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Posts Tagged ‘Blue Cross Blue Shield NC’

Pause to Remember Memorial Day

Monday, May 28th, 2018

Memorials in Cemetery with American FlagsBlue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina knows a lot about working to give the residents of NC the peace of mind that comes from knowing you and your family are covered for all of your health care needs.  BCBSNC understands the value implicit in being covered when it counts.  As Americans, however, Memorial Day is a sobering reminder that peace of mind and knowing someone has your back in times of trouble doesn’t come free.   That is what Memorial Day is all about.  This weekend we celebrate the men and women of the Armed Forces, both past and present, who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom and protection.

Although Memorial Day is typically, and I think appropriately, celebrated by throwing some burgers on the grill in the backyard, the holiday has some important origins.  Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed every year on the last Monday of May.  The holiday originated after the American Civil War to honor soldiers of both the Union and Confederate armies who had died during the war.  Even today, many people visit cemeteries or war memorials on this day and hundreds of volunteers place a small American flag on each grave in the national cemeteries.  Not to be confused with Veteran’s Day, which honors all the men and women of the Armed Forces, Memorial Day is a day specifically intended to celebrate and remember the service members who died while serving.

The traditional observance of Memorial Day is as follows:  The United States flag is raised to the top of the staff and then slowly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains until noon.  The half-staff position is in memory of the more than one million men and women who have given their lives in service of their country.  At noon, the flag is then raised by the living to full-staff as a symbolic resolution not to let the sacrifice of the dead be in vain, but to stand in their place and continue to fight for liberty.

This Memorial Day, while we are grilling burgers, taking our kids to the beach or taking our boats out to sea with friends, let us a take a moment and be thankful for the freedom we still enjoy.  It may sound pithy, but freedom really isn’t free and the fact that we can do the things we love the most is a gift for which many men and women have given their lives.

For more information on acquiring Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina health insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

 

2018 Plans and Rates with Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

As controversy and debate continue in Washington over the future of the healthcare system, Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC is planning for 2018.  In late May, Blue Cross filed 2018 plans and rates with the North Carolina Department of Insurance.  Insurance rates were filed for health insurance plans in all 100 counties of North Carolina for an average rate increase of 22.9%.  The Director of Actuarial and Pricing Services at BCBSNC wrote an article explaining these rate increases.

BCBSNC has also been very clear that while filing for rates and health plans in all 100 North Carolina counties for 2018, many uncertainties continue.  The health insurance industry still expects significant change. However, the makeup and impact of this change is not known.  The timeframe and timeline of this change is also unknown.  These unknowns make preparation for the coming year very difficult for the insurance companies.  There are tremendous amounts of laws, regulations, and factors that are currently being discussed in Washington which directly impact the plans and rates of health insurance in North Carolina.

These unknowns also make preparation very difficult for the thousands of customers that depend on Individual and family health insurance plans in NC.  Blue Cross NC currently has over 500,000 customers enrolled in Individual ACA plans.  These rates, however, will impact this group differently.  The customers receiving a subsidy through the Health Insurance Marketplace will likely be less impacted if these plans and rates are approved.  The customers that do not receive any subsidy will likely be most impacted by these changes.

Despite the potential future changes, our commitment to North Carolinians will not change.  We are committed to providing North Carolinians with updates, advice, and the guidance needed to navigate this unique health insurance market.  We feel people need straight forward advice on the impacts of the health insurance industry changes now more than ever.

For more information on North Carolina insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

A Better Understanding of Medicare Plans and Parts with BCBSNC

Monday, March 6th, 2017

Enrolling in Medicare is far too often an overwhelming experience.  The various parts and plans are enough to make an educated individual feel confused and frustrated when just trying to understand the new coverage options.  Thanks to technology, there is no shortage of resources available to help with the research.  However, access to information doesn’t always simplify the matter.  Determining the most trusted sources of information and who is best to advise are common additional questions.

These are just a few of the many concerns for new Medicare recipients.  Most people have been covered for years by a familiar health insurance plan.  Whether employer sponsored plans or an individual health plan, the coverage concepts have likely been the same for a very long time.  This sense of familiarity is suddenly gone when entering the world of Medicare.

Medicare is broken down into separate Parts, some of which are provided by the Federal Government and others that are provided by private insurance companies.  Medicare Supplement plans are also available through private insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina to fill coverage gaps that exist within Medicare Part A and B.  This all means Medicare beneficiaries are often blessed with numerous options; however, understanding these options becomes the next important step.

Despite this feeling of confusion and overload, the good news is thanks to the internet and technology, information about Medicare is now more readily available than ever.  From websites like NC Health Plans, you can read about the different Medicare plans and parts, generate free quotes, research at your own pace, and talk with a live representative anytime you have questions or concerns.  This puts the Medicare recipient in the driver’s seat and allows them to make the best decisions for themselves and their specific medical needs.

In conclusion, my advice is simple.   First, don’t let the fear of the unfamiliar overwhelm you.  This is a great time to be making this transition and to learn about your Medicare options.  Next, don’t hesitate to speak with a licensed advisor.  Medicare advisors have been formally trained on the topic and the good ones are happy to help you better understand the options.  Finally, don’t overcomplicate it.  Everyone’s medical coverage needs are different, but just a few Medicare plans are most popular.  Ask which plans are most popular and why.  The answer to this question should help you narrow your search and understand the differences.

For more information on North Carolina insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

Obamacare too Expensive? Let’s Talk Alternatives…

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

“Obamacare” is a popular term used to describe the Affordable Care Act.  As insurance advisors, one question customers frequently ask is “Do you offer anything other than Obamacare?”  Understanding this question is most important before answering it.

First, Affordable Care Act compliant plans are not only health insurance plans offered through the Health Insurance Marketplace or “Exchange.”  They are also health plans offered “Off Exchange” or directly through insurance companies, as long as they meet all requirements under the Affordable Care Act.  In North Carolina, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina offers the vast majority of the ACA compliant health plans both on and off the Exchange.  Blue Cross offers plans in all 100 counties and in 2017 was the only company offering “On Exchange” plans in 94 of the 100 North Carolina counties.  When considering alternatives to ACA compliant plans, the most common is Short Term, also known as Temporary Health Insurance.

Temporary health insurance plans are not compliant with the ACA regulations which allows customers to enroll outside the Open Enrollment Period without the requirement of a Qualifying Life Event.  In the past, these plans were created and structured to bridge gaps in coverage.  However, recently their attraction has grown and individuals and families have begun enrolling in Short Term plans for extended policy periods as an alternative to the ACA compliant options.  The ACA compliant plans lack the flexible plan structure and low premiums that are attractive aspects of Short Term health insurance.  Short Term plans exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions which is a requirement under Obamacare.  Additionally, you must answer health questions on a Short Term application in order to be eligible to enroll.  For these reasons, the plans are usually significantly less expensive than ACA compliant plans.  These factors and others drive the premium prices down and often surprise shoppers when making a price comparison.

Furthermore, the Short Term health insurance regulations are expected to change on April 1, 2017.  The policy periods will be limited to 3 months.  For applicants that enroll prior to April 1, the policy period can last until Dec. 31, 2017 with certain carriers like United HealthOne.

For more information on North Carolina insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

Transitioning to Medicare? – Medicare Supplements from BCBSNC

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

If you are transitioning into Medicare either because you are turning 65 or have become newly eligible due to a Senior Couple Using Laptop At Home
disability, you will likely want to consider enrolling in a Medicare Supplement.  Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina can help. Because traditional Medicare, Parts A & B, do not cover some medical expenses, it’s important to understand what other options are available to you to help supplement your Medicare and offset your out of pocket health care costs.

Even before you are eligible for Medicare, you can begin reviewing your options.  Explore Medicare Supplements and begin deciding what plans work best for you.  Consult with a licensed Medicare Agent to discuss available plans and begin thinking about what kind of plan best fits your budget and your lifestyle.  Keep in mind that Medicare Supplements through Blue Cross Blue Shield are accepted by all Medicare providers.  Remember that the best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement is during your initial enrollment period.

Medicare Supplements are designed to fill the gaps that exist in a traditional Medicare plan and can give you the peace of mind of knowing you will have the coverage you need when you need it most.  Supplements can help pay your Medicare deductibles, coinsurance and copayments and can significantly reduce your out of pocket expenses.

For more information on North Carolina insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

NC Medicare Supplement – Is a Medigap Policy Right for Me?

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Senior student in classA Medicare Supplement, sometimes called Medigap, is a health insurance policy designed to “fill the gaps” in Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B).  Basically, a Medigap policy picks up where Original Medicare leaves off.  These plans are sold by private insurance companies, like Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, and the policies are federally regulated, meaning they must cover basic benefits and pay for most of the original Medicare coinsurance and copayment amounts.  There are 11 standardized Medigap plans (Plan A – Plan N) and Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC offers all of them.

The “core” benefits of all Medicare Supplement plans include:

  • Medicare Part A coinsurance for days 61-90 of a hospital stay
  • Coverage of up to 365 additional days of a hospital stay during a member’s lifetime after Medicare hospital benefits have been exhausted
  • Coinsurance or copayment amount for Medicare Part B services after meeting the yearly deductible
  • The first 3 pints of blood per calendar year
  • Hospice benefit

Medicare Supplements help eliminate any unexpected costs you might incur should you have only Original Medicare.  Keep in mind that Medicare Supplements are different from Medicare Advantage plans, often referred to as Part C and pay benefits very differently.  To be eligible for a NC Medicare Supplement plan, you must reside in the state of North Carolina, be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B, and be age 65 or older OR disabled as defined by the Social Security Administration, be on kidney dialysis or transplant eligible.

There is an open enrollment period for Medicare Supplement plans.  You have six months to buy a Medigap policy with guaranteed issue and this period begins the first day of the month in which you are BOTH age 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B.  During this period, you cannot be denied coverage based on health history.  The Open Enrollment period is usually the best and simplest time to purchase a Medicare Supplement plan.

Transitioning into Medicare can be a confusing process, but the more you know about Medicare and what types of supplemental insurance are available to you the more equipped you will be to make the best decision for you and your health care needs.  For more information on North Carolina insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

Happy Thanksgiving from NC Health Plans! – Thanksgiving Recipe

Monday, November 21st, 2016

Make-Ahead Thanksgiving 2015Happy Thanksgiving from NC Health Plans!  If you are like me, you are always looking for new and exciting side dishes to spruce up your Thanksgiving table.  As much as I love new recipes, however, I don’t love spending hours in the kitchen trying to make something special.  This recipe for slow-cooker sweet potatoes with bacon from myrecipes.com is not only simple, it’s sure to please.  After all, everything’s better with bacon and sweet potatoes are one of fall’s most nutritious and delicious root vegetables.

Both sweet and salty, this yummy Thanksgiving side-dish is easy to prep and won’t cost you valuable time and stove-top space while you are busy with other things.  In addition, this dish adds beautiful color and is a hearty addition to any Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving is a time to pause and give thanks for the many blessings we enjoy and NC Health Plans wishes you a very happy Thanksgiving day!  For more information on North Carolina insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

 

 

 

Enrolling your Blue Medicare plan just Got Easier!

Friday, November 18th, 2016

Mature Couple Sitting On Sofa At Home Using LaptopEnrolling a new Medicare supplement plan or making a change to your existing plan can be a headache, but at NC Health Plans we strive to make the enrollment process as simple as possible.  You can now enroll your Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare plan online from the comfort of your own home, saving you time, money and paperwork!  Whatever BCBSNC Medicare plan interests you, at NC Health Plans we offer a convenient, secure online application that will only take a few minutes.  You may also speak with one of our licensed agents to discuss plans, as well as receive prompt and courteous assistance in completing and submitting your application right online.

As a Medicare recipient you have choices and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is a trusted name in Medicare Supplement insurance. If you are new to Medicare or exploring the possibility of making a change to your current Medicare plan, get a free rate quote now and experience the benefits of having an agent at your fingertips or just a phone call away.

At NC Health Plans, we understand that your time is as valuable as your health and we work hard to help our customers enjoy the best possible enrollment experience.  For your free rate quote visit www.nchealthplans.com, call 888-765-5400, or click the button below.

Free Affordable Care Act Quotes

Daylight Savings November 6th – How it Can Affect Your Sleep

Saturday, November 5th, 2016

bigstock-148810253Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina encourages members to practice preventive health care, but did you know that daylight savings can have adverse health affects, especially when it comes to sleep patterns? Daylight Savings ends on Sunday, November 6th at midnight and people all over North Carolina will be setting clocks back by one hour, moving an hour of daylight from evening to the morning.  Although this may make getting out of bed this winter a little easier, daylight savings can affect us in ways that may surprise you.  According to WebMD, “moving our clocks in either direction changes the principal time cue – light – for setting and resetting our 24-hour natural cycle or circadian rhythm.”  This, in turn, knocks our internal clock “out of sync” and forces us to readjust.

Most experts agree that “falling back” in the autumn is an easier transition than “springing forward” in the spring, but either way, it forces a change in the body’s rhythm.  In fact, researchers have looked at a number of health trends that seem to surround daylight savings, including an increase in traffic accidents.  Although still unclear how adjusting the clock directly correlates with this increase, some experts argue that it’s based primarily on a change of sleep patterns. (more…)

Blue Cross Blue Shield NC – Hike North Carolina!

Monday, October 17th, 2016

Go HikingBlue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is committed to the health and wellness of all its members and this fall, BCBSNC in conjunction with the North Carolina State Park system is encouraging NC residents to get out and hike!  This community initiative, appropriately named Hike NC!,  is at aimed  getting North Carolinians off the couch and into the great outdoors.  The Hike NC! campaign consists of more than 60 guided hikes through North Carolina nature preserves and state parks.  Led by hiking and nature experts and totally free, these hikes are intended to help improve the overall health of Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC members. (more…)

Protect Yourself Against Flu – BCBSNC Preventive Care

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

VaccinationBlue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is a big supporter of preventive care maintenance, offering preventive benefits covered at 100%. This flu season BCBSNC encourages its members to get a flu shot to help maintain optimal health.  A yearly flu vaccination is the best way to protect yourself against the influenza virus and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you get a flu shot once a year.  The flu vaccine can help reduce your risk of contracting the illness, which in turn will help reduce absences from work or school, doctor’s visits or even potential hospitalizations.  While the vaccine is not a guarantee against getting the flu, it can be a big deterrent and can also reduce your symptoms should you become ill.

In addition to protecting yourself, the flu vaccine can help protect the people around you, some of whom may be more vulnerable.  The elderly, as well as infants  and those with chronic illnesses, can suffer serious, even life-threatening flu symptoms.  According to the CDC, a recent study showed that the flu vaccination reduced children’s risk of flu-related hospitalization by 74% during flu seasons from 2010-2012.

Getting a flu shot is just plain smart, which is why Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina encourages its members to get vaccinated.  With winter just around the corner, taking this critical step can help ensure that you and your family have the healthiest flu season possible. For more information on North Carolina insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

BCBSNC and Walgreeens Form New Alliance

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Walgreens Drug Store SignBlue Cross Blue Shield NC, in conjunction with Blue Prime, recently announced a new alliance with Walgreens, one of the nation’s largest drugstore chains.  This alliance initiates a 10-year retail pharmacy agreement based on a “simple, low-cost approach” intended to provide savings to clients and BCBSNC members.  This agreement will be in effect as of January 1, 2017 and will include a Prime and Walgreens home delivery for prescription medications.  The agreement is not exclusive, meaning BCBSNC members will still have access to other pharmacies in addition to Walgreens.

The good news for North Carolina residents is that Walgreens has more than 260 store locations throughout the state and over 8000 locations nationwide.  That means more convenient access to the prescription drugs you need at a cost you can afford.  Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina continues to partner with health care providers such as Walgreens to help ensure members have the quality healthcare they deserve.

For more information on North Carolina insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.