BCBS opens “Medicare Centers” to deal with customer confusion on healthcare

In this Dec. 4, 2017, photo, part of the Republican Senate bill "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" is photographed in Washington. Republican tax legislation advancing toward final votes in Congress could undermine “Obamacare” health insurance markets, and add to the financial squeeze on Medicare over time. This week lawmakers will try to resolve differences between House and Senate versions in hopes of finishing around Christmas. Also in play are the tax deduction for people with high medical expenses, and a tax credit for drug makers that develop treatments for diseases affecting relatively few patients. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Changes could be coming to Americans’ healthcare plans affected by the Federal Tax Bill.

Both young and old, some Western New Yorkers have questions about how this could affect them.

Consultants like Paula Venne have been busy since Blue Cross Blue Shield opened “Medicare Centers” across Western New York.

She says that’s because healthcare, is confusing. She said, “It can be completely overwhelming sometimes.”

She says that’s why being able to meet with someone, face-to-face to answer your health-related questions can help in such a turbulent time in the world of healthcare.

Western New York is one of the first places where three centers are being tested out.

She said, “People have their different medical issues, we have people come in with very specific backgrounds like diabetes or a healthcare diagnosis, and ask us how is that going to work on these plans? Or there are the other folks who just want to go to the gym!”

House and Senate negotiators are thrashing out differences over a major tax bill. Medicare and other federal programs could be cut because the law increases the federal deficit.

Its something Venne says people are worried about. She said, “We get the questions, how is this going to affect my medicare? Our go to stance right now is, we have to operate with what we know right now, and we stay tuned for what might happen in the future.” The good news, plans are locked in for 2018.

The deadline for open enrollment to get benefits by January first has passed, but you can still sign up now.

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