; Blue Cross & Blue Shield Of Rhode Island Launches New Health Plan And Innovative Diminishing Deductible Program For Direct Pay Market
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Press Release

Blue Cross & Blue Shield Of Rhode Island Launches New Health Plan And Innovative Diminishing Deductible Program For Direct Pay Market

May 7, 2012

PROVIDENCE – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI), the only insurer in the state that provides health insurance directly to consumers, today announced a revamped product line that includes one new plan option, incentives for healthy living and an innovative new program that can help consumers reduce their annual deductible.

“Our Direct Pay members asked us for more healthcare coverage and cost options, so we updated our product line to meet a wider range of healthcare needs and budgets without compromising access to quality healthcare,” said Jim Gallagher, assistant vice president of strategic marketing and product innovation.  ”We’re also really excited to be able to offer our Direct Pay members a new Diminishing Deductible program, which is designed to help members lower their annual deductibles.  Similar to the driver discount often offered by auto insurers, it allows members who do not fully utilize their benefits in a given year to be rewarded with a lower deductible the following year.”

According to Gallagher, Direct Pay members will be automatically enrolled in the Diminishing Deductible program.  If the member’s annual deductible is not met, individuals and families will be eligible for a 20 percent deductible discount in year two, a 40 percent discount in year three and 50 percent in year four.  For example, a BlueSolutions for HSA customer with a $6,000 deductible during the first year will see their deductible decrease to $4,800 in year two, $3,600 in year three and $3,000 in year four.  If, however, the deductible is met in any year, the deductible resets to the original amount the following year, and the program restarts.

Gallagher continued:  ”In addition to providing members with an opportunity to earn lower annual deductibles, we’re hoping that the Diminishing Deductible program will help incent them to get the most value out of their healthcare coverage.  A member with a bad sore throat, for instance, has the option of seeking treatment with their primary care physician, an urgent care clinic or an emergency room.  They’ll probably receive similar treatment at all three locations, but a trip to the emergency room that totals more than $800 is going to run up their deductible much faster than the average $120 appointment with their primary care physician, which is a better choice.”

With one new health plan, BCBSRI now offers a total of five plans for individuals and families and one dedicated option for individuals, at a variety of price points and with a range of coverage options.  Each plan has comprehensive medical coverage and access to BCBSRI’s nationwide network of doctors and hospitals.  The plans include:

BlueValue Direct 2500 (NEW) – Designed specifically for an individual looking for the lowest possible monthly premium, BlueValue Direct 2500 protects against catastrophic medical expenses while providing full coverage for many preventive services, including an annual dental cleaning and one set of bitewing X-rays.  It also includes $4 copayments on most generic prescription drugs and a $100 reimbursement for joining a fitness center.

VantageBlue 1000/2000 and 1500/3000 – These plans offer cost-saving benefits for individual and families, especially for those who have diabetes, asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, including copayments of only $2 for maintenance prescriptions drugs used to treat these chronic conditions.  In addition, members with diabetes are covered at 100 percent for an annual foot and eye exam, which are important screenings in treatment of the disease.  All participants in these plans are eligible for a $50 incentive for completing a personal health assessment.

Healthmate Coast-to-Coast Direct 2500/5000 – This plan delivers many traditional features for individuals and families as well as a Wellness Reward Program, which can help save 10 percent on total premiums for the year if certain wellness requirements are met.  In order to earn the reward, members must complete requirements, including a wellness pledge and personal health assessment, within the time required.

BlueSolutions for HSA 3000/6000 and 5000/10000 – These plans deliver some of the lowest monthly premiums offered by BCBSRI. Health savings account (HSA) plans typically have higher deductibles and allow individuals to save pre-tax dollars for future medical expenses.  Once the deductible is met in the 5000/10000 plan, nearly all medical expenses are covered at 100 percent.

The BCBSRI plans for individuals and families became available as of April 1, 2012, with an effective date of April 1, 2012 for individuals and/or families who pass medical underwriting.  However, all individuals and families are eligible to join during open enrollment from May 15, 2012 through June 15, 2012 for a July 1, 2012 effective date.  Rhode Islanders interested in more information may call (401) 351-BLUE (2583) or 1-800-505-BLUE, or visit BCBSRI.com.

About Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is the state’s leading health insurer and covers more than 600,000 members. The company is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit BCBSRI.com and follow us on Twitter @BCBSRI.

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 105 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.