Blue Cross And Blue Shield Launches AskBlue® Web Tool To Educate Consumers About Health Insurance
Interactive website provides comprehensive, easy-to-understand information about health insurance options as Affordable Care Act marketplaces prepare to open
August 27, 2013
CHICAGO – Today the Blue Cross and Blue Shield System announced the launch of AskBlue®, a Web tool designed to educate consumers ahead of the October 1 start of open enrollment on the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges. The interactive tool provides consumers with comprehensive, yet easy to understand, information about the new health insurance marketplace and coverage options that best meet their needs. AskBlue also helps consumers find Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance plans offered in their communities.
AskBlue was released more than a month before the opening of state and federally-run exchanges to allow first-time health insurance shoppers to research the best types of coverage for their needs. Surveys consistently show that few Americans, particularly those who are uninsured, understand the healthcare reform law and the new choices that are available to them.
"We want to help Americans understand the new healthcare law and how it affects them so consumers can understand their options and select the coverage that best fits their needs," said Scott P. Serota, president and CEO of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. "For more than 80 years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies have been trusted advisers in their communities. As more consumers begin shopping for coverage on their own, we're committed to being their best source for health insurance information."
AskBlue provides simple, comprehensive answers to the most basic questions on consumers' minds: What Do I Get? What Will I Pay? How Do I Choose? The tool explains new coverage rules and shows how the new exchanges affect each consumer, depending on where the customer lives. It also is equipped with an estimator to help shoppers determine whether they may qualify for financial assistance and to estimate the amount of assistance they might receive. In addition, AskBlue includes a glossary that explains common health insurance industry terms, background about healthcare reform and how to use insurance benefits to improve health in the most cost effective way.
Other interactive elements explain basic insurance concepts such as premiums, deductibles and co-payments, as well as the differences between coverage levels offered on Affordable Care Act exchanges – bronze, silver, gold and platinum plans that reflect how much of an individual's medical expenses are covered. To enhance understanding of how health insurance works, insurance terms used within the tool are highlighted to allow users to quickly view their definitions.
The site prompts users to enter their ZIP codes, which allows them to shop for health insurance from participating Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.
"We believe AskBlue will be a trusted source of information about the new health insurance market because it is comprehensive as well as simple to follow," Serota said. "AskBlue's interactive user experience will set it apart from other sources of information available to consumers."
The AskBlue tool will be enhanced in September, when a Spanish language version becomes available, along with a mobile version for smartphones and tablets. There will also be more information added as specific, qualified insurance plans and their prices are announced on each exchange.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 106 million members – one-in-three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.