Health care is changing. Most people will have more options to choose from when considering health coverage. They may qualify for financial help from the government — help that can lower their premium rate or other out-of-pocket costs. And their health status won ’t matter because health plans will not deny coverage due to a pre-existing condition. So now that people have choices — what should they choose?
Given a choice, most people prefer Blue. Recent research shows that most South Carolinians would prefer a Blue plan over any other. That’s because they know they can depend on our strength and expertise to pay their claims — fast and right. They also know that Blue means more than benefits. Over our 67-year history, we’ve been a leader in creating new programs or providing unique services that help our members get healthy, stay healthy or manage chronic illnesses. We’ve built strong relationships with doctors and hospitals around the state so that we can work together towards a healthier S.C. We understand the importance of our future generations, so we’ve negotiated to make sure all of our new plans include Pediatric Dental and Vision benefits at no extra charge. And because we call the Palmetto State home, we are deeply committed to the local communities we serve.
If you currently don ’t have health coverage, you can buy a health plan directly from BlueCross or BlueChoice®. You can shop on online, go through your agent or simply call us. Because we have a direct connection with the new Health Insurance Marketplace (the federal government ’s exchange), we can also help you see if you qualify for help in paying your premium or out-of-pocket costs. You may apply for coverage (and see if you qualify for financial help) during the Open Enrollment period of October 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014.
If you have an individual health plan from BlueCross or BlueChoice, BlueCross and BlueChoice will let you know if you need to make any changes to your health coverage to comply with the law. Some members — those with a grandfathered health plan — can simply renew those plans according to our normal renewal schedule. Members with a non-grandfathered plan will need to switch to a new plan either on their anniversary date, or by September of 2014. We will send you a letter that explains the type of plan you have and when you will need to make any changes if necessary.
If you have coverage through your employer, wait to see what your employer does about offering health coverage for 2014. If your employer decides to not offer coverage, you can easily choose and buy your own health plan from BlueCross, BlueChoice or the Health Insurance Marketplace. If your employer offers you coverage that meets certain standards of the health care reform law but you refuse that coverage, then you will not be eligible for any financial help through the Marketplace. You can still buy your own plan, but you will pay the full price.
For more information, or if you have more questions on Health Care Reform, we are more than happy to help. You can call BlueCross BlueShield at 877-313-2583 or BlueChoice 855-433-2132, follow us on twitter or visit us in one of our retail locations for an in-person conversation. You can also go directly to an agent to find out more about both BlueCross and BlueChoice.
To better understand our changing health care conversation, we’ve compiled a helpful list of commonly used terms and their definitions.Health Coverage Terms