DETROIT, Oct. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- On October 1, the Health Insurance Marketplace opened to millions of Americans, many new to buying health insurance, in search of answers of how to navigate the new system. Experiencing increased call volumes throughout the Marketplace's first week of operation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM), the only carrier offering plans in all 83 Michigan counties, is re-focusing its 10 welcome centers statewide to help consumers understand and navigate the change. Consumers can talk directly with a health plan advisor or licensed Blue Cross agent, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to determine the best plan for their specific situation, and ensure that each form is completed correctly to take advantage of any available federal assistance.
"Consumers are confused, some overwhelmed, as many are shopping for insurance for the first time, and want clear direction on what the change means for them, and what actions they need to take," said Terry Burke, vice president for individual business, BCBSM. "We're experiencing increased call volumes, as consumers are in search of information. The health plan advisors and licensed agents, all of which are CMS certified and have extensive knowledge of plan options, are available at our walk-in centers throughout Michigan to give consumers the opportunity to talk with an expert, in person, to determine subsidy eligibility, as well as the best solution for their situation."
Health plan advisors and licensed Blue Cross agents are available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the following 10 BCBSM walk in centers:
- BCBSM's Detroit headquarters (Bricktown building): 500 E. Lafayette, Detroit, MI 48226
- BCBSM's Grand Rapids headquarters: 86 Monroe Center NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
- Flint: 4520 Linden Creek Parkway Suite A, Flint, MI 48507
- Holland: 151 Central Ave., Holland, MI 49423
- Lansing: 232 S. Capitol Ave, Lansing, MI 48933
- Marquette: 415 S. McClellan Ave, Marquette, MI 49855
- Portage: 8175 Creekside Dr., suite 100, Portage, MI 49024
- BCN Southfield: 20500 Civic Center Drive, Southfield, MI 48076
- Shelby Twp.: 6100 Auburn Road, Shelby Twp., MI 48317
- Traverse City: 202 E. State Street, Traverse City, MI 49684
"Of the many questions consumers have, the most common include cost, being able to determine subsidy eligibility and understanding the difference between products," Burke added. "The agents can help consumers determine if they are eligible for government-funded subsidies, which would reduce their monthly premium, as well as better predict consumer costs and guide them through the process of choosing the plan with the best value for their family. Our advisors can help consumers gather all the information needed for enrollment, and ensure they're able to successfully complete the process, locking in coverage effective January 1, 2104."
In addition to the walk in centers, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is hosting a number of community education sessions throughout the month of October to educate consumers on health reform and facilitate their transition to the new marketplace. All education sessions are open to the entire community, and will provide guidance to the uninsured that are not Medicaid or Medicare eligible.
Michigan residents can also contact one of the thousands of licensed Blue Cross agents across the state, as these agents understand consumer challenges, have the knowledge and understand how to assist consumers to determine subsidy eligibility and which qualified health plan may be their best option. To date, more than 2,000 Michigan agents have completed training and certification to sell Blue Cross Blue Shield and Blue Cross Network plans both on and off the Marketplace. These agents are also certified to sell Blue Medicare Advantage plans.
Those at higher income levels who are not eligible for a subsidy, or don't wish to take advantage of one, can enroll easily through bcbsm.com. BCBSM offers a total of 18 options for coverage for individuals, many of which are among the lowest priced health plans on Michigan's Health Insurance Marketplace. The rates for these plans are identical both on and off the Marketplace. BCBSM is the only health insurer to offer coverage in every one of Michigan's 83 counties. Products, pricing and plan design are available at bcbsm.com/myblue.
To learn the basics of health reform, Michiganders can visit HealthCareReformBasics.com. BCBSM will also continue to answer questions from consumers seeking information and clarification on their eligibility and options, and encourages consumers to enroll by December 15 to have coverage begin on January 1, 2014.
Any reporter interested in coming down to one of the BCBSM walk in centers for an interview must call the newsroom first to schedule a time: 313-549-9884.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is a nonprofit corporation and independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit www.bcbsm.com/news and www.mibluesperspectives.com
SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan