With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to impact our health, economy, and our community, the state’s leading health insurer is taking additional steps to support not only its members, but also the well-being of all Floridians.
Florida Blue, the state’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan, continues to make policy adjustments for members, assist hospitals and healthcare providers, and support individuals and non-profits across Florida. The company is working hard to combat the spread of COVID-19 while minimizing barriers to testing and treatment, as well as meet the urgent health and safety needs of our friends and neighbors.
Premium Payment Period Extended
In April, recognizing the financial hardship many are facing due to COVID-19, Florida Blue announced it was giving individual and group customers extra time to pay premiums. Even those whose payment becomes past due or is already late have additional time to make payments through August 1.
$100 Million in health care cost relief to Florida Blue members
To continue supporting members during this difficult time, Florida Blue recently announced $100 million in health care cost relief for its Individual, Fully Insured Employer Group and Medicare Advantage Plan customers. This relief is coming largely from expansion of the popular Florida Blue “Better Strides” rewards programs. Eligible Individual ACA (Obamacare) members can now earn up to $500 in rewards this year by participating in the program’s health and wellness offerings—money that can go towards health care costs. This is a $400 increase over the previous year’s program.
The Better You Strides online wellness program allows members to earn financial rewards for creating a path for health and wellness activities. Topics include managing health conditions, healthy snacking, planning meals, starting exercise programs and improving stress levels. Non-ACA individual members, and many employer group members, are eligible to earn a one-time $300 gift card that can be used for expenses like copays and coinsurance at doctor’s offices, hospitals, optometrists, chiropractors, medical labs, dentists and other approved health care facilities. Members can watch a short video to earn their rewards by logging into their member account.
Affordable options after losing employer-provided health insurance
Florida Blue is here to support the thousands in our community who have lost their jobs or their employer-provided health insurance. COBRA coverage can be expensive, so the company wants to remind everyone that there are affordable options to keep that important coverage. This includes financial assistance that can reduce monthly payments to as low as $0/month. Plans may even include lower costs for doctor’s visits. It’s important to act now because many ‘replacement plans’ are only available for 60 days after losing their employer’s insurance.
COVID-19 Well-Being Assessment Tool
The Florida Blue website, www.floridablue.com now features a COVID-19 Well-Being Assessment tool located in the lower corner of each page. The interactive tool is available to anyone to answer questions about COVID-19, provide testing locations, determine your risk to COVID-19, help you understand your test results and more. It is part of several helpful resources available to all Floridians.
Personalized Florida Blue Center Virtual Support
Locally based neighborhood nurses, community specialists, and sales and service personnel are available to provide personalized virtual support not just to Florida Blue members, but to the public. These specially-trained experts can assist with:
- Questions about COVID-19 and testing
- Financial assistance options to help pay for your health insurance
- Support for those struggling to afford groceries, rent, utilities, and other essentials
- Emotional support if you’re overwhelmed by COVID-19, financial struggles or other concerns
- Finding virtual health care options
- Navigating the health care system
With its Florida Blue centers physically closed due to the pandemic, the staff has moved its personalized from in-person to virtual. This includes a host of virtual health, fitness and health education classes that are free and open to anyone, not just Florida Blue members. To reach a local nurse, social worker, or support consultant, or to find out about a virtual class offering, call the Florida Blue Centers at 877-352-5830 or log onto www.FloridaBlueCenters.com.
No cost bilingual emotional support helpline
Florida Blue continues to offer a 24-hour, no cost emotional support helpline for all Floridians, in partnership with New Directions Behavioral Health. Any Floridian – even if uninsured or insured by another plan – can call 833-848-1762 for support in managing feelings of stress, anxiety, grief or fear related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Counselors cannot provide information on COVID-19 testing or treatment.
To address the critical health and safety needs across our state, Florida Blue has made more than $7 million in community investments since the COVID-19 situation began. In March, the insurer provided an initial $2 million to organizations across the state, and then invested an additional $2.5 million in June, to provide access to testing and health care, food security and other essential needs for Floridians. Additionally, the insurer plans to contribute more than $2.6 million to United Way organizations across Florida.
Florida Blue has also cleared the way to make virtual health easier and less expensive for members, in addition to waiving cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment.
Supporting Hospitals and Healthcare Providers
In addition to working daily to support hospitals and healthcare providers, Florida Blue has stepped up to help with the critical shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including gloves, gowns, N95 respirators and especially face masks (masks). To date, Florida Blue have secured and delivered more than 100,000 masks to hospitals, physicians’ practices, health partners, and for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FHQCs) across Florida.
COVID-19 Resource Center
All Floridians and Florida Blue members can visit www.floridablue.com/COVID19 for the latest information on coronavirus.
Florida Blue members with specific coverage questions can call the phone number on the back of their member ID card or 1-800-352-2583