MVMA members have the opportunity to take advantage of special rates on insurance through
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Don’t miss one of these many ways to save . . .

With a large selection of plans available for MVMA members, you have the flexibility to match the best plan with your budget needs at every stage of your business including:

     Community Blue PPO
Blue Care Network HMO
Healthy Blue Living, an HMO wellness plan
Flexible Blue, a consumer-directed plan
My Blue, individual-billed coverage

Having a healthier workforce has a positive impact on your bottom line through increased productivity, increased morale and reduced absenteeism. Personalized health and wellness resources included in the Blues association-sponsored health plans help your employees manage their well-being giving you more for your health care investment.

Explore Your Coverage Options
BCBS offers numerous options for group health plans that the Ralph C. Wilson Insurance Agency can help you explore. BCBS also offers several individual options which you can view by clicking on them below.  You may also want to note that they have Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans available as well as the Medicare Prescription Part D plans.

Individual Care Blue Plus Benefits
Flexible Blue II:  1500, 2500, 5000
One Blue Individual Plan
Young Adult Blue Plan Benefits

For assistance in finding a plan that meets your practices’ needs
contact The Ralph C. Wilson Insurance Agency at 800/638-1174 and identify yourself as an MVMA member.


Articles of Interest from BCBSM

Health Care Reform FAQ
Small Business - Reduce Your Health Care Premiums

Blues Offer Transitional Health Care Coverage
Individual Health Coverage Benefits Employees & Employers
New Plans Offer Association Members Low-Cost Options
BlueCore PlusSM a New Low-Cost PPO Plan from the Blues
For Members Only: Associations Partner with the Blues to offer Low-Cost Plan Options
Community Blue PlusSM Can Reduce Your Health Care Costs
 


 

Reduce Your Health Care Premiums: Small business owners may be eligible for tax credit under new reform law.

Did you know your business might be able to reduce its health care premiums by up to 35 percent? Under the health care reform bill, the U.S. government will provide a tax credit to some small businesses that pay at least 50 percent of their employees' health insurance premiums.

The Small Business Health Care Tax Credit is specifically targeted to help small businesses and tax-exempt organizations that primarily employ low- and moderate-income workers. The size of the credit a business receives depends on the average wages and number of employees.

The tax credit:

• Is worth up to 35 percent of the employers' health care cost for businesses with up to 10 employees and average annual wages of up to $25,000. For example, if the employer contributes $100, the tax credit would be up to $35.
• Is worth up to 25 percent of the employers' health care costs for tax exempt small businesses.
• Phases out as the number of employee increases from 10 to 25, and also phases out as average wages increase from $25,000 to $50,000.
• Is available retroactive to Jan. 1, 2010, and applies to both grandfathered and non-grandfathered health plans. Under national health care reform, "grandfathered" plans are those in existence on or before March 23, 2010.

Not sure if your business qualifies for this tax credit? Small business employers can use this IRS work sheet to determine if your business qualifies. For more information, contact The Ralph C. Wilson Insurance Agency or visit the IRS Small Business Health Care Tax Credit for Small Employers website.

The information in this document is based on preliminary review of the national health care reform legislation and is not intended to impart legal advice. Interpretations of the reform legislation vary and efforts will be made to present and update accurate information. This overview is intended as an educational tool only and does not replace a more rigorous review of the law's applicability to individual circumstances and attendant legal counsel and should not be relied upon as legal or compliance advice. Analysis is ongoing and additional guidance is also anticipated from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Copyright 2010, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, used with permission


Blues Offer Transitional Health Care Coverage

Health care coverage in the workplace is changing rapidly. The rising cost of health care is making it increasingly difficult for employers to provide health insurance to their employees. With many businesses no longer offering employer-sponsored health plans, employees are required to take full responsibility for their health care costs.

MVMA, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network understand how important it is to have options when it comes to choosing health care coverage. If your employees are experiencing a career transition or are losing their employer-sponsored health care coverage, the Blues are here to help and are exclusively endorsed by the MVMA.

Through MyBlueSM, the Blues offer a suite of individual coverage options designed to protect Michigan individuals and families at all stages of life. The plans not only offer medical benefits, but also prescription drug coverage. Dental and maternity coverage are also available.

To learn more about MyBlue health care plans from the Blues, contact The Ralph C. Wilson Insurance Agency or visit bcbsm.com/myblue.


Individual Health Coverage Benefits Employees & Employers

Health care coverage in the workplace is changing rapidly. Many businesses no longer offer employer-sponsored health plans and require employees to take full responsibility for their health care costs.

Still, there is a very important reason for employers to maintain an interest in their employees' health care coverage. Your employees' wellness affects your bottom line. A lack of insurance can cause a decline in an employee's health, and, in turn, declines in work attendance, productivity and quality. To sustain a healthy workforce, employers should educate their employees about individual coverage options such as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan's MyBlueSM plans.

The Blues have developed the MyBlue suite of plans to cover the needs of diverse individuals in different life stages. MyBlue offers benefits that fit a variety of lifestyles and budgets, whether a person is single or has a family, is self-employed, retired or just started college.

The plans not only offer medical benefits, but also prescription drug, dental and maternity coverage. In addition, LifeSecure™ offers long-term care insurance for those who may require caregiving in the future due to chronic or degenerative illnesses.

Dental coverage is important because studies show that about 90 percent of all systemic illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease, can be detected early through routine dental exams.

And prescription drug coverage is critical because more than 60 percent of adults who are not yet senior citizens require prescription drugs on a regular basis for chronic diseases. Uninsured adults are twice as likely as insured adults to skip dosages or not fill prescriptions. In short, health care coverage means healthier employees and better job attendance and performance.

Employers should also note that the rates for MyBlue individual plans may be lower when the employee is transferring or converting from a qualified Blues employer-sponsored group health. This is another good reason to make employees aware of MyBlue individual coverage so that they can include this option in their health care planning. This information just may be the incentive an employee needs to get coverage for themselves and their family. As the evidence shows, no one benefits when an employee goes without health insurance.

Not sure what MyBlue plan is right for you? Visit bcbsm.com/myblue and click on AskBlue™.

Q. How soon will coverage become effective?

Coverage is effective about 14 days after the Blues receive the application for coverage. However, coverage doesn't begin and benefits will not be paid until the first premium payment is received.

Q. Are pre-existing conditions covered?

Yes. The Blues' individual coverage requires a 180-day pre-existing conditions exclusion period. Members pay for services related to those conditions for six months. After that, pre-existing conditions are covered. However, if a member currently has a Blues plan, the pre-existing waiting period might be waived.

Q. What happens if an employee can't afford COBRA or wants to switch from COBRA to an individual plan?

It's no problem. Anyone experiencing a career transition who does not elect COBRA can enroll in any of the MyBlue options at any time. And anyone already on COBRA can switch to a MyBlue product and choose the option that fits his or her needs and budget. However, if you are already on COBRA, the pre-existing conditions waiting period will be waived only if COBRA has been exhausted.

Q. If an employee is switching coverage, how can he or she find out if his or her doctor is in the Blues' network?

You can find out about the Blues' provider network at bcbsm.com/myblue. Or you may simply call 877-4MY-BLUE (469-2583).

Q. What if an employee chooses a product without prescription drug coverage?

The Affinity Rx drug discount program is available to MyBlue members at no additional cost. Eligible members simply present their Blues ID card to receive discounts on prescription drugs. These discounts vary by medication and pharmacy, so use the pricing calculator at bcbsm.com/calc.

Copyright 2009, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, used with permission


Driving Change Through Innovation: New products from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network deliver affordable solutions for association members.

Even in today's challenging economy, you can afford protection from rising health care costs. From a new BCN health reimbursement arrangement to a basic PPO plan, the Blues have new low-cost plans available to association member groups.

BlueCore PlusSM
BlueCore Plus is a new basic PPO health plan that provides your employees with what they need, when they need it, at a cost that they can afford — around $250 per member, per month. This innovative plan includes:

• Premiums that are 30 to 40 percent lower than comprehensive PPO plans
• Immediate in-network coverage on routine services — up to $200 on office visits annually and up to $400 on diagnostic services annually
• A three-level deductible structure — individual, two-person and family
• Urgent care services paid at 100 percent for accidental or medical emergencies
• A $250 copayment for emergency room visits
• Basic coverage with maternity benefits
• Optional prescription-drug coverage

No other carrier in Michigan offers a comparable plan with a $5 million lifetime maximum.

Blue Care Network HMO health reimbursement arrangement
Joining the Blues' suite of consumer-directed health care is BCN's new HRA option. This new HMO funding option helps cushion your employees from high out-of-pocket expenses, while providing you with a tax deduction. Key advantages of BCN's HMO HRA include:

• A seamless, integrated health reimbursement arrangement with flexibility
• A pay provider model, eliminating the need for a debit card in addition to the member ID card
• No setup or ongoing maintenance fees
• Weekly Automated Clearing House transactions with any financial institution
• Single Explanation of Benefit Payments statements for members

Blue Care Network $7,500 or $15,000 high-deductible plan
Just in time to pair with BCN's HRA product is a new, high-deductible option under the BCN-10 plan. With a $7,500 individual, $15,000 family deductible, this option offers small businesses significant savings at less than $250 per member, per month.

All of these new products are available to association groups with a minimum of two enrolled contracts beginning with Oct. 1, 2009 effective dates. For more information, please call The Ralph C. Wilson Insurance Agency at 800/638-1174 and mention this article.

Copyright 2009, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, used with permission


Heading in a New Direction: BlueCore PlusSM — an innovative health care plan designed for small businesses.

At around $250 per member, per month, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan's newest product, BlueCore Plus, offers small businesses a solution to provide health care coverage during these challenging economic times.

So what makes BlueCore Plus so different? It's a unique benefit approach that combines limited routine coverage with protection against major health events. No other carrier in Michigan offers a comparable plan with a $5 million lifetime maximum.

This basic PPO health plan provides your employees with what they need, when they need it — at a cost you can afford. The innovative plan includes:

• Premiums that are 30 to 40 percent lower than comprehensive PPO plans
• Immediate in-network coverage on routine services — up to $200 on office visits annually and up to $400 on diagnostic services annually
• A three-tier deductible structure — individual, two-person, family
• Urgent care services paid at 100 percent for accidental or medical emergencies, to ensure members receive care when needed and avoid costly emergency room visits
• A $250 co-payment for emergency room visits to promote appropriate use of ER services
• Basic coverage with maternity benefits
• Optional prescription-drug coverage

As business demands change you can count on your association's partnership with the Blues to provide small business with affordable solutions. For more information, please call The Ralph C. Wilson Insurance Agency at 800/638-1174 and mention this article.

Copyright 2009, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, used with permission


For Members Only: Associations Partner with the Blues to Offer New Low-Cost Plan Options

Small business owners have told us they're struggling to cope with the rising cost of health insurance premiums. Studies support this: A 2007 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that the percentage of small group employers offering health benefits has declined significantly since 2001.

In today's challenging economic times, it's important for small group employers to rethink their approach to benefits, stay on top of health care trends and adjust their plans accordingly to ensure a healthy bottom line.

To assist employers in their efforts, we've partnered with the Blues to bring you new, more affordable sponsored plan options. These options are expected to help small businesses do a better job of balancing coverage and cost.

Flexibility is key
What's affordable for one business may not work for another. That's why the Blues are addressing the needs of small group employers by offering new flexible plan options.
Available with association-sponsored Community Blue PPO plans, these options include:

• Removing or limiting certain benefits, such as office visits or osteopathic and spinal manipulation visits
• Higher emergency room co-payments

The amount you save depends on the options you select. You can get significant savings by limiting some services and increasing the emergency room copay.

High-deductible options
Small business owners looking for low-cost health care coverage can take advantage of several new high-deductible options, with plan deductibles as high as $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a family. These programs are designed to provide your employees with catastrophic coverage and enable them to take advantage of Blues-negotiated health care provider discounts, resulting in lower out-of-pocket expenses.

Low-premium Community Blue PPO plan
The Blues designed this new low-cost PPO plan especially to help small group employers who otherwise might eliminate health care coverage due to budgetary constraints. While this plan has higher member cost-sharing features, it still provides the comprehensive benefits you need to attract and keep a productive work force.  The average individual rate for Community Blue PPO Plan 18 is $302 per month. If you currently offer a Community Blue PPO plan, moving to this new low-cost plan can save you as much as 25 percent on the premium for each contract.

Low-cost prescription drug coverage
The Blues have designed a new pharmacy plan to complement a low-cost PPO plan and have made it available to any employer looking to reduce pharmacy costs. The savings on this plan comes from its design — a deductible on brand-name drugs, a yearly annual maximum and such cost-management features as prior authorization and step therapy, 90-day retail program and mail order prescription drugs. The average individual rate for this new prescription drug plan is $76 per month.

Stand-Alone dental coverage
Stand-Alone Blue DentalSM is now available to small businesses with as few as two employees. It allows trade association members with non-Blue medical coverage to purchase affordable dental coverage from the Blues. This offering gives you the flexibility to match your medical plan to a Blue dental plan as well as your budget.  With Stand-Alone Blue Dental, you have a choice of four different plans:

• Traditional Plus — An open access traditional dental plan with an optional PPO network feature, using the DenteMax network
• Community Dental — A PPO dental plan featuring the DenteMax PPO network that provides coverage both in and out of the network
• Exclusive Dental — An exclusive provider organization dental plan that covers only in-network care
• Blue Dental ChoiceSM — A voluntary plan employees can purchase at a group rate. To keep premiums affordable, non-network dentists will be paid based on a lower fee schedule.

For members only
As an association member, your membership allows you to select from a broader menu of benefit options, including our lowest cost options. One of the biggest benefits of being an association member is the large number of plans available to small business owners with fewer than 50 employees. Call your local trade association or Blues-contracted agent to see what association-sponsored plan best meets your company's needs.

Copyright 2009, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, used with permission

Community Blue PlusSM can Reduce Your Health Care Costs

Employers could experience significant savings on health care costs when preventive dental and vision benefits are part of their medical plans. This is what prompted the Blues to launch Community Blue Plus, a medical plan with built-in dental and vision exams. Community Blue Plus is a total wellness plan that incorporates the medical coverage of our industry leading PPO with limited Blue DentalSM and Blue VisionSM coverage. It's a plan that Dr. Michael Jennings, past president of the Michigan Dental Association, calls "the ultimate solution" for its detailed attention to employee wellness, cost reduction for employers and simplicity for both.  "A plan like this is really ideal because it addresses the entire body," says Jennings. "It's really a win-win situation to have medical, dental and vision benefits fall under one roof."

Community Blue Plus seeks to accomplish a trio of goals:

1. Improve wellness. Attention to both dental and vision care is important to overall health. This comprehensive plan offers preventive dental treatment and a vision exam to help avoid serious health conditions and improve the overall wellness of your employees.
2. Reduce costs. Dental and vision specialists can catch signs of severe health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease. When detected early, some health problems can be cured or treated earlier, preventing more costly health conditions.
3. Increase employee productivity. A healthy workforce saves money for your business through improved attendance, productivity and work quality. Employees are likely to perform at a higher level when they are healthy. They are also less likely to leave a company that places emphasis on and shows concern for their overall health.

While employers enjoy lower costs and a healthier workforce, employees will appreciate the convenience of using one ID card for their total health care plan. For more information about how Community Blue Plus can enhance your benefit offerings, please contact a BCBSM sales representative or your Blues-contracted agent.

Copyright 2008, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, used with permission

 

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