Every well-reasoned decision a business makes has the chance to upset a customer. Our customers were certainly on our minds over the past few weeks as we discussed what to do about President Obama’s suggestion that states and insurance companies be given the option of continuing, through 2014, our health plans that do not comply with Obamacare. We are pleased that many of our customers love their health plans. But we have a responsibility to them to ensure that the health plans we sell comply with the law. Now that a business decision has been made – we will discontinue non-compliant health plans and offer plans that follow the benefit requirements of the Affordable Care Act– we are recommitting ourselves to help our customers through what everyone agrees is a time of difficult, complex change. Here are the steps we are taking:
- Continuous coverage for our individual subscribers.
Our foremost concern is our customers having quality Blues coverage in place on January 1. We are transitioning all of our members whose individual health plans are being discontinued as of December 31 into a “pre-Obamacare” plan called Keep Fit. We understand that there has been hesitancy to change, and that the shopping experience on the government’s website has not been easy. This step has been part of our transition plan all along, given that Keep Fit is the only individual plan we offer with a 2013 plan year, making it eligible to extend. It ensures continuous coverage for members between the discontinuation of their old health plan and choice of a new one. Members have the choice to stay in Keep Fit through 2014, opt out of it, or find alternative coverage.
- Helping our customers find subsidies to lower their costs.
About 50 percent of our members qualify for subsidies available under the Affordable Care Act – but they are not eligible under the old plans that don’t comply with the law. We want our members to consider all their options before turning away money from the government to help them buy better coverage. We are here to help people understand their subsidy eligibility by calling our Health Plan Advisors at 1-855-237-3501.
- Offering competitive prices statewide for ACA-compliant health plans.
We are the only insurer offering quality, ACA-compliant health plans in every county in Michigan – and our plans are either the lowest- or second-lowest priced plans in every market. People can learn more about our ACA-compliant options at http://bcbsm.com/myblue and www.healthcare.gov Blue Cross worked for nearly three years to reconstruct our entire line of individual health plans to meet the government’s benefit requirements. When President Obama spoke this month of giving insurers the choice to keep their old plans open for a year longer, it complicated this process. Our responsibility at Blue Cross is not to take sides on Obamacare, but to follow the law and help people adjust. We believe this is a responsible thing for us to do at this time, and we are here to help our current and future customers make well-informed choices in health coverage to meet their needs.