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Posts Tagged ‘Blue Cross Blue Shield’

Medicare Supplement Plan F vs Plan G

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

For years, the Medicare Supplement Plan F has been the most popular of the Supplemental plans.  The plan is currently the richest benefit Medicare Supplement available in most states.  It provides coverage for all the gaps in Original Medicare.  The extremely high level of benefits has drawn Medicare shopper’s attention and has helped it develop a well-known reputation with consumers of Medicare Supplement plans.  Despite being the richest benefit plan, we often find there is a better plan option when a comparison is made.

The Plan G is almost identical to the Plan F with one exception- the Part B deductible.  The Part B deductible in 2018 is $183.  The Plan G does not provide coverage for this deductible which means the member would be responsible for paying this amount of $183 out of pocket when incurring Medical expenses for things like doctor’s office visits.  Once the Part B deductible is met, the Plan G pays exactly the same benefits as the Plan F.

In recent years, the monthly premiums for the Plan G have become significantly less than the Plan F premiums.  These lower premiums have made the Plan G a very attractive plan for shoppers.

Comparing the two plans is actually pretty simple.  If the premium savings over the course of the year exceeds the Part B deductible, the Medicare beneficiary will be better off on a Plan G.  For example: If the Plan F is $150/month and the Plan G is $120/mo, the beneficiary will save $30 per month on Plan G.  That is a $360 difference in premium over a year, but then figure in the Part B deductible (which is $183 in 2018) and the total savings over the year equals $177.  Because the math almost always makes the Plan G a better fit, we have seen this plan significantly grow in popularity over the past several years.

It’s important to do this comparison when considering these two options.  Let our Medicare Advisors help you through this process and see whether you could save money by comparing the difference in the Medicare Supplement Plan F vs Plan G.  If you are an existing Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC Medicare Supplement member, you are able to make a change to your Medicare Supplement plan during the month of May without having to answer health questions in order to qualify.

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.

Sniffs and Sneezes – Is it a Cold or Allergies?

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Young beautiful woman with tissue having runny nose.Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC knows the importance of staying healthy and with every change in season, new health issues arise.  Spring is in full bloom and on the bright side, the air is warming, trees are budding and the grass is turning green again.  Flu season has passed and the lethargy we can sometimes feel during the long winter months is lifting.  On the down side, temperatures are inconsistent, there is pollen in the air and people are sniffing and sneezing more than any other time of year.  The question is:  Are you suffering from seasonal allergies or do you have a common cold?  Believe it or not, the answer is not as simple as you might think and even doctors sometimes find it difficult to tell the difference.

Simply put, a cold is caused by hundreds of different viruses.  When any one of these viruses gets into your body, your immune system attacks it in an attempt to protect you.  Some of the effects of your immune system’s response are the classic symptoms of a cold.  For instance, congestion, coughing and sneezing are your body’s attempts to get rid of the invading virus.  Also, the germs that cause colds are contagious, meaning they are transferred from one person to another through sneezing, coughing or shaking hands.  At most, however, in a couple of weeks your immune system should fight off the virus and your cold symptoms should cease.

Allergies, on the other hand, are caused by an overactive immune system because your body is mistaking harmless substances, such as pollen or dust, for germs.  Once the mistake has been made, your immune system will begin attacking the pollen or dust as if it were a more harmful virus.  Your body then releases chemicals such as histamine, which in turn causes swollen nasal passages, runny nose, coughing, sneezing and watery eyes.  Unlike the viruses that cause colds, allergies are not contagious, though there could exist some genetic predisposition to developing them.

Although similar in symptoms, there are some basic differences between seasonal allergies and the common cold which may help you determine from which you are suffering.  Knowing the difference is important, especially when it comes to contagion and treatment.  Keep in mind these basic differences:

Duration:  A cold will last 3-14 days, whereas an allergy could last for days or months, as long as you are exposed to the allergen (pollen, dust, etc.).

Time of year:  A cold most often occurs in the winter months, but is possible any time of year.  Allergies can happen any time of year, but are most common during changes of season.

Onset of symptoms:  With a cold, symptoms take a few days to appear following infection with the virus.  Allergy symptoms can begin immediately after exposure to the allergen.

REVIEW THE FOLLOWING CHART FOR COMMON SYMPTOMS:

Symptom                                Cold                            Allergy

Cough:                                     Often                           Sometimes

Aches:                                     Sometimes                   Never

Fatigue:                                   Sometimes                   Sometimes

Fever:                                      Rarely                          Never

Itchy or watery eyes:               Rarely                          Often

Sore throat:                             Often                            Sometimes

Runny or stuffy nose:              Often                           Often

As is clear from the above list of symptoms, although there are differences between a cold and allergies, there are also some similarities.  One of the most important differences is the fact that one is contagious and one is not.  If you have a symptom that is not typical of an allergy, it is likely you have a cold and you may want to consult your physician, stay home from work or school and take medications aimed at relieving cold symptoms.  For seasonal allergies, there are a number of medications that offer relief, as well as some more natural home remedies.  Unfortunately, for those who suffer from allergies, full relief from symptoms may take as long as it takes the season to change.  Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC wishes you a happy, healthy spring and if seasonal allergies are taking their toll, take heart!  Summer is just around the corner!

For more information on Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina health insurance coverage, the Marketplace and healthcare gov  to apply for your subsidy, 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.  Let us help you navigate through the Health Care Reform changes in accordance with the new regulations of The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama care.

Save for the Unexpected – Get a BCBSNC HSA Compatible Health Plan

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

bigstock_Rising_medical_cost_in_the_Uni_6917551Do you currently have enough savings to cover an unexpected health emergency?  If not, you may want to start setting aside money in 2015.  With the cost of health care on the rise, it is important to know you and your family are covered in case of a medical emergency.  One route you may want to consider is obtaining a Health Savings Account Eligible health plan.  If you purchase an HSA-compatible high-deductible health insurance plan, you can pair it with a health savings account and start saving for the unexpected.  Funds placed in the HSA account may be used for qualified medical expenses and there is no minimum contribution amount.  You are also able to claim a tax deduction for any and all contributions you make throughout the year.  In this way, your money grows on a tax-free basis.

In 2015, HSA holders can save up to $3350 for individuals and $6650 for families.  Holders 55 years of age and older can save an extra $1000, increasing savings for individuals to $4350 and $7650 for families.  All of this money is 100% tax free so this is a great way to increase wealth and create a small tax shelter.  For more information on HSA limits for 2015, click here.

Also, in 2015, a high-deductible health insurance plan is one with a deductible of at least $1,300 for self-only coverage and $2,600 for family coverage.  See eligible Blue Cross Blue Shield HSA compatible plans.

Once you have a clear idea of your healthcare needs and your financial situation, you can determine your plan options and compare benefits.  If 2015 brings life changes that make a different kind of insurance plan something to consider, consider a BCBNC HSA compatible high-deductible health plan and start saving the smart way!

For more information on Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina health insurance coverage, the Marketplace and healthcare gov  to apply for your subsidy, 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.  Let us help you navigate through the Health Care Reform changes in accordance with the new regulations of The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama care.

BCBSNC- Blue Select in 2014

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

BCBSNC wants to help you save. Consider one of our new low cost plan options.  To help lessen the financial impacts of health care reform, BCBSNC has created several new plan options for 2014.

Blue Select is one of those plan options that provides smart choices and health savings.

Blue Select features a tiered network to help you save money. This plan offers:
+ A large network with two tiers of providers to choose from
+ Prescription drug requirements

For more information on health insurance coverage in North Carolina, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our professional agents. Our agency provides coverage for health insurance in North Carolina through Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC). It would be our pleasure to help you navigate through the Health Care Reform changes in accordance with the new regulations of Obama care. Call us for details.

Information from a BCBSNC publication on 8/12/13.

BCBSNC Invests in SAFEchild to Help Protect Wake County’s Children

Friday, October 4th, 2013

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – From July 2011 to June 2012, Wake County officials documented more than 2,000 incidents of child abuse or neglect. As a step to help end this problem, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) will provide the SAFEchild Advocacy Center with an investment to help provide comprehensive medical evaluations to children who have been physically or sexually abused. SAFEchild is a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating child abuse in Wake County.

“By supporting the SAFEchild Advocacy Center, we’re investing in North Carolina’s most important resource, our children,” said Kathy Higgins, BCBSNC vice president of corporate affairs. “The fantastic team at the Advocacy Center goes above and beyond to create a healing environment, and each staff member plays an important role in the health of our kids and our community.”

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How Will My Premiums be Affected?

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Let’s get to the question on everyone’s minds: What does this mean for me?  The people most affected financially by Obama Care are those who purchase individual policies or get their insurance through a small-business employer.  Of those affected, some customers will pay less than they do now, but many will pay more. Federal subsidies will offset the rates for some people – but many will be eligible for only a partial subsidy.  Here’s how health insurance premiums will be impacted for different people choosing a mid level plan.

But how will Blue Cross and BlueShield of North Carolina’s individual and small business customers be affected specifically?

Because of the impacts of the Affordable Care Act, about half of our customers will see their premiums increase by 50 percent or more before federal subsidies. We expect about half of our customers will qualify for subsidies, which will help off set their costs – though the amount of those subsidies can vary greatly. Of course, subsidies don’t actually reduce the cost of coverage. They simply shift it to someone else. The federal government pays for the subsidies and the cost share shifted to taxpayers.

The above information is from “The Cost of Change” from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.

For more information on health insurance coverage in North Carolina, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our professional agents. Our agency provides coverage for health insurance in North Carolina through Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC). It would be our pleasure to help you navigate through the Health Care Reform changes in accordance with the new regulations of Obama care. Call us for details.

Waiting Periods for Pre-Existing Conditions

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Subscribers and dependents must satisfy a 12-month waiting period for pre-existing conditions under this health benefit plan. Any waiting period for pre-existing conditions begins on the effective date of this health benefit plan. During a waiting period for pre-existing conditions, neither you nor your dependents will receive benefits for conditions for which medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment was recommended or received within the 12 months immediately preceding the effective date of this health benefit plan. However, provided there was no significant break in coverage, a waiting period for pre-existing conditions will not apply to any condition first identified, treated and covered under prior creditable coverage. Medical records may be ordered to make this determination. Genetic information [variable] is never treated as a pre-existing condition.

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Who Is Eligible for BCBSNC Individual Health Insurance?

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

To be eligible for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Health Insurance coverage, you must be a North Carolina resident under 65 years of age, not be covered by another health insurance policy, not be enrolled in Medicare, and qualify medically. Applicants must be able to provide one of the following as proof of residency: voter registration in NC, NC driver’s license, or current NC tax return. In addition, applicants are required to submit a Social Security Number.

Multiple Coverage

You may be covered under only one health program offered by BCBSNC, except with special permission. In that case, the total benefits paid will not be more than the allowed amount.

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How to Purchase BCBSNC Insurance for Your Child Only

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

You can purchase a Blue Advantage, Blue Advantage Saver or Blue Options HSA policy to cover your child or adopted/foster child without being covered by the policy yourself. Your child will receive full plan benefits, including immunization, well-child and well-baby care coverage. When you apply, be sure to enter your child’s information (name, gender and birth date) as the primary applicant. If you plan to cover multiple children, each child must have his or her own policy, so you’ll need to apply for each policy separately. Multiple children may be covered on the same policy, as long as the parent is also covered by that same policy. You can cover children up to age 26 on your policy, as long as they are your legal dependents. However, children under age 18 are not eligible to have their own health savings account. Children under age 18 are subject to certain tax guidelines. Consult a tax professional for more information.

The information above is provided by BCBSNC, 2011 Plan Information Guide.

For more information on health insurance coverage in North Carolina, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our professional agents. Our agency provides coverage for health insurance in North Carolina through Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC). You may qualify for a 15% healthy lifestyle discount if you are in excellent health. Call us for details.

How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Friday, September 9th, 2011

When it comes to food, the best things for you certainly aren’t free. In fact, research indicates that healthy eaters often spend more on food than their less healthy counterparts, and to follow a diet in line with the USDA’s latest nutrition recommendations would add hundreds of dollars to the average person’s annual food expenses.

In a new study from the University of Washington, researchers surveyed 2,000 adults in King County and analyzed their self-reported diets for nutrient content and cost. Their findings illustrated what you might already suspect: Not only were grains, sugars, and fats cheaper than fruits and vegetables on a per calorie basis, but consumers typically had to increase their food budget to incorporate recommended nutrients like potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin D, and calcium into their diet. For example, individuals who consumed potassium in accordance with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines added an average of $380 a year to their annual food cost.

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Falling for Fall

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year!  I love the cooler mornings and evenings.  It seems to help me focus on my family more, especially with the upcoming holiday seasons.  Looking for something fun to do this fall weekend that won’t break the bank? Make some family memories, begin fall traditions and enjoy life. Let’s start your Friday evening at a local High School football game or other fall sport.  It not only brings back memories of your high school days but also begins to spark the interest of your little ones.  There is something to be said about the game, the band, the cheerleaders, and the halftime shows.  Local high school sports are a great fall tradition!  Check your local high school website for game dates and times or call the school secretary.  Wake-up on Saturday and visit your local pumpkin patch.  Create a “pumpkin family” with your purchases!  Once you return home, have a decorating “party” with your family.  You will be amazed on items you can find in your pantry to use as decorations.  On Sunday, enjoy a family breakfast.  Don’t forget to bake pumpkin bread for a great treat.  Fill your home with the sweet aroma of pumpkin and it is sure to have your family “Falling for Fall!”

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Health Care Reform Laws Effecting Dependent Children at Age 26

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Beginning in plan years after Sept. 23, 2010, the new law allows dependents up to age 26 to obtain coverage under their parents’ plans that offer dependent coverage. In April 2010, the nation’s 39 independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies recognized that many young people could lose their coverage because of their age, student status, graduation from school or other factors prior to when the new law goes into effect for plan years beginning September 23, 2010. The BCBS companies proactively announced in April that they will offer to their accounts continued overage of these hundreds of thousands of young adults under age 26 on the health insurance policies their parents purchase through the individual marketplace effective June 1. Young adults may be eligible regardless of whether they are financially dependent on their parents. This extension of coverage is also being offered to employer accounts for their members.

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