Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska
(BCBSNE), a Nebraska Farm Bureau member benefit
, announced Monday it will allow individual policyholders who received cancel-and-replace notices the option of keeping their current 2013 plan, or choosing new insurance that complies with requirements of the health care law.
BCBSNE’s 2013 individual plans will now be effective from Dec. 31, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2014 for customers with coverage in place by Dec. 31, 2013
. A provision in state insurance law allows BCBSNE to set an “early” renewal date and keep the 2013 policies in force.
“Simply stated, we’re doing this because it’s the right thing to do for our customers,” said Steve Martin, BCBSNE President and CEO. “We are glad to have the opportunity to offer customers the choice between their current plans and 2014 plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).”
BCBSNE individual customers (those not covered by an employer) will be notified by letters being mailed Wednesday, Nov. 27 of their options to continue with their current coverage through 2014, or choose an ACA-compliant plan that may qualify for cost assistance from the federal government. Current 2013 plans that are being renewed on Dec. 31, 2013
do not qualify for federal cost assistance.
If current individual customers take no action on the options they receive in the mailing, their current 2013 benefits will continue through Dec. 31, 2014. If customers want to choose a 2014 ACA-compliant plan, they will need to work with their local agent or return an enclosed form by Friday, Dec. 13.
For BCBSNE customers who have already chosen a 2014 ACA-compliant plan by sending notification, they will remain on the new plan unless they notify BCBSNE or work with their agent to revert to 2013 coverage.
In addition to normal Customer Service Center hours of 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday-Friday, BCBSNE’s Customer Service will have special hours from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Fri., Nov. 29 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sat., Nov. 30. Customer Service number: 877-693-7091.
“Customers will need to process their options quickly,” said BCBSNE’s Tom Gilsdorf, Director, Product Development. “We’re working diligently to ensure everyone is covered on the plan of their choice.”
Monthly premium rates for the 2013 plans are being determined, and will be filed by Dec. 2. Along with a standard age adjustment that is applied to plans each January, customers will likely experience a premium increase.
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