With the first few weeks of 2017 now behind us and a new administration in the White House, we thought this would be a good time for a quick update. Here are few items that you’ll want to be aware of:
Health Reform and the New Administration
We know a lot of you have questions about President Trump’s executive order and the possible changes to the Affordable Care Act. Right now, we can only guess what might happen – none of the proposed changes have yet been implemented. The best advice we can give you is not to make assumptions. For now, the ACA is the law, and if that changes we’ll be sure to let you know. Also, any modifications that are eventually made will change the rules we’ll play by in the future; they’re unlikely to be retroactive. It’s also likely that they’ll be phased in over time; they won’t be immediate. For now, even in these very unusual times, it’s business as usual.
Great news for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas clients! If you have a fully-insured, ACA “metallic” plan (not a grandfathered plan or a transitional plan), your employees will have access to “virtual visits” through MDLIVE starting with your 2017 renewal date (which was January 1 for many of you).
This new service offers members live consultations with board-certified MDLIVE doctors 24 hours a day, seven days a week for non-emergency medical needs such as allergies, cold/flu, sinus infections and more. Additionally, MDLIVE therapists are available by appointment for behavioral health consultations. Virtual visits can help reduce high-cost urgent care center and emergency room visits.
- Members can conveniently connect with a MDLIVE doctor via mobile app, online video or by telephone.* (Behavioral health consults are available by mobile app and online video only.)
- MDLIVE doctors can send prescriptions electronically to the member’s pharmacy of choice (when appropriate).
- Virtual visits are integrated with Provider Finder® and Blue Access for MembersSM.
Promote Virtual Visits to Your Employees
New resources are available for employers to assist with developing a communication strategy to promote virtual visits for their employees, including the best practices for messaging to employees and a sample communication plan. The sample communication plan provides a variety of member communications to promote virtual visits each month, including six standard emails that will be sent by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) throughout 2017 to encourage the use of virtual visits.
These standard emails are provided at no additional cost to employers. Employers can also choose to opt-out of the standard emails and receive the standard email copy to customize and send to their employees (employer is responsible for customization and distribution).
Additionally, a variety of marketing materials have been created for employers to promote virtual visits, including a new member video and collateral such as fliers and welcome cards in English and Spanish. These materials can help raise awareness and encourage usage of the virtual visit service among employees and their covered dependents. Please note: BCBSTX provides collateral in electronic files only. For printed collateral, employers are responsible for printing and postage costs.
If you do not have Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas but are interested in purchasing a telehealth benefit, let us know – we may be able to help.
MDLIVE is an independent company that provides virtual visit services for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. MDLIVE operates and administers the virtual visit program and is solely responsible for its operations and that of its contracted providers. MDLIVE is not an insurance product nor a prescription fulfillment warehouse. MDLIVE operates subject to state regulations and may not be available in certain states. MDLIVE does not guarantee that a prescription will be written. MDLIVE does not prescribe DEA-controlled substances, non-therapeutic drugs and certain other drugs that may be harmful because of their potential for abuse. MDLIVE physicians reserve the right to deny care for potential misuse of services.
New Vision Provider
For years, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas health plan members have had access to vision discounts through Davis Vision®. That has now changed. While Davis Vision is still an option through Blue 365, your employees’ new vision provider WHEN THEY USE THEIR ID CARD is EyeMed Vision Care. You can learn more about this benefit here.
New BCBSTX Preferred Pharmacy Network
Beginning January 1, 2017, all small group and individual metallic plans experienced a change to their Preferred Retail Pharmacy Network. Members now pay the lowest copayment/cost at a network of pharmacies designated as “preferred.” The preferred pharmacy network includes:
- Walmart (including Sam’s Club Pharmacy)
- Albertsons (including Tom Thumb, Market Street, Randall’s, United Pharmacy, Amigos, Safeway, Vons, Super Saver and many other grocery stores under the Albertsons corporate banner)*
- Access Health (a group of independent pharmacies)*
*A list of all participating pharmacy locations can also be viewed at www.bcbstx.com.
Blue365 offers access to health and wellness deals exclusive to Blue Cross Blue Shield members. Through the site, you and your employees have access to a wide range of savings from top health and wellness brands around the country plus some of their favorite local companies. You’ll see weekly “Featured Deals” and long term “Ongoing Deals” on healthy products, along with discounts on health and fitness clubs, weight-loss programs, healthy travel experiences and so much more. You can even sign up for weekly emails to learn about the latest deals to hit Blue365. Best of all, it’s FREE to sign up!
To learn more, click here.
How Can We Help?
As always, JME is here to assist if you have questions or need help with your plan. Just give us a call at 972.245.0266 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.