I wanted to put together this Blue Cross Blue Shield medical insurance review because when it comes to purchasing health insurance, especially purchasing it on your own, is a complicated process. If you’re not working in the trenches every day like I am, it is difficult to know what you should be looking for in a medical plan.
When we look at potential medical plans we tend to look at the numbers.
What is sometimes overlooked until the end is what insurance company is offering the plan. After all, aren’t they all the same? It’s like when your car needs gas and there is a gas station on every corner. The gas is the same everywhere, right, so just pick the lowest price?
Unfortunately, that’s not the case with medical insurance. Not all insurance companies are the same.
No matter where you live there is probably a Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) plan nearby. This BCBS review will tell you what you need to know before you buy one of their plans.
What Is Blue Cross Blue Shield?
Blue Cross Blue Shield is a health insurer and third party administrator (TPA). The main thing they are known for is medical insurance, but they offer other lines of coverage such as dental, life, and disability insurance.
The thing that makes BCBS unique versus other health insurers is that it is not one company throughout the country. Each state’s BCBS is different from the other.
There are some coalitions between the states, however. HCSC, for example, operates through BCBS plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Wellmark is BCBS of Iowa and South Dakota. Anthem is a collection of many other BCBS plans.
Although each Blue Cross plan operates as its own entity, they still share networks with each other which makes it seamless when you are in another state. For example, I live in Texas, but my employer is located in Iowa. My plan is a BCBS of Iowa plan, but I still am able to access network doctors from BCBS of Texas.
Benefits of Blue Cross Blue Shield
Quite frankly, Blue Cross Blue Shield is one of the best insurance companies for members. I’m not getting anything from them to say that. They just are. Almost every doctor is in their network, they have top notch customer service, and they are competitively priced.
You can find lower priced plans, but you will give up the large network of BCBS doctors. It might not sound like that big of a deal until you realize that smaller insurers don’t have as many hospitals in their network as BCBS does.
In many locations, especially here in Texas, BCBS is sometimes the only health insurance carrier that offers plans on the ACA Exchanges.
And perhaps the biggest benefit of having a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan is that when you show your card to the kind people at the front desk, they know exactly what to do, and you can be safe knowing that there shouldn’t be any issues in verifying coverage.
Drawbacks of Blue Cross Blue Shield
Whenever you enroll in a BCBS plan you need to make sure of what kind of plan you enroll in. If you enroll in one of their HMO plans, then you may not have out-of-state coverage.
This means that if you go on vacation in another state you won’t have coverage except for emergency rooms (and those aren’t cheap).
It also means that if you have a college student in another state, or you are a college student in a different state from where your parents live, you won’t have insurance coverage.
Don’t wait until you need the insurance to find out your BCBS insurance is no good.
What Does Blue Cross Blue Shield Cover?
I hear this statement a lot: “Such-and-such insurance company doesn’t cover this procedure/medicine.” However, it’s not as simple as that.
Each individual insurance plan covers different procedures and medications. You must make sure that you do your homework before signing up for a plan. They must cover Essential Health Benefits as mandated by ACA, but beyond that, each plan can be different.
Make sure you check out the plan’s drug formulary to know if your medications are covered, and at what price.
If you have your plan through an employer, then there is a good chance that the employer is the one that decides what is covered (other than Essential Health Benefits, which are still required). If you have a specific coverage questions, ask the Human Resources department for clarification and the SBC.
Final Blue Cross Blue Shield Review
If you are thinking about buying a Blue Cross Blue Shield medical plan, you can rest assured that you are purchasing a quality plan. It will have access to as many or more doctors and facilities as any other insurance network, it is familiar to those providers, and it will be fairly priced.
Other than making sure you are comfortable with the restrictions of a BCBS HMO (if you go the HMO route), there isn’t anything to be concerned with.
Where To Buy A Blue Cross Blue Shield Plan
If you are ready to buy a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, you can check out plans and prices here.
I hope this Blue Cross Blue Shield review has been helpful. Good luck!