NextBlue signs Sanford, Essentia to its network


NextBlue of North Dakota Insurance Company (NextBlue), a North Dakota-based Medicare Advantage company, announced it has signed two major health care systems to its provider network. Sanford Health System and Essentia Health System will provide services to NextBlue Medicare Advantage beneficiaries when benefits go live January 1, 2021.

“North Dakotans have been underserved in regard to Medicare Advantage options,” said NextBlue president Beth West. “Now backed with the power of these health systems, NextBlue gives North Dakotans Medicare alternatives on par with any state in the nation.” 

In addition to a strong local network, one unique aspect of most Medicare Advantage plan networks is nationwide access to providers for emergency or urgent care. “The extensive network offers peace of mind for North Dakota seniors who like to travel or spend winters outside the state,” remarked West. The company’s affiliation with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota allows NextBlue beneficiaries access to 85% of the nation’s doctors and hospital.

“Sanford is pleased to support more choice to Medicare eligible residents of North Dakota by reaching an agreement with the NextBlue Medicare Advantage plan. As always, our goal is to provide the best care possible for all our patients.”  Martha Leclerc, VP Corporate Contracting.

NextBlue plans, which are Medicare Advantage plans, are pending approval by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Medicare Advantage plans may offer benefits such as pharmacy benefits, a national provider network and comprehensive supplemental benefits such as vision, dental, hearing, over-the-counter medications, fitness memberships, Personal Emergency Response Systems and health management support.

“NextBlue is solely dedicated to serving Medicare-eligible North Dakotans and we are pleased to join their network as a participating provider and further our overall partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota. We have the same goals--to ensure our North Dakota patients have the coverage for the care they need when they need it,” said Dr. Bill Heegaard, President of Essentia Health-West.