CareFirst is a subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield and has company roots that go back to 1934. In this year, Group Hospitalizations, Inc. was created.
The insurance company's name changed over the years, but in the late ’90s it became known as CareFirst.
Members have access to so many tools through CareFirst. These include basic tasks like paying a medical bill, viewing plan benefits and explanations of how they work, ordering an ID card, and downloading forms. These tools also extend into helping members find a physician, check their claim or deductible status, and order prescriptions.
Through the member portal, simply called My Account, members can easily navigate through these tasks and keep up-to-date on their health plan. There are several additional resources that CareFirst has provided. Members can use a cost estimator, for example, to see how much a medical or dental care would cost before actually committing to having a procedure done.
Even before becoming a member at CareFirst, you can tour a member account to see what it looks like. Through My Account, members can also send a secure email to the company with a request or question. There's an area for members to provide CareFirst with feedback as well, showing that the insurance company is always striving to improve members' experience.
In many ways, the company is innovative and specialized in this field. With CareFirst, customers enjoy a variety of extra features that go beyond member resources. These include a rewards program common to other BlueCros BlueShield entities. It's called Blue365® and qualifies members for discounts on things like fitness gear, therapy, alternative medicine, and hearing equipment.
With its wellness program, CareFirst members also receive motivation to set healthy goals to establish better habits for their health.
Other features offered here are online health coaching, an online section for health news, and a mobile app that allows members to view their ID cards, find a doctor or care facility, and check their claims and benefits.
With FirstHelp, members have 24/7 access to a nurse for round-the-clock health advice if needed. Providing a nurse hotline makes CareFirst competitive with other health insurers.
There's access to a pharmacist as well, which makes CareFirst stand out from other insurers.
Then there are the simple tools, like a chart for helping you decide whether to visit the ER or to wait until a doctor's visit. Though simple, member services and resources like these can make the difference for many customers.
One thing that makes CareFirst unique is that it's a relatively small health insurance provider. Rather than providing insurance across the nation, this company has a much more local feel, focusing its efforts on customers in the Maryland-Virginia area. CareFirst has been in the health insurance industry since 1934, so it has many years of experience. CareFirst boasts of having this region's largest provider network. It also created the biggest type of Patient-Centered Home Program along the way.
It's worth mentioning that CareFirst does a great job of describing the types of health plans it offers and the basic benefits associated with each. It offers HMO-network and PPO-network plans. It also offers catastrophic plans. In some areas, it offers plans with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
Like many competitors, the company offers Medicare, HSAs, PPOs, and HMOs. It also offers catastrophic plans. Common options that CareFirst doesn't offer include Medicaid and short-term health plans.
This company has a few other types of insurance plans, too. CareFirst has a Federal Employees Health Program and offers Point of Service (POS) plans. There's also something called Catastrophic Plans with CareFirst, and these involve lower premiums but higher deductibles.
Its catastrophic plans are called the BlueChoice Young Adult plan. With any of these programs come several basic benefits. These include doctor's office visits, prescriptions, X-rays, hospitalization, emergency services, and even mental health treatment. Preventive medical services are also covered with this CareFirst plan. These services include well-child care, mammograms, and cholesterol and prostate screenings. All of these benefits come without the requirement of a deductible or a copay, which is a great benefit to CareFirst plans.
As you evaluate insurance plans, be sure to consider the coverage offered, monthly premiums, and out-of-pocket costs. Understanding these three things will help you understand the value offered by your health care plan and whether or not it's a good fit for you.
Dental and vision coverage are available here as well. Dental insurance and vision benefits vary insurance plan to insurance plan, so visit CareFirst's website for more information.
In 2013, 2014, and 2015, the company was awarded the Most Ethical Company award. Between recognition like this and all the amount of time it has been in business, CareFirst has established a more trustworthy name for itself. Customers can contact CareFirst by phone whether they are current members or interested in purchasing insurance.
For customers who prefer to search online to find information, there is an FAQ section on the company website, great descriptions of the health plans CareFirst offers, and downloadable claims forms. There are also tools to find in-network providers, pharmacist access, and FirstHelp, a 24/7 nurse line. Through all of these resources, customers can connect with CareFirst in many ways and get their questions answered. Because the company is somewhat small and focuses on a small area of the country, this works in customers' favor because CareFirst caters all of its services to the needs of people in this region.
CareFirst doesn't have many customer reviews on Best Company. With such limited information, it's difficult to guage the customer experience.
However, CareFirst is affiliated with BlueCross BlueShield. BlueCross BlueSheild has recieved high customer ratings on Best Company.
It's important to note upfront that CareFirst's health plans are available only in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and northern Virginia.
If you don't live in these areas, you'll need to find another BlueCross BlueShield subsidiary or another insurer.
CareFirst doesn't mention providing Medicaid plans or short-term health insurance. If you need one of these types of insurance, then this company may not offer what you need.
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