Nov 18, 2019

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island introduces Medicare Advantage program built around Oak Street Health providers

Medicare beneficiaries who qualify for Extra Help/Medicaid, choose the BlueCHiP for Medicare Value Plan (HMO-POS), and select an Oak Street Health provider are eligible for the ACCESS Program with zero dollar no-cost copays for numerous services

PROVIDENCE, RI – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) is expanding its Medicare Advantage offerings with a program that builds on the BlueCHiP for Medicare Value  plan with even fewer out-of-pocket costs. The ACCESS Program is available to Medicare-eligible adults who qualify for Extra Help/Medicaid, choose the BlueCHiP for Medicare Value plan, and select a primary care provider from Oak Street Health, a network of primary care centers that deliver value-based care to adults on Medicare.

“Our Medicare Advantage plans are designed to meet a variety of healthcare and budget needs to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries in Rhode Island, especially those in vulnerable communities, have access to the best health plan for their lifestyle and budget,” said Corey McCarty, BCBSRI’s vice president, consumer segment. “Through the ACCESS Program, BCBSRI is able to remove cost barriers and increase access to high-quality care, meeting the unique needs of those who qualify for Extra Help/Medicaid.”

Specifically, customers enrolled in the ACCESS Program will find a number of enhancements beyond their $0 monthly premium (you must continue to pay your Part B premium) BlueCHiP for Medicare Value plan. Some of those enhancements include

  • $0 specialist copay
  • $0 urgent care copay
  • $0 inpatient hospital copay
  • $0 outpatient surgery, hospital, and ambulatory surgery center (ASC) copay
  • $0 copays for MRI’s, CT scans, etc.
  • $200 quarterly CVS Pharmacy® over-the-counter (OTC)

BCBSRI has teamed up with Oak Street Health, a provider of care for adults on Medicare, to expand access to high-quality, convenient healthcare in a comfortable, culturally competent, community setting. The first Oak Street Health location in Rhode Island is now open at 300 Quaker Lane in Warwick with other centers currently under development and expected to be located at 650 Branch Avenue and 712 Broad Street in Providence.

Some of the benefits of choosing an Oak Street Health provider include:

  • A multilingual care team
  • Same-day or next-day appointments
  • Shorter wait times
  • More time with the doctor
  • Transportation to and from Oak Street Health appointments for eligible patients
  • Onsite social support for connecting into community resources
  • Telephone support 24/7
  • Community events

Members of all BCBSRI Medicare plans can receive their primary care at Oak Street Health. “We know that as people get older, their health needs change, and the response to Oak Street Health has been tremendous,” said McCarty. “Our members are already enjoying the benefits of this unique center that fosters a sense of community and support for our patients and the community-at-large.”

The ACCESS Program also includes benefits that are available across the BCBSRI Medicare Advantage portfolio; including:  

  • Dental coverage – Quality dental coverage is included in most plans, including 90 percent of Rhode Island dentists in the BCBSRI network.
  • $0 mail order drugs – A $0 copay for a 90-day supply of many generic drugs in Tiers 1 & 2 delivered to members’ doors. Excludes medical-only plans.
  • Hearing – No cost routine office hearing visits and up to two hearing aids for as low as a $200 copay per ear, plus a three-year supply of batteries, and a hearing aid fitting and evaluation.
  • Allowance for glasses and vision hardware – No cost routine office vision visits and a $100-$200 allowance (depending on the plan) if you need glasses or vision hardware.
  • $0 national gym benefit - BCBSRI customers receive a $0 national gym benefit with access to more than 14,000 fitness centers across the country.
  • Rides to doctors’ visits – Up to 24 one-way trips to make it easy to visit a primary care provider (PCP) or specialist.

There are a number of ways Rhode Islanders can learn more about the ACCESS Program and BCBSRI’s full 2020 Medicare Advantage offerings including:

  • Attend an information meeting: For Medicare-eligible adults looking for more information about Medicare options, BCBSRI is hosting meetings across the state throughout the months of October, November, and December. To find a convenient meeting date and time, please visit
  • Visit a Your Blue Store℠ location:
    • Cowesett Corners, 300 Quaker Lane, Warwick
    • Highland Commons, 71 Highland Avenue, East Providence
    • Lincoln Mall Shopping Center, 622 George Washington Highway, Lincoln
    • *NEW* Marshalls Plaza, 1400 Oaklawn Avenue, Cranston [open during Annual Election Period (AEP) only]

All four locations provide Rhode Islanders with a personalized way to interact with their health plan whether they have health plan benefit questions, need help finding a doctor, want to take free fitness classes, or talk to a BCBSRI nurse about ways to save on medications. For more information about BCBSRI retail locations, including extended hours during the Medicare AEP, visit

  • Visit the BCBSRI sales and service mobile unit during AEP. Follow BCBSRI on Facebook and Twitter to learn where the mobile unit will be visiting.
  • Call BCBSRI’s Medicare Sales team: You can call 1-800-505-2583 (TTY: 711.) From October 1 through March 31, the hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. From April 1 to September 30, the hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Read The Rhode Ahead: The Rhode Ahead for Medicare members features a variety of content relevant to BCBSRI Medicare Advantage plans.
  • Visit BCBSRI Medicare website:

During AEP, between October 15 and December 7, 2019, eligible adults can enroll or make changes to their Medicare plan, which goes into effect on January 1, 2020.

You must continue to pay your Part B premium. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is an HMO and PPO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island depends on contract renewal.

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