Calling: Anyone Losing their Health Plans

Raise your hand if you like change.

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Change is an adjustment, something different from the norm and in most cases… just not that enjoyable. Then again, change can also be a good thing to embrace, if it’s a change for the better.

In the last week, I received a letter from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. They told me that my health plan was being canceled, and I had to choose a new one. Then I learned that it wasn’t just my policy, even other companies were sending these letters!  WHAT???  I just hand-picked this plan not too long ago, now what was I going to do?

I thought losing my coverage meant I had to leave my doctors, my hospital, the protection and security of a health insurance plan that I’ve had for years. Not fun. Thank goodness that doesn’t necessarily have to happen simply because my current plan is discontinuing!

I started researching what it meant to be on a new plan that includes benefits under the Affordable Care Act, and I was surprised. Did you know that plans under the new health care reform law:

  • Don’t care about pre-existing conditions. So that knee injury I had will no longer be excluded from my new coverage if I hurt it again.
  • Are guaranteed issued. This basically means that if you apply for a new health insurance plan, you’re going to get a new health insurance plan. You can’t be turned down.
  • Have new benefits – which are officially called “essential health benefits.” There are 10 benefits all together that the government has decided are essential for our good health. This means services like maternity, prescriptions and preventive care are now a part of all new plans. Kinda cool.

Now, I know that we can’t start looking at the actual plans and rates offered in 2015 until the open enrollment period starts – which is on Nov. 15, 2014 (it ends on Feb. 15, 2015). But that doesn’t mean you have to sit around and do nothing, especially if BCBSTX has canceled your health insurance plan. Use this time to do your own research and understand what it means to be under a new Affordable Care Act plan by scrolling other topics here on Connect. Then, on Nov. 15, use what you’ve learned and make the choice that is best for you!

Thankfully, Blue Cross and Blue Shield is here to help me – and anyone losing their health plans – every step of the way. During open enrollment, they have simple tools and information that walk you through the steps to choose a new plan and find out if you may qualify for financial help — all to make the search much easier. If you received the same letter I did from BCBSTX, you’ll be able to find a comparable plan without leaving BCBSTX.  When you’ve identified a plan that works for you, don’t forget to make sure your prescriptions are covered at a level comfortable to you and your existing doctors are in that new network!  Just go to Provider Finder and select the plan you’re considering, and then search for your providers by name or specialty.  Feel better about this change? So do I!

Now, mark your calendars to shop our BCBSTX Plans starting on Nov. 15 and embrace this change!

**Disclaimer: The content in this article is specifically geared toward BCBSTX members who currently have an individual or family plan that they purchased  on or after March 23, 2010. If you received a cancellation letter from a different carrier and are considering other options, check back for our blogs about how to buy health insurance or how to get financial assistance or here to learn more about your options.

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