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Regence, Papa partner to address negative effects of isolation among Medicare-eligible adults

PORTLAND, Ore. – (NewMediaWire) – October 23, 2020 – Medicare members searching for coverage during the CMS Annual Election Period (Oct. 15 – Dec. 7) will have a new way to stay healthy and connected, thanks to a supplemental benefit now offered through Regence Medicare Advantage plans.

A partnership between Regence and health solutions provider Papa Inc. offers companionship and support to older adults enrolled in a Regence Medicare Advantage plan with coverage in 2021. The Papa Pals program pairs qualifying Regence members with ‘pals’ – non-clinical, trained companions who are often college students – to provide companionship and assistance with everyday tasks, such as grocery shopping, pharmacy pickup and technology support.

Members with qualifying Medicare plans across Regence’s four-state footprint – Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington – can access up to four hours of virtual Papa Pal support each month at a $0 copay.

Developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Papa’s virtual ‘Assistance from a Distance’ program allows older adults to safely connect with their pal over the phone or through video chat. To foster deeper connections, members can select the same Papa Pal for each virtual visit or find a pal that speaks their primary language.

Regence is the first health plan in the nation to offer Papa’s virtual program for Medicare Advantage members, as well as the only regional plan to offer this benefit in Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

“We know that the needs of our members reach beyond physical health,” said Kathleen Faulk, Regence’s senior vice president and general manager of government programs. “This unique benefit will allow our members to build virtual companionship and maintain independence in a time when staying connected is more important than ever.” 

Prolonged isolation, due to COVID-19 and other factors, has been proven to increase rates of loneliness and depression that can result in serious health issues, if left unchecked. Virtual solutions, like Papa Pals, offer a safe and effective way to keep older adults engaged and connected while staying safe.

“We are thrilled to be bringing our virtual ‘Assistance from a Distance’ program to Regence Medicare Advantage members in 2021,” said Papa Founder and CEO, Andrew Parker. “Through this partnership, we can help more seniors socialize in the comfort of their own homes.” 

Visit regence.com/medicare to learn more about Regence’s Medicare Advantage plans.

Regence is an HMO/PPO/PDP plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Regence depends on contract renewal. Other providers are available in our network. Regence complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.  ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística.  Llame al 1-800-541-8981 (TTY: 711). 注意:如果您使用繁體中文,您可以免費獲得語言援助服務。請致電 1-800-541-8981TTY: 711).

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About Regence 

Regence serves approximately 3.1 million members through its Regence health plans in Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Each Regence health plan is a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Regence is part of a family of companies dedicated to transforming health care by delivering innovative products and services that change the way consumers nationwide experience health care. For more information, please visit regence.com

About Papa Inc.

Papa is a platform of curated companions that provide support and assistance to older adults and families nationwide. Papa was founded in 2017 in Miami, FL. For more information, visit joinpapa.com.  

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