days until Open Enrollment ends.
NOW’S THE TIME
Finalize your health plan for 2019.
Open Enrollment is here! That means it’s time to renew your health plan for the coming year — or make changes if needed. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) is here to help. We’ve updated this renewal page to make the process as smooth and simple as possible for you.
Below, you’ll find important information about your 2019 Affordable Care Act (ACA) health plan. Please review it — along with your rate notice — carefully. We also have a checklist of steps you can take this month to make Open Enrollment a success. Finally, we offer a look at what you can expect next.This icon shows which sections have been updated this month, if you’d like to jump right to them.
Blue Cross NC is not offering your current health plan next year. To ensure you remain covered, we’ll move you into a new ACA plan for 2019: Blue ValueSM with UNC Health Alliance. It has similar in-network benefits to your current plan — including the in-network deductible — but at a lower price.1 That means most members will see a lower premium before any subsidies from the federal government are applied.1
UNC Health Alliance is UNC Health Care’s physician-led clinically integrated network. It includes both independent and UNC Health Care-employed providers. They partner with top-rated physicians, practices, urgent care centers and hospitals throughout the state. So, you’ll have access to more than 900 primary care doctors and 2,500 specialists across 700 locations.2 (In Wake and Durham Counties alone, there are 1,600+ providers, including 300+ primary care doctors and 1,000+ specialists.)3 On top of that, you’ll have access to Blue Value’s limited statewide network of providers as well.
One major difference between your current plan and your 2019 health plan will be the provider network. Duke Health and WakeMed are not in the Blue Value with UNC Health Alliance network. That means you’ll pay out-of-network rates — which are much higher than in-network rates — if you see a Duke Health or WakeMed doctor starting January 1, 2019. (You should keep seeing your current doctors through the end of this year, however.) Explore care options in the Blue Value with UNC Health Alliance network here.
If you live in Durham or Wake County and want to maintain access to WakeMed and WakeMed Physician Practices, please contact WakeMed Customer Service at 919-350-8359 (select Option 2) or visit this page for guidance navigating this transition. If you live in Durham or Wake County and want to maintain access to Duke Health and Duke Health Physician Practices, please contact Duke Health Customer Service at 919-620-4555 or 800-782-6945 (select Option 3), or visit this page for guidance navigating this transition.
There will also be some changes to your out-of-network benefits in 2019:4
- Your out-of-network deductible will be five times (5x) the in-network deductible. (Currently, it’s 4x the in-network deductible.) This is the amount you pay for covered medical costs from out-of-network providers before your health insurance begins to pay. Always check that a doctor or facility is in-network before making an appointment.
- Your out-of-network out-of-pocket limit will be “No Maximum.” (Currently, it’s 4x the in-network out-of-pocket limit.) This means there is no limit to the amount you’ll pay when visiting doctors or facilities that aren’t in the Blue Value with UNC Health Alliance network.
Note: If you have qualified for special cost-sharing reductions or a special American Indians or Alaska Natives plan, the amounts listed for your cost sharing may be different than what is stated here. Please refer to your rate notice for more information.
This Month’s Checklist
Open Enrollment lasts just 45 days. So, you have a short window of time to decide what your health coverage will be next year. We’re here to help you step-by-step. By working through this month’s checklist, you can feel confident about the choices you make for 2019!
Update your financial information on healthcare.gov (if applicable).
Do you get a subsidy — called an Advanced Premium Tax Credit (APTC) — from the government to help pay for your coverage? Be sure to update your Marketplace application on healthcare.gov if you haven’t already done so. (Here’s how.) That way, you’ll get the correct amount when your 2019 health coverage begins on January 1.
Review the Manage Your Policy page on Blue ConnectSM.
You’ll find details about your 2019 health plan — including the monthly premium — on the Manage Your Policy page. Compare your current plan to your future plan. Then, open the “Summary of Benefits and Coverage” document. Along with your rate notice, this information will help you decide if next year’s plan will meet your needs.
Compare other plan options (if desired).
Thinking about making a change for next year? Go to the Manage Your Policy page on Blue Connect. Click the “Make Changes to This Plan” button under “Future Plan.” You’ll see a list of health plans available in your area — including the benefits and monthly premium for each option. Your 2019 plan will be at the top of the list. Click the “Compare This Plan” checkbox for any plans you’re interested in to get a side-by-side look at what they offer.
Finalize your health plan.
After thinking about your needs and comparing your options, it’s time to take action.
If you’re happy with your 2019 health plan:
- Great! Just pay your January premium next month on time, as usual. The plan will then go into effect on January 1.
If you want to change your 2019 health plan:
- Return to the Manage Your Policy page. Click the “Make Changes to This Plan” button under “Future Plan.” Find the plan you want to switch to and click the “Select New Plan” button. Then, confirm your plan selection.
- Or, contact your authorized Blue Cross NC agent.
Don’t forget that Open Enrollment ends on December 15. But it’s best to make any changes in November for a smooth transition. So, now’s the time to act!
Consider our new, lower-cost dental plan.
A healthy smile plays an important role in how you feel — both physically and mentally. That’s why Blue Cross NC is offering a new, lower-cost option for high-quality dental coverage. Our Dental Blue® for Individuals PPO preventive plan covers 100% of the cost of preventive services. Plus, you save at least 30% on basic and major services from in-network dentists. This plan’s 2019 premium is $22.95 a month. Learn more and enroll here, or contact your authorized Blue Cross NC agent.
Begin exploring in-network care options for next year.
Starting January 1, 2019, you should visit doctors in the Blue Value with UNC Health Alliance network to avoid paying higher out-of-network rates. Once you’ve finalized your health plan, it’s a good time to start preparing for this change. You can search for in-network care options here. You may want to call the providers you like to confirm they’re taking new patients. That way, you’ll know where to go when you need care next year.
If you are in the middle of treatment with a Duke Health or WakeMed doctor, talk to your doctor about when is the best time to transition to UNC Health Alliance. If necessary, your doctor may request that your situation be reviewed by Blue Cross NC to determine if in-network benefits can be temporarily applied in order for you to finish your treatment or safely transition to an in-network provider.
Once you’ve completed this month’s checklist, what’s next? Here are some key dates to remember:
- DECEMBER 13: Your January bill should arrive around this date, unless you’re enrolled in AutoPay. (See below.)
- DECEMBER 15: Open Enrollment ends. This is the deadline to change your health plan for 2019.5
- JANUARY 1: Due date for your January payment so your 2019 plan goes into effect. You should start seeing doctors in the Blue Value with UNC Health Alliance network from this point on.
Here’s what to expect when it’s time to pay your January premium:
- If you’re enrolled in AutoPay: You’re all set! Credit cards will be charged on January 1 and bank accounts will be drafted on January 3. You can view your bill on Blue Connect five days prior to January 1.
- If you don’t use AutoPay: Watch for your January invoice to arrive around December 13. We must receive payment by January 1 for your 2019 health plan to take effect. If you’d like to sign up for AutoPay, visit the Billing & Payments page on Blue Connect and select “AutoPay” under Payment Frequency. You’ll pay the total account balance right away. Future payments will be processed on the first of the month for credit cards and the third of the month for bank drafts. You’ll also be enrolled in paperless billing.
Have questions or need support during Open Enrollment?
- Visit the Contact Us area of Blue Connect to get help through secure inbox or chat.
- Call Blue Cross NC Customer Service at 1-888-206-4697.
- Get in-person help at at our new Blue Cross NC Center in Raleigh at 8511 Brier Creek Parkway, Suite 107.
- Reach out to your authorized Blue Cross NC agent, if you have one.
We look forward to continuing to serve you in 2019. And we’ll be in touch around December 1 to wrap up this year’s Open Enrollment with a special invitation.
Until then, take good care!