Some insurers across the nation are calling it quits on Affordable Care Act plans in the Marketplace after experiencing significant financial losses. Chances are you or someone you know has been notified that their health plan is no longer available for 2017. You might be frustrated or anxious about making sure you have the coverage you need next year.
The good news is that we’re still here for all North Carolinians. BCBSNC will continue to offer several plan options in all 100 counties. The Health Insurance Marketplace (run by the federal government) has assigned Aetna and UnitedHealthcare customers to a similar plan that is available in their county in 2017. With only one other insurer serving just five counties, there is a good chance it will be a BCBSNC plan. We’re committed to ensuring your transition to your new plan is a smooth one.
If you are one of about 240,000 Aetna and UnitedHealthcare customers being placed in a new plan, where do you go from here?
Your first step is to ensure that your assigned plan is the right plan for you. Looking up your account and reviewing your plan on healthcare.gov is a good start. Here is what you will want to take into consideration:
- Check to see if the doctors are in your network on our website. Many popular plans have narrow networks, so make sure your preferred network is included in your plan.
- Make sure the plan’s benefits meet your needs. For example, check that the deductible is what you expect, and whether a co-pay or high-deductible plan with a health savings account makes sense for your health care needs next year.
- Your plan may cover different prescriptions than your current UnitedHealthcare or Aetna plan. Be sure to review all pharmacy benefits and identify which pharmacies are in network before confirming your new plan.
If you have doubts about whether the plan assigned to you is going to meet your needs, don’t worry. Customers will have a variety of choices – as many as 14 different BCBSNC plans in many counties. You can change plans by Dec. 15 for coverage starting on Jan. 1.
Preparing for what’s next
So, you’ve done your homework and selected which plan is best for you. Now what? There are a few more things you can do to make sure you and your doctors are ready for the change before January 1.
- In December, make sure you have requested any necessary refills from your doctors for medications so there is no delay or lapse in availability.
- Review medications with your doctor to determine if the medicine may need any prior approval authorizations with your new plan.
- Talk to your doctor about any needs related to durable medical equipment and supplies going into the New Year.
Lastly, make sure you pay your first bill in order to be covered on Jan. 1.You should receive an invoice for your new plan before December. The earlier you pay, the sooner you will receive the information and materials you need to start using your plan on Jan 1
Looking ahead to 2017
We have been working hard to prepare for an expected increase in customers for our 2017 Annual Enrollment Period. This year we made technology and system enhancements and have nearly tripled our service staff. However, the recent changes to the ACA market leaves little time to prepare to serve 240,000 additional customers. This will likely create customer service delays during peak times for customers who purchase their own insurance.
That’s why we’re making information available to you in a variety of ways to ensure you get the answers you need. Be sure to bookmark this blog, follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more information related to your assigned health plan. We’re grateful to welcome even more members in 2017, and look forward to serving you.