CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – A new, more affordable option for businesses looking to offer quality health care coverage for their employees at a lower cost has just arrived. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) is adding Blue Options 1-2-3 to its product lineup.
With this new product, some employers could save as much as 30 percent in premiums as compared to BCBSNC’s most popular PPO plan. It allows employers to reduce costs while continuing to offer benefits familiar to employees, such as copayments for preventive and primary care.
“Businesses want to offer the best health coverage to their employees, but high premiums stand in their way,” said Bob Greczyn, president and CEO of BCBSNC. “Blue Options 1-2-3 gives employers the flexibility to provide strong preventive and primary care benefits to their employees while encouraging them to become savvy health care consumers.”
Blue Options 1-2-3 carries three levels of benefits for medical services. Depending on the type and location of service provided, the member will pay different copayments or coinsurance amounts. Prescription drugs are covered for a copayment or coinsurance amount as in other traditional plans.
At level one, employees pay a lower copayment for primary care physician services and routine preventive care services such as annual exams, immunizations and common screening procedures. At level two, employees would have higher coinsurance coverage for inpatient hospital services, including maternity care, which would also be subject to a deductible and per-admission copayment. At level three, employees are responsible for higher coinsurance coverage for specialist visits and outpatient hospital services such as lab tests and X-rays. This level encourages employees to shop around for the services they need.
Because primary care and preventive services, which represent up to 50 percent of claims, are covered with just a copayment, employees experience direct out-of-pocket savings at the first level of care. By offering top savings and benefits for primary and preventive care services, Blue Options 1-2-3 encourages employees to take advantage of these types of services – like getting health screenings and regular physical exams – that can help to lower their overall health care costs and keep them healthier.
Companies can customize this product by choosing from over 100 different options and benefit levels to create a unique plan that best meets their needs. Small business employers with between one and 99 eligible employees that sign up for the plan from January to June of 2008 will also receive a 6-month generic drug copayment waiver. Employees covered under Blue Options 1-2-3 will have access to the current BCBSNC PPO provider network, the largest in North Carolina. The product is available beginning January 2008.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.5 million members, including approximately 815,000 served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For 74 years, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Access BCBSNC online at bcbsnc.com.