Blue Cross Blue Shield is the renowned parent company of health insurance names like Anthem, CareFirst, Regence, Wellmark, Highmark, Capital, Empire, Independence, Horizon, and Premera. It oversees 36 different companies, all of which are locally operated, however. A nationwide company, BCBS has helped about 105 million people since its founding in 1929.
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- Types of Plans Offered
- Member Resources
- Unique Features
- Customer Service
- Availability and Acceptance
- Mobile App
Types of Plans Offered
The health plans offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield are nationwide and widely accepted at hospitals and doctor's offices. They range in every type-from PPOs, to HMOs, to HSAs, to even HRAs and FSAs. BCBS also offers indemnity plans, Points of Service (POS), and short-term health insurance. And of course, they have Medicare and Medicaid options as well. The coverage and details of each of these plans depends partially on your health situation (including age, number of group being insured, health status, etc.) and your location. When you initially search for a health plan to get a quote, expect to put in your location and some personal information, as these points will help BCBS draw up a list of potential plans for you.
To their credit, the company also offers both dental and vision insurance for plans that allow it. The BlueDental plans include access to a network of 140,000 dentists around the US. It covers the basics, like preventative cleanings, fillings, and even crowns or braces if needed. There is no deductible for a dental checkup with this plan and no deductible for preventative care. The percentage of coverage, however, depends on your specific plan and the state you live in. For vision insurance, the BlueVision plans are accepted at 3,000 retail locations around the US and function through VSP. Vision insurance here has the potential to save you 20 to 40% on your optometry bills.
Blue Cross Blue Shield keeps up its positive reputation with members with both basic and advanced tools. On the basic level, BCBS has a member portal with the capability of tracking your claims 24/7. There's of course a member-dedicated phone number you can call as well, and members can contact the company at any time of day if needed. Through the BCBS website, members can download any forms they need, such as for filing a claim. Even potential members have the ability to get a quote about a health plan before committing to the company.
As for advanced resources, members have a lot to enjoy as well. BCBS goes above and beyond with their mobile app, to start out. While many health insurance companies have a mobile app just to access your patient portal, BCBS has one to help you find a doctor-both in terms of making sure a provider is in the BCBS network and in the sense that the app's GPS will give you directions to that facility. In addition, the AskBlue tool is worth mentioning. It's BCBS's tool for giving you detailed information about their health plans. Should you want more than basic information, you can just "Ask Blue" and get the prices, coverage points, deductibles, premiums, and more. This is a great tool to compare plans and find the best one for you. Finally, BCBS cares about the education of its members and shows this by providing articles about health care-including the confusing terms in health insurance, the changing laws about this industry, and more. This makes you feel more informed about health and your insurance.
Blue Cross Blue Shield's network of doctors and specialists is gigantic. BCBS insurance is accepted all over the US-not one state is left out. Perhaps more significant, though, is the fact that 96% of hospitals and 92% of doctors accept BCBS insurance. At most locations your medical bills will be covered in part by this company! Here's another unique feature of this company: the Blue365 program. Through Blue365, members can receive discounts on all sorts of health-related products, such as workout clothes, weight loss programs, hearing aids, and pedometers (to name just a few). Blue365 saves you money and provides added motivation for you to get and stay healthy. BCBS also has tools like their mobile app and the AskBlue resource for finding out more about their health plans. BCBS is also noted for being very involved in health-related causes in the community. Through associations with the American Diabetes Foundation, the YMCA, and the Make-a-Wish Foundation (again, just to name a few), BCBS has made a big difference in encouraging health and making healthier lives a reality.
The Blue Cross Blue Shield website is extremely detailed and full of resources for members and potential customers alike. For anyone who would benefit from it, they have general information about health care, health insurance, terminology, legal changes, and how all these factors affect people who need health insurance. More specifically, though, through the website you can find answers to questions about actual health plans offered by BCBS. You can search for plans and get a quote, narrowing your search by location and the type of plan you're looking for.
They answer frequently asked questions, have social media outlets to connect with clients more personally, and of course, provide mailing information for when you need to mail in a form or contact them via snail mail. Should all of these resources not be enough, though, BCBS provides phone numbers, an email address, live chatting, and even a 24/7 secure inquiry form that you can submit to the company for personalized answers. In short, Blue Cross Blue Shield takes lots of different steps to meet the needs of customers all over the US. They are available 24/7 to members and have set up their customer service tools to be convenient, immediate, and of course, helpful-even in the details.
Availability and Acceptance
BCBS is available in all 50 states, and over 90% of doctors and hospitals in America accept their insurance. BCBS insurance is accepted at 96% of hospitals and at 92% of doctor's offices. It goes without saying that this convenience alone trumps the hassles of lesser-known insurance plans.
The BCBS mobile app is slightly different from other companies' apps. Their Find a Doctor app not only helps you identify a doctor or hospital you can use your insurance at; it literally helps you find the location with its GPS ability.
- State-Specific Coverage
For better or worse, the coverage you receive through your health plan depends partially on the state you live in (the state in which you would use that insurance). In other words, you can't just look up a PPO plan at BCBS and expect the same coverage percentages and deductibles for any state. Prices are determined in part by location, which could work for or against you.