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There are days until Open Enrollment ends.
Finalize your 2019 health plan — plus earn a reward!
Open Enrollment ends December 15. And Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) hopes that your experience has been a positive one. We want to hear your feedback. Please log in to your Blue ConnectSM account here and answer a couple of questions about the process. As a thank you, we’ll mail you a certificate to redeem online for a $15 gift card!1
Then, it’s time to wrap up this year’s Open Enrollment. You’ll find important information about your 2019 Affordable Care Act (ACA) health plan below. 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.
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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.2 That means most members will see a lower premium before any subsidies from the federal government are applied.2
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.3 (In Wake and Durham Counties alone, there are 1,600+ providers, including 300+ primary care doctors and 1,000+ specialists.)4 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 2019:5
- 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 ends December 15. Don’t forget to cross off any final to-dos from this month’s checklist. That way, you’ll feel confident going into 2019!
Pay your January premium by January 1.
To finalize your 2019 health plan, you’ll just need to make your January payment.
- 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 bill 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.
Still looking to switch plans? The steps below will walk you through the process.
Review the Manage Your Policy page on Blue Connect.
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, just pay your January premium.
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.
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.
Find 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.
Here are some key dates to remember as we wrap up Open Enrollment:
- DECEMBER 13: Your January bill should arrive around this date, unless you’re enrolled in AutoPay.
- DECEMBER 15: Open Enrollment ends. This is the deadline to change your health plan for 2019.6
- DECEMBER 31: Last chance to share your Open Enrollment feedback and earn a $15 gift card.1
- 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.
If you don’t have your 2019 member ID card by January 1, you can show your doctor the Verification of Coverage (VOC) that came with your rate notice. This will serve as a temporary member ID until your new card arrives in the mail.
If you changed health plans during Open Enrollment, you’ll need to download a new VOC. Here’s how:
- If you changed plans through healthcare.gov: Visit this page and log in with your Exchange ID or Social Security Number, date of birth and ZIP code. Your VOC will be available about five business days after making your January payment.
- If you changed plans through Blue Connect: Log in to your Application Dashboard using your Blue Connect user name and password. A link to “View VOC” will be there about five business days after enrolling in your new plan.
Have questions or need support?
- 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 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’re honored to serve you for another year. And we wish you a happy and healthy 2019!