RICHARDSON, Texas, Nov. 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) announced today its wide range of 2015 individual and small group health insurance products as part of its continued commitment to expand health insurance to as many Texans as possible. The variety of product options and services will be available on and off the exchange Marketplace beginning November 15, 2014.
BCBSTX will offer 11 metallic plans (6 metallic plans and 5 catastrophic, dental, multistate) cost-effective, high-quality products across three levels of metallic plans, as well as Catastrophic and Dental, to provide a range of options for access to health care services, security and peace of mind. There are multiple plan designs within each metallic level that consumers can choose from.
"Our commitment to expanding coverage for the more than 6.2 million uninsured in Texas has never been stronger and that is evident in the variety of product offerings for 2015," said Bert Marshall. "Similar to last year, we are offering products throughout the entire state of Texas and have unveiled new informational tools and educational resources to help individuals find the plan that best suits their needs."
There is a high-quality plan for every budget across BCBSTX's three levels of "metallic" health care plans (bronze, silver and gold). All metallic plans include essential health benefits and prescription drug coverage. Plans vary depending on the health coverage options members choose. In many cases, individuals selecting a plan through the Marketplace are eligible for subsidies, so the prices consumers will pay will depend on their income. Additional information on BCBSTX's metallic plans, and its Catastrophic and Dental plans, is also available at www.bcbstx.com.
- Bronze level products will have the lowest monthly premium but may also have the highest out-of-pocket costs.
- Silver level products have a slightly higher monthly premium than bronze but are the only plans that offer cost-sharing assistance.
- Gold level products have an even higher level of benefits than Silver but also a higher monthly premium.
BCBSTX has also unveiled several readily accessible online tools in English and Spanish to help consumers make informed decisions when considering insurance options:
- Online Health Insurance Buyers Guide: Helps consumers understand where and how to enroll in health insurance, how to get financial assistance and navigate their plan options.
- Spanish Assistance Finder: Direct consumers to Spanish language health resources and insurance brokers near them that speak Spanish to help understand what is needed to prepare for open enrollment.
- Subsidy Estimator: Provides estimated subsidy amounts for qualified Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans on the marketplace in advance of enrolling in a 2015 ACA plan.
- Provider Finder: Helps consumers understand the importance of using in-network providers and identifies doctors and hospitals within BCBSTX plan networks to best meet individual needs.
"Research demonstrates that most uninsured consumers are unaware of critical dates and the essential information they must have ready to get the insurance coverage they need for the 2015 open enrollment period," says Marshall. "Our outreach efforts start by informing individuals about the basic required documents, such as proof of citizenship and state residency, confirmation of income, and payment methods."
In addition to its product offerings for first-time and renewing health insurance consumers, BCBSTX has also enhanced customer service to help individuals better explore their health care options and get the insurance they need to lead healthier lives.
- Call Center Services: Additional Customer Advocates have been added to anticipate peak call volumes and more than 200,000 additional training hours have been completed by staff to help consumers in the enrollment process. Call Center hours have also been expanded (24 hours, 7 days a week beginning Dec. 1) and more bilingual staff have been added.
- Telephone Services: BCBSTX has implemented courtesy call back features to minimize customer hold times during heavy call volume periods.
- Online Services: Emails will be sent to new applicants allowing them to actively track where they are in the application process and when their enrollment is active. BCBSTX will also offer expanded payment options to include credit and debit card payments online and over the phone.
BCBSTX is utilizing affiliations with companies like State Farm and with select regional and national retailers, grocers, and pharmacies; relationships with our valued agents; and collaboration with more than 200 community organizations as new ways to reach and educate the uninsured population. Consumers should watch for local announcements for more information about educational events. Consumers can also take advantage of the expanded BCBSTX customer service center hours by calling 888-731-0317 and details about how uninsured individuals can prepare for open enrollment at www.bcbstx.com.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) – the only statewide, customer-owned health insurer in Texas – is the largest provider of health benefits in the state, working with nearly 80,000 physicians and 500 hospitals to serve 5 million members in all 254 counties. BCBSTX is a Division of Health Care Service Corporation (which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Texas, Illinois, Montana, Oklahoma and New Mexico), the country's largest customer-owned health insurer and fourth largest health insurer overall. Health Care Service Corporation is a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas