Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Offers Support for Displaced Workers and Small Employers Impacted by COVID-19
by Meghan O'Brien
| 3 min read
DETROIT, April 2, 2020 – Recognizing the economic impact COVID-19 is having on the Michigan workforce, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network have put in place services and supports to enable qualified individuals to continue their individual health coverage or transition from group coverage to an individual plan, potentially qualifying for federal subsidies to lower their premiums. The companies also are offering help and guidance to Michigan small businesses who are having trouble maintaining their coverage or seeking assistance for workers. “Across our economy, in businesses large and small, we are seeing workers displaced from their jobs and their health coverage because of a global crisis not of their making,” said Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan President and CEO, Daniel J. Loepp. “Blue Cross stands ready to help people, advise and guide them, and enroll them in health coverage should they need to transition out of their employer’s plan into one of their own.” Under the Affordable Care Act, people losing their employer group health insurance qualify to enroll in an individual health plan on the federal Marketplace. Based on household income and family size, subsidies for those plans may substantially reduce the premium cost – allowing families to continue their health insurance during the COVID-19 crisis. “We are here to help. People with an individual plan having trouble making payments, or people who have lost their health insurance and their job should contact Blue Cross or their local agent to explore options for continued coverage,” said Rick Notter, vice president for retail markets at BCBSM. “We have supports and guidance that people can trust during this time of crisis.” Both Blue Cross’ health plan advisers and local insurance agents can enroll people in health insurance coverage online, so social distancing guidelines can be maintained throughout the process. Subsidized coverage is a significant support for people who have lost employer coverage along with a job – but also people enrolled in individual plans who have seen their incomes drop. “In times like this, it’s important for people to take advantage of every opportunity to seek support – including potentially qualifying for greater subsidies for their health insurance,” Notter said. “If people are having trouble paying their premiums, they should reach out. Blue Cross may be able to offer support.” Individuals seeking help from Blue Cross can find it by calling 877-610-2583 or online at www.bcbsm.com/myblue. Help for Small Employers This week, BCBSM also began a special support program for small businesses who may be forced by economic conditions to drop their health insurance coverage or lay off employees. The program is available to small employers and their insurance agents through a toll-free hotline at 866-582-5052 and via email at smallgroupCOVID19@bcbsm.com . “Small employers have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus crisis,” said Tiffany Albert, BCBSM senior vice president for Health Plan Business. “Blue Cross is here to help. In addition to providing a direct line into our team for employers and agents, we’ve launched a number of resources supporting employers’ efforts to help their employees through this tough time.” Blue Cross provides health coverage for more than 22,000 small employers who provide health benefits to more than 250,000 people in Michigan. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Blue Cross provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.7 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state. The company has been committed to delivering affordable health care products through a broad variety of plans for businesses, individuals and seniors for 80 years. For more information, visit bcbsm.com and MiBluesPerspectives.com.