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For caregivers and other family members

Understanding Medicare

Are you looking to help your family member or friend with Medicare decisions? Visit our educational site equipped with the knowledge and resources you need to get started. We understand how challenging the Medicare decision-making process is, and the importance of choosing the right plan. Our goal is to help you and your family navigate the process with confidence.

Assistance available from Independence Blue Cross

Serving as a caregiver

If a member needs you to speak with the plan on a continuous basis, you must have them complete one of the below forms.

  • Authorization for Disclosure of Health Information form — This form allows the member to give permission to our Member Help Team to discuss plan and personal health information with a caregiver. You cannot make any changes to the member’s account information.
  • Personal Representative form — This form allows the member to give a caregiver full access to their member account and personal health information. It allows Independence to permit the caregiver to request changes to the member’s account and receive personal health information on behalf of the member. Legal documentation is required to be submitted with the completed form.
  • Appointment of Representative form — This form is only needed when the caregiver is filing an appeal or grievance on the member’s behalf, or speaking with a third party vendor. Learn more about how to file an appointment of representative form.

For specific member benefit or claims information, please contact us. With a completed Authorization for Disclosure of Health Information form or Personal Representative form and legal documentation on file, we can answer any questions you may have about your loved one's Medicare health insurance information.

Online access — register or log in at

The member website helps take the guesswork out of making important health decisions.

Register or log in today to find a doctor, view recent claims, manage prescriptions, and learn more about your health plan. Experience for yourself.

Registered Nurse Health Coaches and Behavioral Health Case Managers

Sometimes you need a little extra support when you're managing a chronic condition or more complex health situation. That’s when an Independence Blue Cross Registered Nurse Health Coach and Behavioral Health Case Managers can help.

Independence Blue Cross offers members free, personalized services of a Registered Nurse Health Coach and Behavioral Health Case Managers who are specialized registered nurses and licensed social workers periodically assess each member’s health care and provide outreach and guidance on a variety of topics. Registered Nurse Health Coaches and Behavioral Health Case Managers seek to help members manage their conditions through monitoring, education, teaching self-care, and adopting healthy lifestyle changes.

Members can call 1-800-275-2583 (TTY/TDD: 711) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The hotline is staffed by nurses who will assist with questions and concerns about all health conditions and will provide support for managing chronic conditions.

Personal health visit program

Independence members have access to personal health visits (PHV), which are visits from a licensed health professional. These visits last about an hour and include a brief health assessment. They are a helpful and convenient way to get personalized health advice in the comfort of the home and are offered to our members at no extra cost. This service is optional, and the visits will not affect the member’s current health insurance benefits or premiums. Members may receive a call or a flier in the mail from one of our health care vendors to see if they are interested in scheduling a visit. This visit should not replace an annual wellness visit with the member’s primary care provider.

Caregiving basics

Glossary of common Medicare terms

View definitions to common Medicare terms as defined in our Evidence of Coverage including, but not limited to, benefit period, coinsurance, cost-sharing, custodial care, extra help, grievance, late enrollment penalty, and urgently needed care.

Common forms

Authorization form — to be used by members to authorize Independence to release member health information.

Personal Representative Form — to be used by members who wish to appoint another person as member's personal representative.

Member Plan Documents

Additional resources for more information and help — the Official U.S. Government Site for Medicare — a public caregiver service of the Administration on Aging from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services — National Institute on Aging dedicated to understanding the nature of aging


Home safety checklist

Below are ten quick things you can check and take care of in your loved one's home to keep them safe.

  • Are all electrical outlets free from overload? Are all electrical cords in good condition?
  • Are all carpets, rugs, and vinyl flooring secured to the floor?
  • Does bright lighting exist over the stove, sink, and countertop work areas?
  • Are towels, curtains, and other flammable objects not near the stove?
  • Does the bathroom door open outward? (This will provide easier help if a fall occurs.)
  • Are all doorknobs easy to grasp? If not, replace with lever handles.
  • Is the stairway well-lit with handrails on both sides?
  • Are medications contained in their original bottles and clearly labeled with doctor's instructions and expiration date?
  • Have heating and/or cooling systems been inspected and serviced in the last year?
  • Does each bedroom and floor have a working smoke detector with new batteries in the last six months?


Regular physical activity can help your loved one look and feel younger as well as lower their risk for a variety of conditions and prevent loss of bone mass and improve balance, reducing the risk of a fall. The Centers for Disease Control, for those 65 years of age or older, generally fit and have no limiting health conditions, recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (brisk walking) or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (jogging) and 2 or more days per week of muscle-strengthening activities1. If you are starting a new exercise routine, begin with 10 minutes at a time and increase as your Primary Care Physician (PCP) recommends or as you are able.

Before beginning any exercise routine, speak with your family member's PCP, especially if they have a preexisting condition. The routine should start slow and include warm-up and cool-down time after each session. Talk with your loved one's PCP about any goals and they can help develop a routine that will put your loved one on the path to a healthier, happier life.

The best activities include low-impact activities like, walking, swimming, dance, yoga, and water aerobics. Focus on activities that can help improve endurance, strength, and flexibility or range of motion.

Is your loved one chair-bound? Seek seated alternatives for lighting weights and stretching.

Learn more about our no cost fitness membership.

Recognizing and reporting abuse

If someone is in immediate danger, call 911 or your local police.

To report suspected elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation in Pennsylvania call the state-wide Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-490-8505.

If the abuse occurs in a nursing home and involves serious injury, sexual abuse or suspicious death, you may also call the Pennsylvania Department of Aging at 1-717-265-7887 and/or the Pennsylvania Department of Health Nursing Home Complaint Line at 1-800-254-5164.

Caregiver stress and depression

Caring for a loved one is not an easy task. Taking care of one's own well-being can be even more difficult while taking care of another person. Speak with your primary care physician if you find yourself concerned after reading the symptoms questions below.

  • Are you easily agitated or easily frustrated?
  • Do you feel guilty or worthless?
  • Do you feel hopeless?
  • Do you think about death or suicide?
  • Are you having trouble sleeping?
  • Are you always tired?
  • Have you lost interest in activities that you used to find fun and entertaining?
  • Do you have trouble concentrating?
  • Has your weight or your interest in food recently changed?
  • Have you had headaches that won't go away?

1 The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition

Website last updated: 8/22/2022