Serving Our Members in 2018
A Message from Our President
Oct. 16, 2017
Open enrollment marks that time of year when millions of people are making important decisions about their health care coverage. The last few months have been full of activity and as the debate on health care continues, one thing remains constant: our commitment to expanding access to affordable health coverage to Texans in a variety of situations and stages in their lives.
That’s why Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) is proud to once again offer plans to all Texans whether they get their coverage at work, through the individual marketplace or a government program.
During open enrollment, we focus on providing information to our members when and where they need it, with greater transparency, choice and flexibility in their care. We’re ready to help members choose the coverage that best meets their needs.
- We’re offering a variety of products and member benefits. In 2018, members can choose from a variety of individual plan options – both on and off the exchange – in every county across Texas. We’ll also help our Medicare members identify the plan that best meets their needs, and our members who get coverage through their employer will once again have a variety of products, choices and benefits to choose from.
- We'll be with you through it all. Health care is complex, and we’re here to make sure it works for you. BCBSTX customer service and product specialists, community education teams and our suite of digital tools and resources – such as virtual visits, the enhanced BCBSTX mobile app, or our virtual assistant Jordyn – are available to assist members make more informed health care decisions.
- Making the health care system work for our members. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes at BCBSTX to make the health care system work better. We’re investing in systems, research and strategic partnerships to ensure our members have access to the best care from top quality networks of doctors and hospitals.
As we continuously fine tune HOW we do business – how we sell, enroll and provide customer service during open enrollment – we always remember that our members are WHY we do business. Whether you choose BCBSTX directly through us, through the individual marketplace, a broker or your employer, our priority is to make sure you have the tools and resources you need to make the best decisions about coverage and use your care effectively.
Dr. Dan McCoy
President, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas
What's Next: An Update on the Passing of the Tax Reform Bill
Dec. 20, 2017
The House and Senate passed the tax reform bill today, and the president is expected to sign it into law. The bill will end the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) individual mandate starting in 2019. This means individuals won't have to pay a tax penalty if they don't have health care coverage in 2019.
Nothing will change for our customers in 2018. The ACA individual mandate will still be in place for 2018. Customers who signed up for health coverage during open enrollment will be covered starting Jan. 1, 2018.
We believe that everyone should have access to affordable health care coverage. We’ll keep working with lawmakers and regulators on additional reforms to make coverage more affordable and encourage individuals to have continuous health coverage.
Important Actions on Health Care from the White House
Oct. 25, 2017
Recent executive action, along with the announcement to stop funding of cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs), has once again put a spotlight on health care. Regardless of the action taking place in Washington, D.C. one thing is certain: our continued focus on providing access to health care in Texas.
The decision to stop the CSR payments doesn’t impact our market participation.BCBSTX has accounted for the uncertainty around the federal government’s funding of the member’s CSR benefit in our rates.
It's also important to note that the Administration's decision on CSRs isn’t related to the Advanced Premium Tax Credit (APTC). The APTC is federal aid available for people who earn less than 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), and lowers the monthly premium for Marketplace (on-exchange) plans. The APTC is paid by the federal government straight to insurers each month. No payments are made directly to consumers.
We’ll share more news about the Executive Order and next steps as it becomes available.
Update for Our Small Business Customers
Oct. 02, 2017
As we're preparing to sell 2018 plans and service our clients, small group employers who currently offer BCBSTX coverage to their employees through the Small Business Health Options Program (“SHOP”) will receive notifications that BCBSTX will not participate on the SHOP exchange, effective Jan. 1, 2018; however, it's important to know that members currently enrolled in a SHOP plan will have coverage through the full term of the existing contract.
We are also sending letters to employers and members to let them know that certain off-exchange small group plans as well as other group plans are being discontinued. Federal regulations require that small group plans must be discontinued if they are significantly modified.
We will continue to serve the Small Group Market with an array of robust off-exchange plans that enable employers in Texas to continue offering quality, cost-effective coverage from BCBSTX.