South Florida Hospital News
Sunday August 25, 2019
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December 2008 - Volume 5 - Issue 6

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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida Adds New Consumer-Driven Products to its Portfolio

Consumer-Driven Health Plans (CDHP) is one of the hottest concepts in insurance today.

As their name implies, CDHP put individuals in the driver’s seat when it comes to buying health coverage, says Doug Bartel of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF). "The plans represent a retail transformation in healthcare. People can now comparative shop for health insurance just as they do for cars, electronics, or any other major purchase. "

CDHP are growing in popularity, in large part, because of changes in the workplace and the economy. "The responsibility for health insurance is increasingly shifting from the employer to the employee," notes Bartel. Fewer companies are providing healthcare benefits today, and of those that do, many are cutting back coverage or trimming their portion of the premium payments. Other businesses are not offering health plans themselves, but are giving their employees dollar allotments to go out and find coverage on their own.

In response to these trends, BCBSF recently expanded its line of CDHP.

The company’s first step, in developing its new products, was to research the market. "Our goal was to find out people’s needs, wants, and concerns in terms of health insurance, "says Bartel. "We involved everyone in the process – our members, community partners, physicians, and general consumers."


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida has a retail store in Pembroke Pines, where consumers can shop for a variety of health insurance and related products.

Not surprisingly, cost emerged as a key issue. BCBSF, the oldest and largest carrier in the state, is perceived as an "aspirational brand" by many people, says Bartel. "They see us as the ideal – something they want, but feel they can’t afford." To serve the lower-price tiers of the market, the company kept cost in mind as it designed its new CDHP programs.

Another critical factor was access to products. The company addressed that by providing a choice of convenient, easy-to-use avenues for getting information and purchasing coverage. Now, people can shop online, by phone, or in person.

BCBSF’s current CDHP portfolio includes high-deductible, limited-benefit, and low-cost products for individuals, families, and businesses. "We’ve built the platforms, products, and pricing structures to meet the needs of South Florida’s diverse population," says Bartel. This population spans a spectrum of ages, lifestyles, and cultures, and boasts one of the highest concentrations of small businesses in the country.

Here’s a brief look at the company’s latest CDHP programs:

GoBlue

GoBlue, an insurance plan with limited benefits, covers physician, dental, lab, and pharmacy services. BCBSF pays a specified amount toward each visit or service, and the customer pays the balance. Customers may go in or out of network, although they save more if they stay in-network. Additionally, there is no lifetime maximum.

FamilyBlue

Introduced October 1, FamilyBlue is BCBSF’s newest CDHP product. It’s not an insurance plan, but a medical discount card that gives users reduced rates on services such as medical, pharmacy, vision, hearing, dental, and vitamins. It also provides navigator and advocacy services to help customers get cost information, make appointments, and set up payment arrangements for large bills.

FamilyBlue is a guaranteed issue card, which means everyone qualifies, regardless of pre-existing conditions. The fee is $19.95 a month for up to six residents in the same household, or $200 a year.

FloridaBlue

FloridaBlue is a network of retail centers, where the environment is both welcoming and helpful. Open six days a week, the centers employ knowledgeable, bilingual staff to assist prospects and customers with their questions and decisions. Free seminars and educational events are scheduled as well.

At present, there are two FloridaBlue stores, located in Jacksonville and Pembroke Pines, and more are in the planning stages.

The Power of the Human Voice

This website is an electronic forum for ideas, comments, and concerns on insurance in general. Visitors to the site can experience everything from rants and rave reviews on services, to suggestions for new products. They may also share their own thoughts and opinions. "The idea behind The Power of the Human Voice, Bartel explains, "is to ‘listen’ to the market and then respond."

"In today’s consumer-driven arena," concludes Bartel, "people should be actively engaged in the insurance-buying process. At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, we’re fully prepared to help."

For more information, visit www.goblueflorida.com, www.familybluefl.com, www.floridablue.com, or www.thepowerofthehumanvoice.com.
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