Losing Your Blue Cross Blue Shield Policy? Now what?
Many loyal Blue Cross Blue Shield policy holders are getting a nasty surprise in their mail and email. The popular and affordable Blue Cross Select Choice plan is being terminated because the plan design does not comply with the design requirements set forth in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Our President described policies like the Blue Choice plan as “inadequate” and “substandard” since it did not provide maternity care and some other essential health benefits. It is true that policies like the Select Choice plan did not have maternity coverage, but not everyone needed those benefits and many clients enjoyed the benefits they had at the price.
Blue Cross is inviting clients to contact them about finding new plan options but they cannot tell callers the price of plans they are trying to transition them to for January 1st! Unfortunately I’ve found that the Affordable Care Act’s rules make the industry seem insane, and this is a perfect example. Blue Cross is required to notify existing policy holders of their pending plan cancellation, but 2015 rates have not been approved and released by the Texas Department of Insurance, therefore policy holders can’t be told the cost of their new replacement plan options! Only Obamacare could provide such clarity!
Is There An Easier Way?
Contact Us today and let us know that you'd like plan pricing as soon as it is available. We'll ask you for some simple information like your date of birth and zip code and then we'll add you to our list of clients and friends that need updated quotes. During the week of November 15th we'll email you updated pricing for all the new Blue Cross plans along with prices of plans from other major health insurance providers. We can help you analyze the options and ensure you understand the new plan designs and options.
Time Frame For Making A Switch
While none of us are happy that this specific health plan is terminating, (our firm has more than 35 clients or families that must choose a new plan), we must begin making arrangements to obtain an alternate health plan. New plans and pricing for all health insurance providers will be available on November 15th, and we need to make sure to make a purchase of a new replacement plan prior to December 15th. If we miss the 15th of December, we will be uninsured until February 1st!
Examine the Universe
Yes, we like Blue Cross! We also like looking at the universe of options available to each client. Did you know that plan pricing is significantly based on your zip code? It sounds odd, but if you live in Austin or San Antonio, plan pricing is so different that you might choose a different plan or company than if you lived in Houston. We are Texas experts and these pricing differences are just one reason we examine all of your options and present them to you in an easy to compare format. You may be losing a Blue Cross policy and it may make sense to stay with them in your new Affordable Care Act compliant plan. Remember, it doesn't cost anything to look at your options and you'll be glad that you took just a few minutes to ensure you are getting the right plan design that fits your budget.
If You Want World-Class Service, Use An Agent!
I use this blog format to provide great and free information with little of the sales pitch. With that said, I'd like to remind you that if you are making the switch from a Blue Cross Blue Shield Select Choice plan you do need to have an agent. First, you want to make sure the transition process from the old policy to the new is seamless, you need an agent or broker working for you to follow up on the status. You don't want to wait for snail mail to receive confirmation that your plan move has been made and you don't want to call Blue Cross as the phone queues increase in volumes. As we near Open Enrollment, Blue Cross’ phone lines will be jammed just like last year. Our staff called Blue Cross daily for our clients and we endured the three, four, and five hour waits to ensure that their service issues were addressed. We understand how to work with Blue Cross to expedite issues and we are patient and persistent! Last year we added almost ten new clients during Open Enrollment for no other reason than the fact that they could not get in touch with client services at Blue Cross to get help with their plans! These frustrated policy holders called us because they had heard that we could work on their behalf to find a solution to their service problem. The price you pay for your health policy is the same if you work directly with Blue Cross or if you have Texas Health Design as your health brokerage. Why not receive great service and work with an attentive staff for zero additional cost?
Not Just Blue Cross
Other carriers have terminated plans this year as well. Aetna terminated their Individual Health Savings Account Qualified health plans earlier in August. More health insurers will follow suit. Make sure to check your mail if you own a plan that was not purchased prior to March 23, 2010. If you own a Grandfathered Plan (one purchased prior to March 23, 2010) keep that plan as long as you can. Ultimately the insurance companies will begin to raise your rates 20% to 30% or more annually till you drop the coverage because it will be too expensive. I suggest that you contact us each year and we'll evaluate your plan against the available choices to help you make the best decision for your family.
If you have questions about your Blue Cross Select Choice Plan, a new ACA plan, or want to see all the other choices from major carriers here in Texas, please click CONTACT US, or call us at 713-422-2935.
We are happy to help you through the process of finding great coverage at an affordable price.
Jason W Bohmann
713 – 422-2935 (Office)