Utica, NY

Vets helping vets: A new Medicare plan targeting the needs of veterans

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield will offer a Medicare Advantage plan in 2023 targeting the needs of local veterans.

karen bodley headshot

Karen Bodley

“We all know how important it is to honor the service of local veterans,” said Karen Bodley, vice president, Medicare at Excellus BCBS. “It’s also important to have health coverage that meets their needs and pairs well with existing U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs coverage – at no extra cost to them.”

In addition to $0 premiums and low copays for doctor visits, Medicare BlueSalute (PPO) includes:

  • $0 copays for behavioral health visits
  • 12 one-way rides* annually to health-related locations at no cost
  • $35 Part B monthly premium refund 
  • Access to an expansive network of doctors and hospitals  

Visit ExcellusMedicare.com for more. 

What our veterans told us

Before deciding on plan benefits, Medicare employees at the Health Plan asked co-workers who served in the military for their perspectives on gaps in care faced by them and/or their fellow veterans.

The employees’ feedback was clear: Veterans could benefit from more access to care, more help with transportation, and more coverage for behavioral health.  

Chad Tooke headshot

Chad Tooke

“The veteran community is different,” said Chad Tooke, Utica, a veteran and a provider network and strategy manager at Excellus BCBS. “Certain needs are much bigger for veterans, like transportation, for example. A lot of veterans are physically isolated and can’t get to health care facilities very easily. And behavioral health – that is a big topic and something we pushed for.”

Although Medicare BlueSalute (PPO) was designed with veterans in mind, anyone Medicare eligible can enroll in the plan.

Other improvements to Medicare

In addition to new benefits for Medicare BlueSalute (PPO), Excellus BCBS also added enhancements to its other 2023 Medicare Advantage plans:  

  • Lower cost sharing and reduced premiums
  • $0 copays for preventive dental services, including exams, cleanings and X-rays 
  • Comprehensive dental benefits with a $1,000 annual allowance   
  • Annual eyewear allowance of $120 or more depending on the plan

For more information, please visit ExcellusMedicare.com.
*50-mile limit per ride.


Adrian Colosimo, adrian.colosimo@excellus.com; (315) 792-9777

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a nonprofit health plan with 1.5 million upstate New York members. The company's mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care. Its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. With more than 3,500 employees, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It also encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. To learn more, visit ExcellusBCBS.com.


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