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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Commits More Than $80 Million to COVID-19 and Hurricane Laura Relief

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana announced today that it will share savings with eligible businesses, individual and Medicare Supplement policyholders in the form of rebates and premium credits.

Posted: Sep 23, 2020 11:17 AM

BATON ROUGE – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana announced today that it will share savings with eligible businesses, individual and Medicare Supplement policyholders in the form of rebates and premium credits.

This shared savings is part of the $80 million the insurer has made available to support its members, employer customers, providers and the general community across Louisiana in hurricane relief and in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.

“2020 has truly been an extraordinary year, especially for those of us in Louisiana. We've had the worst pandemic in over 100 years, the worst economic turndown since the Great Depression and the strongest hurricane to hit the state in more than a century, causing massive destruction and devastation,” said I. Steven Udvarhelyi, M.D., president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana. “Our mission at Blue Cross is to improve the health and lives of Louisianians; that’s why we feel it’s critical that we care for and support our customers, providers and the communities we serve.

Approximately 18,000 insured businesses and 43,000 individuals with Medicare Supplement policies will receive a 15 percent credit from the insurer on their December premiums. The premium credits total $26.7 million.

Another 19,000 individual policyholders who were covered in 2019 under a Blue Cross individual or family PPO plan were sent a rebate check in the mail on Sept. 15. These rebates add up to $1.6 million and are part of the Affordable Care Act, which established a rebate process for returning premiums when medical and quality costs are effectively controlled.

The total Blue Cross will give in rebates and premium credits is $28.3 million.

The rebates and premium credits are in addition to the support that the Blue Cross and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation have provided to the community. More than $52 million in COVID-19 and Hurricane Laura relief has been made available to our customers, healthcare providers and the general public. This support is above and beyond their covered health benefits.

Steps Blue Cross has taken to support customers since March include:

· Waived member cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatment, COVID-19 tests and for in-network telehealth visits.
· Expanded telehealth coverage to in-network providers.
· Increased access to prescription medications by waiving early medication refill limits on prescription medications and encouraging members to use their 90-day retail or mail-order benefit.
· Extended grace periods for customers who could not pay their premiums because of COVID- or Hurricane Laura-related issues.
· Expedited care to members, by waiving prior-authorization requirements for facility-based care for COVID-19.

For providers, Blue Cross has:

· Increased reimbursements to eligible doctors, hospitals and other Louisiana providers.
· Offered bridge funding for providers.
· Issued early payments to providers in our value-based programs.

In response to COVID-19 and Hurricane Laura, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation
has committed $10 million in grants to fund community organizations and nonprofits across the state working to stabilize food access and provide housing and healthcare for Louisiana families and communities.

One reason Blue Cross can share savings is because of the success of its quality improvement programs, like Quality Blue. This program rewards healthcare providers for getting better results for their patients, especially those with chronic conditions.

“Each year, we see improved health and savings from these programs. These savings, combined with a concerted effort to hold down the cost of medicines and services, have resulted in our ability to return savings to eligible policyholders,” said Udvarhelyi. “This year has been difficult for our state, and I’m especially pleased our programs to lower healthcare costs for all are working to benefit our customers in a tangible way.”

Policyholders receiving a rebate or premium credit will receive a letter explaining it in more detail. Members with questions can call the Customer Service number on the back of their ID cards.

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