There has never been a more important time to support our communities and businesses that help them thrive. Between health struggles due to COVID-19 and the economic impacts the pandemic has had on people and businesses, companies throughout Michigan have stepped up to help where they can. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network have been one of those to rise to the challenge.
New solutions for Michigan businesses
As economic challenges grew with more businesses resorting to temporary closures and layoffs, Blue Cross took action. The insurance provider instated changes that allowed extension of coverage for employees and retirees who were temporarily laid off or had reduced hours. Plus, waiting periods for employees who were rehired after a furlough were waived so they could get care right away. Blue Cross even created the COVID-19 Small Group Hotline — a special support program for small businesses impacted by the pandemic.
With the immediate relief people needed in place, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network realized that Michigan’s small and midsize companies needed a long-term solution that would help their bottom line. Now, the company is offering two improved plan options: the BCN HMO Fixed Cost plan and the Blue Elect Plus POS plan.
The BCN HMO Fixed Cost plan allows members to only pay a copay for certain services instead of a deductible or coinsurance. Plus, prescription drug coverage is included, as well as preventive care. With lower health care costs, members can worry less about making ends meet financially and ensure they’re staying healthy.
In keeping with the mission of Blue Cross to make care affordable, the Blue Elect Plus POS plan combines affordability with flexibility for small and large group members. This plan gives members access to the largest HMO network of doctors, hospitals and specialists in Michigan with lower costs when seeing in-network providers.
By offering a wide range of care options, Blue Cross helped remove the access barrier for many Michiganders who otherwise may not be able to see the specialist they need.
Helping communities in need
Many members found themselves under financial stress due to the pandemic. One way that Blue Cross was able to support them was to return more than $21 million to current, under-65 individual plan subscribers. This credit creates much-needed financial flexibility in more than 180,000 Michiganders’ budgets.
Members weren’t the only ones hurting — many others in our Michigan communities still needed help. As part of Blue Cross’ Strengthening the Safety Net program, 47 Michigan clinics were granted awards totaling $866,400 to help them continue to provide free or low-cost medical, dental and mental health care services to uninsured or vulnerable Michigan residents. This treatment covered illnesses related to COVID-19 and treatment for substance abuse disorders.
With personal protective equipment (PPE) in short supply across Michigan, Blue Cross saw another way to help. Alongside the Michigan Dental Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan donated $1 million for the distribution of emergency PPE to support dentists and patients statewide.
To support health and wellness in our communities in a way that still keeps people safe, Blue Cross sponsors local events in the Traverse City area, such as Norte’s National Walk and Bike to School Day. This event encourages everyone in the community to get a healthy dose of exercise by walking or riding bikes to school. Those not attending in-person classes were encouraged to ride around the block or take a break and go for a walk between their online learning sessions.
Blue Cross also serves as a silver-level sponsor of the annual North American Vasa Race, a ski tradition in the Traverse City area.
For Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, helping people is simply a way of life. It’s the insurance provider’s business and philosophy to ensure the people of Michigan have access to the health care they need.
To learn more about how a plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network can help your business, visit bcbsm.com/employers.