Blue Cross helps consumers save time, frustration with ACA enrollment by offering online, step-by-step buying guide
“Prepare to buy” tool on HealthCareReformBasics.com gives consumer guidance before enrolling in a plan
March 12, 2014
DETROIT— March 31 marks the end of the first ACA marketplace enrollment period for Michigan residents who do not have health insurance. People who miss the March 31 deadline will not only be subject to a federal tax penalty, but they will also be unable to get coverage effective in 2014. People looking for health coverage effective April 1 have an earlier deadline of March 15 to enroll in a plan. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has developed a resource to help consumers know what they need before picking up the phone, going online, or attending an event to enroll in coverage.
The new “Prepare to Buy” section on HealthCareReformBasics.com simplifies enrollment by providing a customized, step-by-step guide to walk consumers through the processes of choosing a health care plan. There are four steps:
- Select the description that best fits you.
- Print a worksheet to record your information.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to complete your worksheet.
- Contact a health plan advisor to help you enroll, using your completed worksheet to guide conversation.
Consumers working with the online tool also have access to key health insurance terms and key dates. HealthCareReformBasics.com uses information entered by the consumer to help evaluate cost and gather all the information needed to purchase a plan. Interactive charts available on the site make it easy to see how health plans and metal tiers work, as well as gain an understanding of monthly premium cost ranges.
Once complete, consumers can enroll in a BCBSM plan online or connect with their local independent Blues agent. Blue Cross is also hosting a series of enrollment events in March, giving consumers the opportunity to connect in person with a Blues’ health plan advisor to complete the enrollment process:
- Saturday, March 15 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Be Covered, Be Confident Health Expo and Enrollment Fair Christian Tabernacle Church located at 26555 Franklin Rd., Southfield
- Friday, March 21 from 3 p.m. - 7 p.m.
3-2-1 Enroll at Hope United Methodist Church located at 2675 Northwestern Hwy., Southfield
3-2-1 Enroll at Messiah Baptist Church 513 Henry S.E., Grand Rapids
3-2-1 Enroll at Tithe Missionary Baptist Church located at 1415 W. Holmes Rd., Lansing
- Friday, March 21 from 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
3-2-1 Enroll at Fraser Activity Center located at 34935 Hidden Pine Dr., Fraser
- Saturday, March 22 from 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Enrollment Fair at the Lansing Mall Blues Storefront located at 5330 W. Saginaw Hwy., Lansing
- Thursday, March 27 from 1 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Be Covered Be Confident Health Expo and Enrollment Fair at Saginaw Valley State University located at 7400 Bay Rd., Saginaw
Blue Cross encourages individuals to prepare for these sessions by using BCBSM’s subsidy calculator to determine if they are eligible for help paying their insurance bill. Consumers can also text “4Subsidy” to 222-752 to get an estimate sent directly to them via text message. Individuals who plan on enrolling at one of these events must bring the following:
- Social Security Number or Immigrant Document Number
- Number of dependents
- Estimated 2014 income
- Current policy numbers
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network Walk-in Centers will continue to offer extended hours, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., through March 31, and will hold special hours on Saturday, March 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Ann Arbor and Flint will not be open on Saturday. Health Plan Advisors are available at 877-469-2583, through the live chat feature on bcbsm.com, or you can request a call back. Current members can call the Customer Service number of the back of their enrollee ID card.
Just like any consumer product, the health plan a consumer selects becomes effective with payment, and without payment of the first month’s premium, the insurer is required by the Affordable Care Act to stop the plan. Blue Cross’s customer service will be open March 23 and 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to facilitate the anticipated payment influx. BCN customer service will be open on March 30 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information on activating your health plan, visit bcbsm.com/payments.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.4 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state. For more company information, visit bcbsm.com and MiBluesPerspectives.com.