PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 1, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Starting today, Independence Blue Cross (IBC), the region's leading health insurer, will offer 13 different health plans with more than 30 options for individuals on the new federal health insurance marketplace in Pennsylvania with coverage effective January 1, 2014. Included in the new suite of products are HMO and PPO plans across all metallic levels and Keystone HMO Proactive — IBC's lower-cost tiered network benefits plans. Additionally, the company will offer a "catastrophic plan" to provide very basic coverage to adults under 30 or those who qualify due to extreme financial hardship.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, IBC has the lowest rates in the region on the Marketplace. Also, IBC is the only carrier in the Philadelphia market offering subsidy-eligible health plans across all metallic tiers.
"At Independence Blue Cross, we are dedicated to delivering what people need: affordable, health plans that provide access to superb care when they become ill and the safety and security they have come to expect from our company," said Daniel J. Hilferty, IBC president and CEO. "With IBC, members will have access to a full range of medical professionals they need for their care. We want to make it easy for people to do business with us and find a plan that works for them."
In addition to offering these plans on the federal health insurance marketplace, IBC launched a free, easy-to-use website that provides consumers with a guided confidential tool that allows them to shop for health insurance the same convenient way they use a travel site to find a hotel room. By visiting ibx4you.com, individuals can shop for the best coverage benefits, compare plans, enroll in the option that meets their needs, and pay for coverage.
Consumers looking for information about government subsidies can also shop on ibx4you.com and use IBC's online calculator to quickly determine if they might qualify for assistance from the federal government.
Based on the new requirements in the health care law, all plans offered will be broken into four levels of benefits named for four metals — Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. These metallic levels were designed to make it easy for consumers to compare health insurance plans. All plans contain the same mandated "essential" health benefits such as primary care doctor visits, prescription drugs, X-rays, and hospital stays. The plans will differ in their monthly premiums and the percentage of health care costs consumers will pay at the time of service.
With IBC's tiered network plans, the Keystone HMO Proactive series, primary care physicians, specialists, hospitals, and other health care providers are placed into one of three benefit tiers — Preferred, Enhanced, and Standard — based on specific criteria, including cost. Consumers who purchase these plans will have access to IBC's entire HMO network of health care professionals, but they will pay the lowest out-of-pocket costs for most services when they select a primary care physician, specialist, hospital, or other health care provider in the Preferred benefit tier.
"We want to help the community become informed consumers of health care," said Brian Lobley, IBC SVP of Marketing and Consumer Business. "Our Proactive plans encourage consumers to choose outstanding care at a reasonable cost, and they increase consumers' awareness that in health care, high quality doesn't have to mean high cost. In addition, we are the only insurer in the region offering a broad access platinum PPO plan on the Marketplace – IBC's Personal Choice®."
To view a chart of average monthly rates for IBC's new health care law compatible plans for individuals, please visit the Independence Blue Cross newsroom at ibx.com. (http://www.ibx.com/company_info/news/press_releases/2013/10_01_IBC_launches_reform_read.html)
Open enrollment for the new health plans runs from October 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014. Enrolling within this time frame allows consumers to avoid paying a penalty. Consumers looking for health insurance to begin January 1, 2014 must enroll by December 15, 2013.
IBC is providing health care law education and enrollment opportunities throughout the region at community events and through partnerships with community organizations. A full schedule of activities can be found at ibx.com/events.
The new health care law expands access to health insurance for an estimated 30 to 40 million people, an important step for the nearly 50 million uninsured individuals in America. While for some, the law will cause premium rates to go down, others will face higher premiums because the reform law requires health insurers to price policies differently and to offer more benefits than most people buy today. IBC is committed to helping as many people as possible get affordable, high-quality health insurance that meets their needs and is compliant with the law.
About Independence Blue Cross
Proudly celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2013, Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania serving more than seven million people nationwide, including 2.2 million in the region. We are enhancing the health and wellness of the people and communities we serve by delivering innovative and competitively priced health care products and services; pioneering new ways to reward doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals for coordinated, quality care; and supporting programs and events that promote wellness. To learn more about how we're changing the game, visit www.ibx.com. Connect with us on Facebook at ibx.com/facebook and on Twitter at @ibx. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
CONTACT: Kathleen Conlon Office 215-241-4576 Cell 267-319-2399 Kathleen.Conlon@ibx.com
Source:Independence Blue Cross