BlueCross Extending Deadline For Marketplace Payments

Thursday, December 19, 2013

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has extended to Jan. 15 the premium payment deadline for consumers who have selected a Health Insurance Marketplace plan by Dec. 23. The coverage for those plans will be effective Jan.1.

Previously, the deadline for payment on these plans was Dec. 31, but technical issues with the heathcare.gov website prompted BlueCross to extend it to Jan. 15 to help reduce the possibility of gaps in coverage. Many other health insurers have extended first premium payment deadlines to Jan. 10.

“Many people pay their premiums by check through the mail, and with postal volume high this time of year, we felt it important to give our Marketplace customers a cushion with a Jan. 15 deadline,” said Kelly Paulk, director of product strategy for BlueCross. Patients who receive pharmacy or medical bills between Jan. 1 – 15 will later submit them for payment.

For those who bought health insurance on healthcare.gov, here are some helpful tips to confirm you are enrolled in a plan with coverage starting on Jan. 1.

  • If you have enrolled in a plan and paid the first month’s premium, you should receive welcome materials from the insurer within a week to 10 days.  If not, call the Marketplace customer service line at 800 318-2596, to verify you completed your enrollment.
  • Confirm you’ve made payment. When applying through healthcare.gov, you should be directed to the insurer’s website to make arrangements for your premium payment.  If not, call the insurance company directly to make payment. Making payment is necessary to put coverage into effect.
  • You’re just not sure you completed enrollment. It usually takes two business days/three over weekends for your information to be transferred to and uploaded by the insurer. If you enrolled in a BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee plan, you can call 800-459-6363 to verify that we received the enrollment information.
  • You haven’t started shopping yet. If you want coverage by Jan. 1, you have to enroll in a plan by Dec. 23 and make payment before Jan. 15 so time is getting tight. Also remember that signing onto healthcare.gov from your own computer is not the only way to shop for coverage unless you specifically want to check to see if you qualify for a premium tax credit. You can call BlueCross to shop at 800-459-6363. You can also call the Marketplace directly at 800-318-2596 to enroll over the phone. There is a list of certified brokers and of certified application centers on BlueCross’ website bcbst.com/knownow. While Dec. 23 is the deadline for coverage effective Jan. 1, marketplace open enrollment continues through March 31.

Supreme Court Decides Hospitals Cannot Maintain Liens After Bills Paid In Full

In a unanimous opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court has decided that hospitals are required to release their hospital lien against a patient as soon as the patient and the patient’s insurance company have paid the full amount of the hospital charges. This lawsuit involves a common practice in the hospital industry. Hospitals charge uninsured patients more for the same services ... (click for more)

Help Offered For Tennesseans Suffering From Seasonal Affective Disorder

Based on national estimates, thousands of Tennesseans struggle through the cold and dreary winter season with feelings of prolonged sadness. For an estimated 4 to 6 percent of the population, winter brings about periods of fatigue and in some cases anxiety known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or (SAD).   The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services ... (click for more)

2 Suspects Sought In Armed Robbery At Highway 153 Long John Silver's

Police are searching for two suspects in an armed robbery that happened Friday morning. At approximately  8:10  a.m. the Chattanooga Police Department responded to 5317 Highway 153 for a robbery at the Long John Silver's.  Officers discovered that two black men, wearing hoodies and masks, entered the Long John Silver's and forced the assistant manager ... (click for more)

Fire Causes $30,000 In Damages At Scenic City Concrete

Chattanooga firefighters responded to a reported structure fire shortly after  10 p.m. Thursday  at Scenic City Concrete Pumping, at 2903 South Orchard Knob Ave. Captain Donny McMillian with Engine 9 said smoke was visible when the first firefighters arrived. Captain McMillian said the firefighters had to force their way through a locked gate and into the building, ... (click for more)

Please Don't Close The Piccadilly Cafeteria At Hamilton Place - And Response

Oh, no. The Piccadilly Cafeteria at Hamilton Place is closing.  Its last day is Christmas Eve.  I will miss the great food they have there but most of all I will miss their servers, cashiers and waitresses.  They are all so friendly and accommodating.  They make it like it’s a home-style restaurant. I sure wish there was some way that Hamilton Place and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: God Bless Cathy & Co.

The secret to the whole thing is not getting caught but somebody at the Toys R Us store in Framingham, Mass., had a camera when Cathy O’Grady was very quietly paying off all the layaway balances at the popular location last week. The picture snaked its way onto social media sites and her friends quickly recognized the area’s most famous “layaway angel.” Then somebody in nearby ... (click for more)