Independence Blue Cross urges consumers to look at their plan options before the deadline
The deadline for Open Enrollment for health insurance in Pennsylvania is quickly approaching. Independence Blue Cross (Independence) is encouraging consumers to enroll in the health plan that is right for them. Anyone in Pennsylvania who does not have health care coverage through an employer or a government program can enroll in health insurance for themselves and their families through January 15 for coverage beginning February 1, 2022. Independence recommends consumers not wait until the last minute to enroll in health insurance to ensure they receive their new member ID card in time.
For 2022, Independence will continue to offer health plan options with access to the most doctors and hospitals in the Philadelphia five-county region. Nearly all Independence health plans provide virtual visits at zero cost for members for primary care, behavioral health, and dermatology services through MDLIVE*. These health plans are available on Pennsylvania’s state-based health insurance exchange, Pennie, or by purchasing a health plan directly from Independence.
Expanded Tax Credits for Consumers
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) is helping to make health care coverage more affordable. Pennsylvanians may qualify for the expanded premium tax credits created by the ARP to lower their monthly premiums for 2022. Individual consumers in Pennsylvania must enroll before January 15, 2022, on pennie.com, to qualify for premium tax credits.
For those who did not apply in the past, Independence is recommending consumers see if they are eligible for financial assistance in the form of a tax credit or premium subsidy from the federal government to lower their monthly health plan premium. The Independence website includes a tax credit/subsidy calculator to help consumers determine if they may be eligible for financial assistance to lower their monthly health plan premium. The final determination of a consumer’s eligibility for financial assistance will be made by pennie.com.
Tips on Shopping for Insurance
Everyone has unique needs and preferences when it comes to health care and insurance. Here are a few things for consumers to consider when looking for the right balance of cost and coverage.
Check out the hospitals and doctors in the health plan’s network
Make sure preferred hospitals and doctors are in the health plan’s network. In-network services are offered at a lower cost. Some health plans do not include any health care coverage for doctors and hospitals outside of the network unless it’s an emergency.
Understand the deductible
The monthly premium is just one part of a health insurance plan’s costs. Consumers should also consider the cost when they need care. Many health plans with lower monthly premiums include a deductible. A deductible is the amount consumers pay out of pocket before insurance benefits start. Not all health plans have deductibles, but a high deductible can cancel out the savings of a low monthly premium.
Keep an eye on copays and coinsurance
Consumers pay a copay or coinsurance each time they receive health care services. Some health plans have copays, which is a set amount. While other health plans require consumers pay a deductible first and then coinsurance, a percentage of the overall cost of the service for any care they receive. Consumers who want more predictable costs should look for health plans with set copays.
How to Sign Up for Health Care Coverage
While in-person assistance is suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Independence licensed agents are available in other ways to help consumers enroll in health care coverage.
On the phone
Independence licensed sales agents are available by phone at 1-888-475-6206 (TTY: 711) to answer questions and help consumers enroll in health care coverage Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Consumers can visit Independence’s website, ibx.com, to find the health insurance coverage that is right for them and enroll in a health plan directly with Independence. The state-based exchange, pennie.com, is the only place consumers can enroll in health plans with financial assistance. Pennie will make the final determination for tax credit or premium subsidy eligibility.
For Spanish-speaking consumers, Independence has licensed Spanish-speaking sales agents available by phone at 1-844-315-4884. There is also an easy-to-use Spanish-language website at ibx.com/mas.
Open Enrollment for individuals and family health plans runs through January 15, 2022.
*MDLIVE is an independent company