Blue Cross offers FREE identity theft protection

Effective January 1, most Blue Cross plans offer FREE identity protection services to eligible members.

Are you eligible for identity protection services?

Active Blue Cross or HMO Louisiana group and individual members are eligible for free identity protection services. Members will not need to pay anything extra to sign up. Members are eligible as soon as their Blue Cross plans are effective, and are covered as long as they remain an active member.

You are not eligible for these services if you are on Medicare, Medicaid or Federal Employee Program.

Identity Repair Services

Identity repair is automatically available as needed. If you become a victim of identity theft, an AllClear investigator will act as your guide and advocate from start to finish until the issue is resolved.

Ongoing Identity Theft & Credit Monitoring Services

You must enroll in ongoing monitoring services; you will not be automatically enrolled. Enrollees will get:

  • Identity theft monitoring fraud protection services, in which data such as credit card numbers and Social Security numbers are scanned against data sources from security researchers that contain stolen and compromised data, to look for any indication that your data has been used inappropriately.
  • Credit monitoring services, which alert you if banks and creditors use your identity to open new credit accounts.

Sign up online at http://www.enroll.allclearid.com or call 1-855-229-0079 and enter the code “BCBSLA16.”

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I Value My Insurance Agent

I want to start out by saying that working with you is an honor and privilege.  We all have choices in life, and I’m so glad you choose me for all of your health insurance needs.  I’ve learned to take nothing for granted, both personally and professionally.  I’ve always worked hard for what I have and enjoy the satisfaction that comes from making someone’s life better, less stressful, etc.  This often comes from finding just the right health plan for you and your family.

We’ve all seen how the Affordable Care Act has made this process increasingly difficult, in the form of higher premiums, fewer insurance companies offering plans, fewer doctor and hospital choices with shrinking networks, changes in how prescription drugs are covered, higher deductibles and out of pocket exposure, and so on.  Health Insurance as we once knew it, is gone.

Now, imagine taking a year’s worth of your business and doing it in just 45 days.  Sounds humanly impossible, yes?  Yet, this is what true health insurance professionals did for our clients, putting in 14 plus hour days if that’s what it took, and hoping and praying everyone got the attention they deserved.   What makes this even more challenging is the fact that no two clients are the same.  They don’t live in the same area, go to the same doctors, take the same prescriptions, have the same income, or have the same family make-up.  Each client needs their own personal consultation.  And this is where the value of a health insurance professional comes in.  The value of someone who knows the nuances of insurance companies, plans, networks.  Someone who is there for when you get cancer, or need surgery, and realize you need to be on a different plan after extensive network / doctor search, and will stay at the office until the midnight hour, before the deadline, to move you to the plan that is better for you – or your family.   But it doesn’t stop there.  As your trusted advisor, we are there for you every step of the way –  from ID cards, to claims negotiations, remediation, ongoing service and consultation with whatever you, our clients, need.  We are your advocate and will fight for you like we would our own family.

Picking the right plan from the start is more important than ever since the law says you can’t change plans outside of Open Enrollment, which typically lasts a few months somewhere between November and January, each year.  You can NOT buy insurance any time of the year.  You are locked in to a plan whether you like it or not.  Often I get calls from people who thought they could “do it on their own” and ended up with a plan that doesn’t work for them because they didn’t know what to look for.  Then, they are stuck with it for a year.

Did I mention that I love what I do?  I always have. I’ve never paid much attention to how much money I’ll make helping someone, just putting them first, taking care of them, is true satisfaction.  The compensation comes later, in the form of commission payments from the insurance companies.  If you think about it, independent health insurance professionals are the least expensive way for them to sell their policies.   We are like independent contractors to them.  If we do not produce, we don’t get paid.  And what they pay us is a small percentage of the premiums.

But now that the dust settled after the craziest Open Enrollment Season in history, we are faced with yet another challenge.  Many health insurance companies we work with are no longer paying commission.  For now, this is for policies written outside of Open Enrollment, but can change overnight.  So, as you can imagine, I am faced with a very tough decision.  Obviously no one can work for free on a regular basis.  If commissions are eliminated altogether, agents will have no choice except to start charging consulting fees.  Many of them already do, but I have not gone there yet, hoping and praying I can continue to do what I love, and still get paid.

But we all have to fight for what we believe in, and this is where you come in:

I am asking you to join me in the fight.  With the help of Health Agents for America (HAFA), we are asking you to let our State and Federal representatives know the value of working with a health insurance professional. I’ve tried to make this as easy as possible… just a few clicks and your voice can be heard.

(Special thanks to Tanya Boyd & Associates for putting my thoughts into these eloquent words.)

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Please click the following link to sign a document letting our State and Federal representatives know the value of working with a health insurance professional. Your voice is important.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN

How to “reconcile“ your 2015 Marketplace premium tax credit

When you file your federal tax return you will need to “reconcile” if you had a 2015 Marketplace health plan and used premium tax credits to lower your monthly payment.

Reconciling can affect either the amount of your refund or the amount of tax you owe.

To reconcile, you’ll compare:

Continue reading “How to “reconcile“ your 2015 Marketplace premium tax credit”

How to avoid the flu

You can avoid the flu this season by taking 1 simple step: Get a flu shot.

Some people think that getting a flu shot is too much trouble, costs too much or will make them sick or more likely to catch the flu or even colds.

The flu is caused by 1 of several strains of flu viruses (type A or B) that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. The flu makes life miserable for a week or 2 for many people — and deadly for some. Flu season can begin as early as October and peak anywhere from late December to early April, according to the CDC.

Here are the facts

Your best defense against the flu is to get the flu shot. Depending on your age, you can do that in 1 of 2 ways:

Continue reading “How to avoid the flu”

Paying your insurance premium on-time

 

We cannot stress how important it is to pay your insurance premiums on-time.

IF YOU FAIL TO PAY YOUR PREMIUM OR DO NOT PAY THE CORRECT PREMIUM AMOUNT, YOUR COVEREAGE WILL BE CANCELED BY THE INSURANCE CARRIER.

If your coverage is canceled, you will not be able to purchase another insurance plan for the remainder of 2016. You will be responsible for all incurred medical bills AND you will still have to pay the tax penalty at the end of the year.

WORRIED ABOUT FORGETTING A PAYMENT?

Worried about forgetting a payment? We recommend you set early reminders or take advantage of the automatic bank draft option for payments.

 

Let us know how we can help!

 

Learn more about how drugs are covered with Blue Cross

You can learn more about how your drugs are covered by reading lists called formularies. These lists have tiers that will help you see if there are drugs you can take that will cost you less. Tier 3 drugs cost more than Tier 2 and Tier 1 drugs.

These drug lists also show what rules may apply to your drugs. Some of these rules may include having your doctor call Blue Cross first before ordering a drug; getting a certain amount of a drug at one time; or trying other drugs first before your plan will cover a drug.

First, check your plan booklet to see how many drug tiers your plan has then go to:

  1. bcbsla.com/pharmacy
  2. Click Prescription Drug Lists
  3. Choose the 2016 Drug Formulary for your plan
  4. Look up your drug in the index to find what page it is on in the formulary

If you have questions, call the Pharmacy number on your member ID card.

Continue reading “Learn more about how drugs are covered with Blue Cross”