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Agent Sales News
iPad guide for use with consumers now available in Spanish
March 10, 2014
The Florida Blue Insurance Guide for iPad users has gone multilingual: a free Spanish language version is now available.
The interactive app is designed to be used in one-on-one settings primarily with individuals under 65. Because thousands of Floridians will seek information about health care coverage options – many of whom have little or no experience with or knowledge of health insurance – content is focused on the basics of health care reform and the impacts of the new mandate. By answering a few simple questions, the app can estimate the federal subsidy amount, if any, your clients may qualify for – valuable information for conversations with your clients about their needs and budget.
If you already have the latest version of the app, the Spanish version is an additional capability and does not require the download of a new app, simply an update. If not, the app is available through the Apple App Store. Use this valuable tool to help educate Spanish-speaking individual under 65 clients about health care reform, its impacts and their health plan options.
How to get the app
- Open the Apple App Store's search feature and enter the keyword “Florida Blue.”
- Choose and download the Florida Blue Insurance Guide.
- When opening the app for the first time, you will need to enter a security code. Refer to Agent Bulletin #A14-033. You will only have to enter the security code once.
- Please do not share this code with anyone who is not a Florida Blue appointed or contracted agent.
How to access Spanish language on the app
To view the Spanish version, select the menu, and click on the settings wheel (located at the lower right of the drop-down menu), then select Spanish language. After selecting Spanish, the app will close to update. Once the app is reopended, all content will be displayed in Spanish.
Read more about the app in Agent Bulletin #A13-245.
Improve your presentations and speak without slides
March 10, 2014
If you're often called on to speak to groups of customers or prospects you probably use slides, a whiteboard or other kind of visual aid to support your message.
Not so fast, Nick Morgan, a speaking coach and author of the forthcoming Power Cues tells Fast Company. Human beings aren't good multi-taskers. “Showing people slides demands that an audience multi-task,” Morgan says. By asking them to read what's on the slide and trying to take the speaker's message, "it actually interferes with retention of the important kind of information we really need to get from a speech," he explains.
Instead of relying on slides as a crutch, he suggests a four-step approach to effective presentations.
- Start with a problem-solution approach to a topic you're passionate about.
- Whittle your message down to its bare essence by limiting the points you make to the ones that are most relevant.
- Make your case more compelling by framing it as a story, not just a series of facts or instructions.
- Finally, enlist friends and colleagues to practice your presentation. Use technology to record, review and refine.
Speaking without visual aids might seem counterintuitive, and it might feel a little like performing on a high wire without a net, he admits. After all, having a visual to fall back on can mitigate your fear. But with practice, you can optimize your presentations without slides. And that helps you optimize your sales results.
Source: Fast Company
New Medicare wellness program for members over 65
March 03, 2014
A new Florida Blue Medicare wellness program for mature adults over 65 started in February.
Focused specifically on Medicare beneficiaries, members and non-members alike can take advantage of free health-related workshops, fitness classes and wellness seminars designed to their specific needs.
The programs are available at the 11 flagship Florida Blue Centers and individuals can register online or by calling the centers.
- Weekly fitness classes including yoga, Tai Chi and Zumba
- Fall prevention series
- Healthy eating program to boost physical activity
- Wellness seminars focused on setting wellness goals, medication management, alcohol awareness, depression awareness and STD/HIV prevention
To encourage participation, BlueMedicare HMO members were mailed a program brochure in late February and BlueMedicare PPO members will be emailed information in late March. Medicare collaborative physician groups and agents will also receive collateral to distribute.
Health insurance websites welcoming more “invincibles” and other visitors
March 03, 2014
Online health insurance exchanges are staging a comeback––especially among younger, healthier consumers. According to a Commonwealth Fund survey, the number of insurance-eligible Americans visiting online health insurance exchanges surged from 17 to 24 percent between October 31 and December 31, 2013.
The tracking survey, highlighted in an article in Kaiser Health News, examined site visitor data for healthcare.gov as well as sites operated by 14 states and the District of Columbia. Significantly, the “young invincible” segment (those age 19 to 24) accounted for 41 percent of total visitors to marketplace sites by year-end.
“It’s a striking finding,” said Sara Collins, lead author and vice president for the Health Care Coverage and Access program at The Commonwealth Fund. “That’s good news for the health of risk pools” because participation by youthful, usually healthier people helps hold down insurers’ overall health care costs.
Additional analysis showed that 77 percent of adults who visited the health insurance exchanges said they were in excellent, very good, or good health. The survey included a nationally representative sample of 622 adults potentially eligible for the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s new coverage options.
Source: Kaiser Health News
Insureds use more preventive services––just as likely to adopt risky habits
February 24, 2014
Americans with health insurance are more likely than the uninsured to use preventive services such as flu shots and health screenings, according to a new study.
They are no more likely, however, to take health risks such as smoking.
That may come as a surprise to observers who believe insurance coverage causes a rise in risk-taking, according to Anthony Jerant, a professor at the University of California, Davis. Jerant co-authored a study that appeared in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. His findings are discussed in an article published in HealthDay.
Tracing the link between insurance and risk taking to the early days of property insurance, Jerant notes that people with fire insurance policies became less diligent about managing fire hazards. But he found no such link in the health care industry.
“Health care is different,” he said. “Someone might not care if their insured warehouse burns down, but most people want desperately to avoid illness.”
Jerant’s study found that people with health insurance used more preventive care services than those who were uninsured. He also found that “[health] insurance status had no effect on risky behaviors such as smoking, weight gain and not using a seat belt,” according to the article.
The implications for health insurance agents are significant. For consumers entering the health insurance market for the first time, the findings underscore an important message: Simply by being insured, a consumer is more likely to use preventive services—and may be less likely to need medical care.
GeoBlue worldwide coverage now available for students and faculty
February 24, 2014
New short- and long-term individual health insurance plans and services for students and faculty are now available through Florida Blue.
The GeoBlue Navigator plan offers worldwide medical coverage for international students and faculty inside and outside the U.S.—without the typical limits, eligibility conditions and benefit exclusions common among traditional plans. The Navigator combines these benefits with concierge-level medical assistance and easy access to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield provider network in all 50 states. Other benefits include:
- A range of deductibles and rates
- Unlimited annual and lifetime medical maximum
- No deductible for office visits and doctors
- No waiting period or sublimit for preventive services
- No precertification penalty for inpatient or outpatient care
- Coverage for pre-existing conditions with creditable coverage (prior HTH student plans qualify)
- Coverage for sports or terrorism-related injuries
- Access to elite providers in over 180 countries outside the U.S.
For students, or those who travel for pleasure, missionary or business purposes, the GeoBlue Voyager plan provides up to $1 million in medical coverage while temporarily away from home. Other benefits include:
- A choice of medical limits and deductibles
- Medical evacuation, mental health, prescription and accidental death and dismemberment
- No precertification penalty for inpatient or outpatient care
- Coverage for terrorism-related injuries
- Access to elite providers in over 180 countries outside the U.S.
Pre-existing conditions coverage is also available in combination with an insured’s primary health plan.
For more details on the new plans, download the GeoBlue brochures.
Be thankful for customers that admit dissatisfaction
February 17, 2014
When dissatisfied customers make the effort to complain to you directly, they’re doing you a favor. In an article published in Business 2 Community, Nunzio Falco Simeone notes that 96 percent of unhappy customers don’t bother to voice a complaint—and the vast majority of them, 91 percent, never return.
Those facts alone would be bad enough for insurance agents, but what magnifies the impact is that most unhappy customers vent their frustrations, often unfairly, on social media. That’s why it’s a smart strategy to encourage people to come to you with complaints. Successfully resolving a complaint can turn the same previously dissatisfied customer into a vocal supporter of your agency—someone who’s likely to tell between four and six others about their positive experience.
When confronted with a dissatisfied customer, what are the best strategies for effective resolution? Simeone offers these tips:
- Stay calm and polite, listening with understanding and kindness. Never take business complaints personally, because they’re not directed at you. They’re directed at your business.
- Listen actively and carefully. Check your assumptions and make sure the solution you intend to propose is one that the customer will view as an improvement.
- Take full responsibility for resolving the issue, even if you think the customer is at fault.
- Be thankful. View the interaction as the opportunity it is—to turn a negative into a positive.
For agents, the message is clear: re-program your thinking about unhappy customer. Because when you handle their issues constructively, they just might turn out to be among the best customers you have.
Agreement with Mayo means one cost for knee replacement patients
February 17, 2014
Under a bundled payment agreement with Mayo Clinic, many Florida Blue members requiring total or partial knee replacement can take advantage of seamless flat rates. Entering its second year, the agreement is being hailed as a win-win-win that affects patients, the Mayo Clinic and Florida Blue.
- For many patients who need the surgery, bundling the individual services means the procedures can be performed for one cost, which is less than the cost of the same services when billed separately.
- For the provider, the agreement gives patients one more reason to choose Mayo facilities, which increases utilization of resources and exposes more patients to Mayo’s expertise.
- For Florida Blue, the agreement streamlines accounting requirements, underscores the company’s commitment to efficient claims processing, adds value to employers using Florida Blue, and promotes better health outcomes among individual members.
This short video, explaining the benefits of the agreement, can be shared with employers and members.
The bundled payment option is not available to Florida Blue members with coverage under Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplemental, Go Blue, Cover Florida non-catastrophic plan, or self-insured groups that have declined to participate in the program.
New Provider Rating Tool Drives Sales
February 10, 2014
Adding to its innovative ways to add value, Florida Blue recently launched a new online rating system to its web-based provider directory—a capability that creates a powerful incentive for prospects to choose Florida Blue over competitors.
Members are invited to use the new rating tool to rate primary care physicians, specialists, hospitals, pharmacies, dentists and other providers on a wide range of categories, including:
- ease of making appointments
- helpfulness and courtesy of staff
- communication with the provider
- wait time
- condition of the facility
- overall satisfaction
The tool allows for numerical ratings as well as written comments, which will be reviewed to ensure compliance with Florida Blue’s conditions of use. Members can use the rating tool to share their provider experiences with other members and as a way to research providers they’re considering using.
Agents can promote the rating tool as another feature that differentiates Florida Blue and supports its messaging with respect to transparency, innovation, customer service, and empowering members to make informed health care decisions.
Help Your Clients Understand Health Insurance Terms
February 10, 2014
The health care landscape can be confusing. Rules and regulations seem to be endlessly shifting.
Nearly three-fourths (74 percent) of workers “sometimes or never” understand everything covered by their insurance policy today. And, with the trend of consumer-driven health care on the rise, members are expected to take a more hands-on approach in selecting their health benefits options.
Knowing insurance jargon is crucial, especially during open enrollment season, in order to read the literature, to understand benefits options available and to make informed decisions about health insurance.
While it’s a small step, you can start helping your clients and their employees by educating them about basic, yet essential, health insurance terms. As a guide, feel free to distribute this list of health insurance terminology with definitions any non-expert can understand.
For customer acquisition, email beats social media
February 03, 2014
As competition in the health care insurance market heats up, agents might be considering allocating more resources to social media like Facebook and Twitter. Don’t do it, warns Andrew Paul, a 15-year veteran of the email marketing industry. In an article for Business2Community, he urges marketers to stick with well-executed email campaigns instead.
Paul cites research that shows acquisition via email has grown by 400 percent over the last four years, accounting for seven percent of all new customer acquisitions currently. Email consistently outperforms social media as a driver of acquisition, he adds, with Facebook and Twitter lagging far behind. Other recommendations for boosting acquisition:
Marketers should optimize their acquisition emails for all media, particularly mobile platforms.
- Organic SEO and insightful blogging remain core result drivers.
- A proven back-to-basics approach should include under-promising and over-delivering.
Not that social media are worthless, Paul says. They’re not, but they’re best used in a supporting role. Bottom line, if your new customer acquisition strategy includes a solid email component, stick with it and make tweaks as appropriate to squeeze out every last lead. If you’ve been sinking significant acquisition resources into social media, re-evaluate based on results. You’ll probably want to beef up your email budget instead.
Florida Blue website enhancements benefit agents
February 03, 2014
Florida Blue recently introduced improvements to five of the most highly used pages on the company’s outward-facing website, floridablue.com. Many of the enhancements have particular relevance for agents, including:
- Better distinction between the home page and “Agents” page
- Redesigned “Agents” landing page displays the most frequently used links within a new overall display, which includes:
- Direct log in to accessBlue
- Quick Links
- Agent Sales News
- Sales Offices
- Products & Plans
- Agents Tool Box
- Latest News Bulletins
- Live Twitter Feed
The company also made changes to improve navigation and add value to the user experience.
- Live feeds to Florida Blue’s social websites—Facebook, Twitter and YouTube—bring fresh content daily to visitors.
- Optimized for use on tablets, representing a significant step toward meeting Florida Blue’s overall global site strategy.
- A new 508-compliant website for visually impaired site visitors is accessible from the header of the entire website.
To see what’s new, go to floridablue.com and look for the link to the “Agents” page on the right hand side.
Hispanic Facebook page signals aggressive approach to key market
January 27, 2014
Florida Blue Familia -- Florida Blue’s page for Spanish-speaking consumers -- is now on Facebook.
“Research shows 12.4 percent of Facebook’s U.S. audience is Hispanic, and one out of every five minutes spent on mobile is on Facebook,” said Annie Erstling, senior director, emerging media, for Florida Blue. “Florida Blue Familia is an important way to engage with the Hispanic community and illustrate how they can count on us for affordable products, personal support and educational resources in their own language.”
As part of its efforts to connect and engage with Hispanic consumers, the company’s new page features enhanced, culturally-relevant messaging. Other “social” communications being implemented in 2014 include:
- The addition of Hispanic cultural trends, topics and holidays on the @FLBlue Twitter profile (combination of English and Spanish content).
- The launch of a proprietary Facebook application celebrating Hispanic culture and cuisine.
- Communication with top Hispanic online influencers throughout the state.
- A “tweet chat” in January to further promote Florida Blue as the preferred health care option for Florida Hispanics.
- Hosting Florida Blue’s first-ever Hispanic blogger and influencer summit in first quarter, to encourage enrollment in Florida Blue plans before the March 31 deadline.
Focus on wellness: Penalties becoming commonplace in wellness programs
January 27, 2014
While more and more companies are stepping up campaigns to encourage exercise and healthy diets, many are finding that penalties are possibly the best prescription for wellness success.
But what works better—financial incentives or penalties?
According to a recent survey by Towers Watson, seven in ten U.S. companies say that developing a workplace culture where employees are responsible for their health is necessary. Employers are increasing use of financial incentives, specifically penalties and outcome-based incentives, to improve health outcomes.
Next year, nearly 40 percent of American companies will use penalties — such as premium and deductible increases for individuals who don’t complete certain health management activities.
But while employers institute wellness programs to comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, they might run afoul of other federal laws, notes Susan Lessack, a partner at law firm Pepper Hamilton. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has yet to issue any guidance under the Americans with Disabilities Act on whether, and to what extent, participation rewards — or penalties for non-participation — are lawful.
Outcome-based incentives that reward or penalize employees based on tobacco use will grow from 54 percent next year to 71 percent. Rewards or penalties for other biometric outcomes, such as body mass index, blood pressure or cholesterol level, will jump dramatically from about a quarter in 2014 to 68 percent.
Health care incentive expert Francois de Brantes says most individuals feel losses greater than they appreciate gains. A good example, he says, is the industry’s reaction to the wide availability of generic prescriptions in the 1990s. “The average clients wanted brand-name drugs, and the shift rate to a generic substitute was about 30 percent,” he said. “Now, there is a plan design that, if there is a generic substitute, the plan member must pay the difference beyond the cost of the generic. Once that was instituted and the penalty was phenomenally high, the shift rate was suddenly 90 percent.”
But companies that have moved forward with financial penalties to encourage participation have felt the backlash.
In July, Pennsylvania State University told its employees and their spouses that they’d face a $100 monthly surcharge unless they completed a biometric screening and an online wellness profile. They also had to certify they’ve had — or planned to have — a physical. Penn State stressed it wouldn’t have access to the health screening results.
Cincinnati-based Western and Southern Financial charges health-care-premium surcharges to employees with high body mass indices. Midwestern hospital chain Indiana University Health, formerly Clarian Health, announced several years ago that it would deduct money from employees’ paychecks for unhealthy behavior, such as being overweight.
In all cases, employees have protested — but that’s a good sign, de Brantes says.
“You can give the $50 reward or a membership to the gym, and it will attract those who wanted to do it anyway and see it as free money,” he says. “The reason we’re hearing so much screaming about this is that it is going to force people to change a behavior, or pay the price, and they resent that. But in the end, compliance toward the desired behavior is far greater.”
Studies published by the Association of Psychological Science found that employees felt threatened by wellness programs with penalties, and preferred incentive-based policies. But both are becoming increasingly widespread, partially because the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act offers greater incentives for healthy employees.
While more organizations are rewarding rather than punishing, that could begin to change, says Roy Buchinsky, director of wellness for University Hospitals in Cleveland. “If you can prevent your employees from requiring care, you can save money,” he said. “They will do what they need to for people who are less motivated, and that may mean lighting a fire underneath them.”
PPO dental information available on floridablue.com
January 20, 2014
Did you know members with PPO dental plans can access both health and dental information, or dental-only information online, 24/7?
Just follow these simple steps:
- Go to floridablue.com and click Login.
- Once logged in, next to Member #, click the dropdown box and select your dental policy. Click GO.
- Click Claims & Benefits.
Once your Account Summary displays, click the Coverage tab to see your benefits; click the Claims & Deductibles tab to view your claims.
Members can also get eligibility and benefit information, find answers to frequently asked questions, see maximum/deductible details, review procedure history or find a dentist.
4 ways to keep your marketing materials current
January 20, 2014
If you hand out marketing materials at trade shows, networking events or conferences, you know what a pain it is when they’re outdated. And with technology changing at the speed of light, your product or service offerings may be changing pretty quickly too.
How do you keep your marketing materials up to date without going over budget?
Print on demand
Whether you physically print your marketing materials yourself or outsource the design and printing to a company, don’t print more than you can use for a given event or time period.
Marketing materials ideal for smaller print runs include:
- Business cards
- Media kits
Ask yourself what the maximum number of any item you will need for an event is. Printing fewer now means you can make changes next time, then print a new batch.
Create easily modified documents
If you hand out the same flier at every event, you can leave it as-is so you can use it for multiple events. For a more custom piece, it’s easy to change out the event name on the document without modifying your marketing copy. Don’t reinvent the wheel every time you need marketing materials. Reuse what you’ve got and update your files for each event.
Get access to your native art files
Even if you’re not a graphic designer, you need easy access to your art files––in every format possible. Even if your designer moves to Tahiti, if you have the files, a new designer can make modifications without redesigning and charging you for it.
Ask for files in these formats:
- RAW (if you have photos)
Making sure you get a copy of your files at the completion of each project means you’ll be able to use them in future projects without having to track down a graphic artist you may have worked with just once.
Review materials regularly
Make a point of reviewing your materials every quarter so you have plenty of time to keep them updated and printed.
Review the materials for grammatical errors. Have co-workers read through the documents, too. The more eyes reviewing your materials, the less chance you’ll miss an error that might be printed on hundreds or even thousands of fliers and brochures.
Marketing materials are often the first impression people have of your brand. Take the time to make sure they’re always up to date, professional and error-free.
Better You from Blue proves wellness programs work
January 13, 2014
In the Affordable Care Act age, are employer-based wellness programs still worth the trouble and expense? You betcha, according to Jim Pschok, CEO and founder of Cleveland-based Bravo Wellness. In fact, they’re a powerful selling point.
The math is inescapable. In an article published in BenefitsPro, Pschok notes that three quarters of America’s medical spending goes toward lifestyle-related chronic diseases—which are among the most highly responsive to wellness programs. As an example, according to Pschok, obese employees alone can cost employers more than $1,100 every year in incremental health care-related expenses.
In contrast, he notes, instead of super-sizing the cost of employee health care, a thoughtfully designed wellness program can “typically save employers $100 to $120 per employee per year.” The article goes on to say “there’s no doubt [wellness programs] help reduce health care claims and, consequently, spending… In one of the more dramatic cases, one client saw a 15 percent drop in claims costs.”
Here in Florida, a similar pattern is emerging. Florida Blue’s award-winning health promotion and worksite wellness program, Better You from Blue, has skyrocketed to become the state’s leading program in its class. Among the program’s achievements:
- Through the first three quarters of 2013, the program completed onsite health fairs for 374 large group employers, performed over 52,000 health assessments, and identified 1,693 employees with critical values.
- Better You from Blue scored a perfect 100 in its reaccreditation by the National Commission on Quality Assurance.
- Florida Blue members give Better You from Blue their highest member satisfaction rating, with over 97% scoring it as excellent or good.
- In consultation with Better You from Blue, the Florida Blue employee group wellness program has earned numerous industry awards, including American Cancer Society CEO Cancer Gold Standard Award; the American Heart Association’s Fit Friendly Gold Award; and the First Coast Worksite Wellness Council’s Jacksonville Healthiest 100 Gold Award.
- The program’s success played a key role in attracting a four-year grant to Florida Blue from the Centers for Disease Control. Awarded through the American Health Insurance Plans, the grant funds diabetes prevention programs.
These impressive results underscore the same message: Whether you’re a corporate decision-maker looking to keep a lid on employee costs, or you’re a worker looking to achieve a better quality of life, workplace-based wellness programs work.
For more information on how Better You from Blue can help your clients—and their employees—achieve better results, contact your sales representative.
Florida Blue 2014 holiday schedule
January 13, 2014
This year, Florida Blue will be closed on the following holidays. Agents will be notified in advance of any special agent service center hours.
- New Year’s Day, Wednesday, Jan. 1
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 20 (observed)
- Memorial Day Monday, May 26
- Independence Day, Friday, July 4
- Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 1
- Thanksgiving holidays, Thursday-Friday, Nov. 27-28
- Christmas holidays, Thursday-Friday, Dec. 25-26
Please be sure to mark your calendars!
The top 20 most expensive hospital stays
January 06, 2014
Septicemia—defined by the National Library of Medicine as “a serious, life-threatening infection that gets worse very quickly”—is the costliest inpatient medical condition in the U.S.
That’s according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which calculated total inpatient U.S. medical costs for 2011 and ranked the top 20 in terms of cost:
- Septicemia (except in labor) — $20.3 billion
- Osteoarthritis — $14.8 billion
- Complication of device, implant or graft — $12.9 billion
- Liveborn (general childbirth) — $12.4 billion
- Heart attack — $11.5 billion
- Spondylosis, intervertebral disc disorders, other back problems — $11.2 billion
- Pneumonia (except caused by tuberculosis and STDs) — $10.6 billion
- Congestive heart failure — $10.5 billion
- Coronary atherosclerosis — $10.4 billion
- Adult respiratory failure — $8.7 billion
- Acute cerebrovascular disease — $8.4 billion
- Cardiac dysrhythmias — $7.6 billion
- Complications of surgical procedures or medical care — $6.9 billion
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and bronchiectasis — $5.7 billion
- Rehab care, fitting of prostheses and adjustment of devices — $5.5 billion
- Diabetes mellitus with complications — $5.4 billion
- Biliary tract disease — $5.1 billion
- Hip fractures — $4.9 billion
- Mood disorders — $4.8 billion
- Acute and unspecified renal failure — $4.7 billion
The agency reported that total cost of hospital stays in 2011was $387 billion, and reported that Medicare and Medicaid paid 63 percent of that total, or $242.9 billion. Commercial insurers covered 29 percent, or $112.5 billion, while the remaining $17.1 billion was labeled “uninsured hospitalizations.”
Florida Blue launches new online store
January 06, 2014
Florida Blue recently launched its latest innovation in health and wellness. Florida Blue Health Shop is a new online store powered by GuideWell that offers health-related products from allergy relief to high-tech fitness gadgets.
Florida Blue Health Shop gives members a convenient way to help improve their overall wellness and fitness goals. Along with other cutting-edge services such as Florida Blue Centers, medical cost comparison tools, care consultants, and personal health assessments after a consultation with one of our nurses, Florida Blue Health Shop brings a new level of health amenities to the health insurance industry.
Here’s how it works
Let’s say a member gets a personal health assessment and discovers his BMI is above normal, and he needs to lose some weight. He can go online to the new Florida Blue Health Shop and buy a Fitbit wireless activity tracker and a Wi-Fi Smart Scale to help him meet his desired weight goal.
The member can take advantage of all the resources available to him through Florida Blue. He can talk with a care consultant at a Florida Blue Center; get a free personal health assessment; learn what lifestyle changes he needs to make; and can go online to purchase what he needs to track his progress and meet his goals.
Florida Blue Health Shop features three shops offering trusted national brands such as Sundown Naturals® supplements and vitamins and Nicorette® gum and lozenges to stop smoking.
Members can browse the shops for:
- Wellness – products to promote better sleep, weight loss, healthier eating, and quitting smoking
- Vitamins and Supplements – products to complement a healthy diet and active lifestyle
- Symptom Relief – products to help manage high blood pressure, arthritis, allergies, and other health conditions
Members will find online shopping easy, with organized categories and convenient home delivery, all at regular retail prices.
Browse Florida Blue Health Shop.
Florida Blue Corporate Holiday Schedule
December 23, 2013
Florida Blue corporate offices will be closed on the following days:
- December 24 and 25: Christmas
- January 1: New Years Day
Agents will be notified in advance of any special agent service center hours. Agent News articles will resume posting after the New Year.
Health insurance: top issue for small business owners
December 16, 2013
What’s on the mind of the small-to-medium sized business owner for 2014? Health insurance coverage.
A study by Principal Financial indicates that business owners are fairly optimistic about 2014, but concerned about health insurance. In fact, 36 percent cited health care costs or health care reform as the number one issue that will affect their business next year. The impact of economic growth on their business was second.
Three-quarters of the business owners reported that they completely understand or understand some parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Asked what actions they were planning to take as the ACA kicks in, here are some of the responses:
- Take no action: 17 percent
- Don’t know what action they will take: 20 percent
- Plan to keep their workforce under 50 employees: 22 percent
- Will start offering health care benefits: 8 percent
The research revealed that about a third of the business owners are feeling optimistic about business conditions overall for 2014, and 55 percent said they thought their financials would be better a year from now as the economy continues to rebound.
While last year 42 percent planned to add to their staff, now, just 35 percent see themselves hiring in the next year.
Florida Blue offers international travel plans for individuals
December 16, 2013
New health insurance plans and services for individual expatriates and short-term international leisure and business travelers are now available. Florida Blue now provides new GeoBlue international plans where individuals can access trusted doctors and hospitals in over 190 countries, in addition to the complete BlueCard network of U.S. doctors and hospitals.
The new plans provide a variety of international medical assistance services and information accessed via mobile devices, not offered through traditional domestic health insurance plans.
The GeoBlue app, currently available for iPhone and iPad, and coming soon for Android devices, allows for:
- Appointment scheduling with contracted international doctors and facilities, with no out-of-pocket costs
- Outpatient care coordination including chronic conditions and special needs
- Inpatient case management and emergency evacuation
- Online and mobile global tools to find carefully selected providers and brand name medication equivalents
- Translation of medical terms and phrases, and the ability to confirm benefit eligibility
Introduced in 2011, customizable GeoBlue products are also available for groups: GeoBlue Expat, long-term coverage, and GeoBlue Traveler, short-term supplemental blanket coverage.
GeoBlue health plans meet U.S. requirements including product benefit mandates and important consumer protections regarding policy language, claims payment and appeals.
Individual products are available online at geobluetravelinsurance.com and through selected insurance brokers, and are made available in cooperation with local Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.
The customizable GeoBlue brochure is available on accessBlue.
Florida Blue keeps providers informed on health care reform
December 09, 2013
To help providers stay informed about health care reform, Florida Blue has implemented an intensive communications plan. Through bulletins, newsletters, videos, emails, events, web postings and professional relations, Florida Blue is keeping providers in the know.
Providers in the Florida Blue network can go to floridabluehealthcarereform.com for details about the insurance marketplace, timelines showing when changes take effect, access to patient coverage and benefits, and answers to frequently asked questions.
Recently, providers received information regarding network participation, preventive services, coverage for contraceptives and enrollment and billing verification.
Additional communication tactics are planned for 2014.
1.6M in Florida eligible for tax credits
December 09, 2013
Almost 1.6 million Floridians qualify for subsidized premiums for 2014 on the Health Insurance Marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (Kaiser).
A separate study from McKinsey & Co. shows that 20 to 25 percent of uninsured Floridians should be eligible for a plan with no premium, after discounts are taken. Nationally, the study estimates that 6 to 7 million could qualify for zero-premium bronze plans.
The Kaiser study estimates that altogether 29 million Americans could eventually look for coverage on the federal Marketplace, although only a fraction of them are expected to sign up for 2014. Of those expected to sign up there at some point, Kaiser estimates that 12 million would buy coverage without the benefit of tax credits.
Those who are expected to use the Marketplace are mostly in two groups: the uninsured and those who have been buying individual or family policies because they don't have access to good group plans.
The Kaiser analysis concluded that just three states––Texas, California and Florida––account for a third of those who qualify for tax credits, about 5.5 million.
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