Health care professional hands over a medical card to a patient.

Regulatory Changes Bring Updates to ID Cards and Provide for Continuing Medical Care

From time to time, the government introduces legislation that makes significant changes to how people in healthcare do business. In December of last year, the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) was signed into law and included several provisions for health plans and insurers. Two of those changes are discussed below and affect ID cards and how people receive care.

ID card updates

Part of the CAA legislation requires health plans and issuers to include information about deductibles, out-of-pocket maximum limitations and contact information for assistance on any ID cards issued to enrollees on or after Jan. 1, 2022. Blue Cross and BCN members will also be able to see this additional information on their virtual member ID cards starting on Jan, 1, 2022. The virtual cards are available through the member portal at bcbsm.com or through the BCBSM mobile app.

Blue Cross is working through these mandates to ensure value and control costs for our customers. Starting in October 2021, groups who have pharmacy coverage will receive new ID cards with both new pharmacy and CAA updates. For groups with medical only coverage, any new card issued because of standard processes or after January 1, 2022 will include the new CAA information.

Continuity of care

The CAA also requires insurers to offer anyone who is a “continuing care patient” of a provider or facility the option to elect to continue to receive care for up to 90 days from the provider or facility even when there’s a change in that provider’s contract status with a health plan that could normally result in a loss of covered benefits. If certain conditions apply, this transitional care would be provided as if the contractual relationship with the provider had not changed.

Blue Cross and BCN already provide this to our members in the state of Michigan as required by state law and the Affordable Care Act. We are currently looking at if we need to make any changes as a result of the CAA and we’ll keep our employer groups updated.

It’s important to remember that while these laws only apply for Blue Cross when it comes to our contracted providers in the state of Michigan, we offer continuity of care to our out-of-state members whenever possible.

We’ll continue to monitor state and federal regulations and provide information for our employer groups. You can also contact your sales representative for more information as needed.

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