Blue Cross Shares Things to Consider When Picking Your 2020 Health Plan

Nov. 6, 2019

BATON ROUGE – For most people, fall is the time of year when they are asked to make choices about their healthcare coverage for the next calendar year. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is sharing some things for customers to keep in mind as they pick 2020 health insurance plans for their families.

First, consider how you get your insurance – through an employer, or with an individual plan you buy directly:

Insurance Through An Employer
For people who get their healthcare coverage through a job, many employers require participating employees to select health plans in the fall. It’s important to understand your options before you make a selection.

The benefits and services offered can change year to year, and so can your insurance company. It’s important to look at what you’ll be expected to pay both for premium and for your out-of-pocket costs on things like deductibles and copays.

Individual Insurance Plans
People who don’t get coverage through work can buy individual health insurance plans. These have a Jan. 1, 2020, start date.

For people who buy insurance through, the Open Enrollment Period is Nov. 1 through Dec. 15. If you don’t act by Dec. 15, then you won’t be able to get 2020 coverage unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period – things like losing healthcare coverage through a job or changing your marital or family status.

For those getting coverage on, it’s important to go in and update your financial information. This is what the federal government uses to determine if you qualify for financial assistance to help you pay for your insurance premiums.

Consider the Three Ps
Regardless of how you get your insurance, when making your 2020 plan selections, consider the three Ps:

  1. Price – How much is the premium for your health plan, and how much will you need to pay for out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and copays? This is important to consider because some plans charge a higher premium up front with lower out-of-pocket costs when you get care, and vice versa. Think about the healthcare services you know you’ll need or likely need in 2020, and what would be the best way for you to stay on top of those costs. 
  2. Providers – Make sure your preferred healthcare providers are in the network for your plan. That means the doctors you want to see and the clinics where you often go for care, but it’s also good to look at how prescription drugs are covered on your plan. Look at the coverage and co-pays for any medication you take. And, keep in mind that different plans from the same insurance carrier do not all have the same network, so it’s important that you make sure the healthcare providers you want to see are in network for your plan. This is especially important if you know you’ll have a big healthcare need like having a baby or a planned surgical procedure in 2020. Make sure the providers you want to go to for those services are in your network.

  3. Plan Value – Look for any additional services or benefits that health plans offer to help you stay well and save money, which could be an added value for you and your family. These can include things like:
    • Online doctor visits, so you can get 24/7 care from home or work for routine health needs. Blue Cross’ service is BlueCare, and it works on any device with internet and a camera. This costs a lot less than a trip to the ER, and is effective for treating common, non-emergency needs like colds, flu symptoms, allergies, stomach bugs, rashes or pink eye.
    • Shopping tools, which help you compare what you’d pay for things like screenings or tests at different healthcare providers. Blue Cross’ tool, SmartShopper, lets members see and compare costs for hundreds of procedures, so you can consider that when scheduling things like mammograms or colonoscopies. 
    • Wellness services to help you stay fit. Blue Cross members have access to Blue365, which offers discounted gym memberships and discounts on other wellness services like healthy meal delivery subscriptions, fitness gear and more.

It’s important to not only look at the three Ps for yourself, but for any dependents who will be covered on your health plan.

You can ask an insurance agent for help in considering your plan options. And, if you’re getting coverage through work, ask your HR department for guidance.

Affordable Care Act Remains As Is for 2020
Finally, keep in mind that while there has been a lot of media coverage of ongoing legislation over the future of the Affordable Care Act, nothing has changed in the law itself. That means at this time, the law will continue as is, and you will need to choose plan coverage for 2020 under the current Affordable Care Act rules.

All year long, you can visit Blue Cross’ Straight Talk blog, in which Healthcare Economist Mike Bertaut shares information on the latest developments for healthcare policy changes, as well as other general health and industry topics.

NOTE FOR BROADCAST MEDIA: Raw interview footage of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Healthcare Economist Mike Bertaut discussing Open Enrollment Period tips to keep in mind is available by request. 

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We were recognized in 2019 as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States. 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website or talk to us on social media.