Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska said Monday it will allow people who received cancel-and-replace health insurance notices to keep their current plan, but rates will increase. Customers can either keep their old plan or choose new insurance that complies with requirements of the health care reform law, company spokesman Nathan Odgaard said.
Customers will likely experience a premium increase, along with a standard age adjustment that is applied each January, Odgaard said.
Premium rates are being determined and will be filed by Dec. 2, according to the announcement. The individual plans that are being renewed do not qualify for federal cost assistance.
The plans will be effective through 2014 if customers get coverage in place by Dec. 31, the company said.
Customers can also choose a new plan that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare.)
“Simply stated, we’re doing this because it’s the right thing to do for our customers,” said Steve Martin, BCBSNE President and CEO.
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.
Individual customers (those not covered by an employer) will be notified by letters that were mailed Nov. 27 of their options to continue their current coverage through 2014, or choose an ACA-compliant plan that may qualify for cost assistance from the federal government.
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, the company said.
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 p.m. Monday-Friday, BCBSNE’s Customer Service will have special hours from 1-5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30. The number is 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.”