Open Enrollment for individual and family health plans begins November 1
Philadelphia, PA — October 29, 2020 — Open Enrollment for individual consumers begins this Sunday, November 1, and Independence Blue Cross (Independence) will continue to offer a variety of individual and family health plans with comprehensive coverage and the widest choice for quality health care in our region. These plans will be available on the new Pennsylvania state-based health insurance exchange, Pennie, or by purchasing a health plan directly from Independence.
During Open Enrollment, Independence will offer health plan options with access to the most doctors and hospitals in the Philadelphia five-county region. And new this year, every Independence metallic level plan provides virtual visits for primary care, behavioral health, and dermatology services through MDLIVE* with zero cost for members. Individuals have from November 1, 2020 to January 15, 2021 to enroll in a health plan if they want coverage for 2021. Consumers who want to be covered starting January 1, 2021 must enroll by December 15, 2020.
“As we head into Open Enrollment during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever it is important to have the peace of mind that comes with an Independence Blue Cross card. With Independence, members have access to the care they need, whenever they need it. We offer the most popular health plan options, access to the most doctors and hospitals, and zero-dollar virtual care visits in every metallic level plan,” said Brett Mayfield, senior vice president of sales at Independence.
This year, Pennsylvania is moving to a new state-based health insurance marketplace, called Pennie, for 2021 health care coverage. Mayfield added, “As we transition to Pennie, Independence will help to make the process as seamless as possible for our members.” Mayfield explained that Independence members who are comfortable with their health plans do not need to do anything. If members do not make a change, they will be automatically enrolled in the same health plan, or an alternative that closely matches their current health plan, for 2021. Open Enrollment packets with information about the transition have been mailed directly to members.
Pennie.com replaces Healthcare.gov as the only place Pennsylvanians can go for financial assistance to receive a tax credit or premium subsidies to lower the costs of their individual or family health plans. According to the Department of Insurance, Pennsylvanians currently enrolled through HealthCare.gov will be automatically transitioned to Pennie for their 2021 coverage. Consumers who want to update their income information may visit Pennie.com during Open Enrollment.
Mayfield also has some suggestions on how consumers can shop for and select a health plan that is right for them. Consumers should think about how they will use their health plan and make sure their preferred doctors and hospitals are in the health plan’s network. Mayfield also suggests looking at the cost to buy as well as the cost to use health insurance.
In addition to monthly premiums, consumers should consider:
- deductible, the amount paid by a consumer before health insurance benefits kick in.
- co-insurance, the percentage paid by the consumer each time someone receives health care services.
- copay, a flat fee paid by the consumer for each time someone receives health care services.
Independence will also offer consumers convenient options to obtain information and enroll in health care coverage for next year. 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 from November 1, 2020, through January 15, 2021.
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 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, except major holidays. Agents will also be available on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Saturday, December 26 and Sunday, December 27.
Consumers can visit Independence’s easy-to-use website — ibx.com — to find the health insurance coverage that is right for them and enroll in a health plan directly with Independence. The website includes a subsidy estimator that allows consumers to see if they may qualify for financial assistance to help pay for their health insurance. The new state-based exchange, Pennie, is the only place consumers can enroll in health plans with financial assistance, and 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 — ibx.com/mas.