I signed up with Verizon (moving from Comcast) a few years ago. At that time, I decided not to use Verizon's voicemail option (which was included) because I had a wireless phone base unit voice mail system that would not show that I had messages if I used Verizon's. That is no longer the case, and I also need to be able to allow people to leave messages while I am on the phone. Lo and behold: There is now a significant additional charge for Verizon's voice mail. I am turning it down and finding an alternative solution.
This reminds me of what has started to happen on the cable tv end. Have you noticed the appearance of a channel called EPIX? I've started to see movies that I used to see on HBO and other movie channels only being shown there. Lo and behold again: Another additional charge. There seems to be a trend of value being sucked out of the services we sign up for and placed in "additional charge" buckets.
I will need to look at this closely at renewal time.
As far as what is carried on HBO vs EPIX that really has nothing to do with Verizon. HBO and EPIX provide the same feeds to all the carriers. As far as phone and voice mail... take a look at Google Voice. It can take care of what you need, route all calls to any phone you choose and it's free.