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SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
The Blues offer consumers a step-by-step enrollment guide at Healthcarereformbasics.com
DETROIT, Feb. 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The way individual consumers purchased health insurance changed for good last October with the opening of the Health Insurance Marketplace, which created an online experience for consumers to compare products and pricing. The Marketplace "storefront" will remain open through March 31, and once it closes consumers will be unable to shop for insurance on the Marketplace until it re-opens on Nov. 15, 2014. Blue Cross is encouraging consumers to select their plans early to avoid a last minute rush that can result in longer wait times to enroll.
"We encourage consumers not to wait until the last minute to shop for individual insurance, and get enrolled in a plan now," said Terry Burke, vice president of individual business for BCBSM. "Have you ever waited until the night before Thanksgiving to go grocery shopping? Or waited until Christmas Eve to start shopping? Stores are overwhelmed and the wait in line can take hours. Likewise, we're anticipating a high volume of marketplace enrollments, likely resulting in very high call volumes between March 10 and March 31. Smart consumers will research the plan options and enroll now."
Nearly half of Americans are aware of the March 31 deadline to buy health insurance, according to Bankrate's latest Health Insurance Pulse survey. While the data shows an increase in public awareness, the same survey reports that one in four believes the final deadline passed on Jan. 1 or that the requirements are no longer in effect.
Just as consumers wouldn't receive a product immediately when ordering online, there is a short time period between enrolling in coverage and when the coverage becomes effective.
In addition to key enrollment deadlines, consumers should be aware of the financial impacts of not enrolling in a plan:
The group most confused about health insurance enrollment deadlines is the 18- to 29- year-old age group known as the 'Young Invincibles.' In an effort to educate this group on the importance of health insurance and key deadlines, nearly 80 organizations have partnered to organize National Youth Enrollment Day on Feb. 15. Blue Cross has a number of resources to help consumers enroll, including:
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.4 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state. For more company information, visit bcbsm.com and MiBluesPerspectives.com.
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