Blues plans: 3 steps to boost exchange enrollment


Blue Cross Blue Shield plans across the country are taking a wide range of steps to ensure they sign up a large number of consumers this upcoming enrollment period, reported AIS Health.

As insurers make their final preparations before the online marketplaces open to consumers next week, Blues plans hope to maintain their strong exchange presence. In fact, Blues plans owned by WellPoint were among the most popular policies chosen by exchange shoppers last year, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

1. Forming alliances: Many Blues plans are partnering with other organizations to help expand their marketing and outreach efforts. For example, Health Care Services Corp., which owns several Blues plans, is pairing up with insurance giant State Farm to sell exchange policies. That means more than 3,300 State Farm agents will be selling Blue Cross plans in five states. "One of the goals of the Affordable Care Act is to reach the uninsured. But not all uninsured people are in large urban areas," HCSC spokesman Greg Thompson told AIS Health. "State Farm has storefronts throughout the country. It's a good way to broaden our reach."

And Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield is joining with Goodwill Industries to host temporary enrollment centers, which will be staffed with licensed agents available for education and assistance, throughout the state during open enrollment.  

2. Participating in community events: Other Blues plans will participate in community events to promote exchange enrollment. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, for example, is staffing "a mobile recreational vehicle" at community events to coach the public on available plans. The insurer's mobile unit has already been at NASCAR and other sporting events as well as community gatherings throughout the state. It will also be appearing at ethnic festivals, church events and markets in Latino neighborhoods, AIS Health noted.

3. Boosting call centers: To help handle consumers' questions about exchanges, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City will employ 80 representatives, up from 52 last year, in its call centers. "We had a hard time keeping up with call volume last year, and this year it will be higher with current customers and prospects," Ron Rowe, vice president of sales at the Kansas City Blues plan, told AIS Health.

Meanwhile, Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia is tripling its call center staff and doubling its customer service representatives. And after last year's enrollment period, the insurer has been focusing on educating consumers about the ACA, as well as what health insurance is and how to best use it, Brian Lobley, IBC's senior vice president of Marketing & Consumer Business, told FierceHealthPayer in a previous interview. 

To learn more:
- read the AIS Health article

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