Calling: Anyone Losing their Health Plans

Raise your hand if you like change.

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Change is an adjustment, something different from the norm and in most cases… just not that enjoyable. Then again, change can also be a good thing to embrace, if it’s a change for the better.

Did you know that every year Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana reviews plans to ensure they are providing the best coverage members? And that sometimes they make changes to plans making them obsolete? In those cases you'll be notified that your health plan is being canceled, and you have to choose a new one. It's not just BCBSMT that does this, other companies do this too!  WHAT???  I just hand-picked this plan not too long ago, now what am I going to do?

I thought losing my coverage meant I had to leave my doctors, my hospital, the protection and security of a health insurance plan that I’ve grown comfortable with. Not fun. Thank goodness that doesn’t necessarily have to happen simply because my current plan is discontinuing!

I researched what it meant to be on a new plan that includes benefits under the Affordable Care Act, and I was surprised. Did you know that plans under the new health care reform law:

  • Have new benefits – which are officially called “essential health benefits.” There are 10 benefits all together that the government has decided are essential for our good health. This means services like maternity, prescriptions and preventive care are now a part of all new plans. Kinda cool.
  • Are guaranteed issued. This basically means that if you apply for a new health insurance plan, you’re going to get a new health insurance plan. You can’t be turned down.
  • Don’t care about pre-existing conditions. So that knee injury I had will no longer be excluded from my new coverage if I hurt it again.

Thankfully, Blue Cross and Blue Shield is here to help me – and anyone losing their health plans – every step of the way. During open enrollment, they have simple tools and information that walk you through the steps to choose a new plan and find out if you may qualify for financial help — all to make the search much easier. If you received the same letter I did from BCBSMT, you’ll be able to find a comparable plan without leaving BCBSMT. When you’ve identified a plan that works for you, don’t forget to make sure your prescriptions are covered at a level comfortable to you and your existing doctors are in that new network! Just go to Provider Finder and select the plan you’re considering, and then search for your providers by name or specialty. Feel better about this change? So do I!

Now, I know that we can’t start looking at the actual plans and rates offered in 2018 until the open enrollment period starts – which is on Nov. 1, 2017 (it ends on Dec. 15, 2017). But that doesn’t mean you have to sit around and do nothing, especially if BCBSMT has canceled your health insurance plan. Use this time to do your own research and understand what it means to be under a new Affordable Care Act plan by scrolling other topics here on Connect. Then, when Nov. 1 arrives, use what you’ve learned and make the choice that is best for you!

Now, mark your calendars to shop our BCBSMT plans starting on Nov. 1 and embrace this change!

**Disclaimer: The content in this article is specifically geared toward BCBSMT members who currently have an individual or family plan that they purchased on or after March 23, 2010. If you received a cancellation letter from a different carrier and are considering other options, check back for our blogs about how to buy health insurance or how to get financial assistance or here to learn more about your options.