Independence Blue Cross urges consumers to look at their plan options before the deadline
Independence Blue Cross (Independence) is encouraging consumers who do not have health care coverage through an employer or a government program to enroll in health insurance for themselves and their families by the January 15 deadline. Consumers who miss Open Enrollment may have to wait until next year to enroll in health insurance unless they have a qualifying life event, like getting married or having a baby.
This year, Independence continues 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 our network providers and MDLIVE*. For many additional services, members will pay $0 out-of-pocket, including preventive care like annual check-ups, cancer screenings, and immunizations, as well as nutritional counseling.
Independence members also have access to valuable services at no additional cost. These include Registered Nurse Health Coaches available 24/7, digital weight management programming, family planning apps for each stage of the parenthood journey, health screening reminders, and cost-saving tips by email or text. Additionally, Independence offers members access to AblePay Health** for a chance to save up to 13 percent on out-of-pocket costs when they receive care.
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 Available
The Inflation Reduction Act extended expanded premium tax credits established by the American Rescue Plan Act to help make health insurance coverage more affordable. As a result, consumers may qualify for the expanded premium tax credits to lower their monthly premiums for 2023.
Individual consumers in Pennsylvania must review their health plan options and enroll before January 15, 2023, on the state-based health insurance exchange, pennie.com, to qualify for premium tax credits. According to Pennie, nine out of ten Pennsylvanians qualify for financial assistance through the site.
For those who did not apply in the past, Independence is recommending consumers take another look to see if they are eligible for premium tax credits for the first time. The Independence website includes a subsidy calculator to help consumers determine if they are eligible for financial assistance to lower their monthly health plan premium. Independence members may even qualify for a $0 monthly premium. The final determination of premium tax credit or subsidy eligibility will be made by Pennsylvania’s health insurance exchange, 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 insurance 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 to 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 Insurance Coverage
Independence licensed sales agents are available to help consumers enroll in health insurance coverage through the January 15 deadline.
On the phone
Independence licensed agents are available by phone at 1-888-475-6206 (TTY: 711) to answer questions and help consumers enroll in health insurance coverage Thursday and 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, and Pennie will make the final determination for premium tax credit or subsidy eligibility.
Consumers can visit Independence LIVE on the second floor of 1919 Market Street in Philadelphia to meet with a licensed agent and enroll in a 2023 health plan, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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.
*MDLIVE is an independent company
**AblePay Health is an independent company