health care coverage to all members," said HCSC Senior Vice President of Government and Individual Markets Nathan Linsley. "We continue to invest in our member experience and provider networks to ensure our Medicare members receive the highest quality of care and service."
The expansion of HCSC’s Medicare Advantage coverage comes as Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois fills 300 jobs at a Pilsen customer service center, a move the organization said was necessary as its member base grows.
This story first appeared in Crain's Chicago Business.