Member Rights and Responsibilities

Please note that the BlueCHiP for Medicare Core plan does not include Part D prescription drug coverage. Therefore, all references below to prescription drugs and network pharmacies are not relevant to members of this plan.

Our plan must honor your rights as a member of the plan

We must provide information in a way that works for you (in languages other than English, in Braille, in large print, or Spanish)

To get information from us in a way that works for you, please call Customer Service.

Our plan has people and free language interpreter services available to answer questions from non-English speaking members. We can also give you information in Braille, in large print, or other alternate formats if you need it. If you are eligible for Medicare because of a disability, we are required to give you information about the plan's benefits that is accessible and appropriate for you.

If you have any trouble getting information from our plan because of problems related to language or a disability, please call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and tell them that you want to file a complaint. TTY/TDD users call 1-877-486-2048.

We must treat you with fairness and respect at all times

Our plan must obey laws that protect you from discrimination or unfair treatment. We do not discriminate based on a person's race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, age, mental or physical disability, health status, claims experience, medical history, genetic information, evidence of insurability, or geographic location within the service area.

If you want more information or have concerns about discrimination or unfair treatment, please call the Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights 1-800-368-1019 (TTY/TDD 1-800-537-7697) or your local Office for Civil Rights.

If you have a disability and need help with access to care, please call us at Customer Service. If you have a complaint, such as a problem with wheelchair access, Customer Service can help.

We must ensure that you get timely access to your covered services and drugs

As a member of our plan, you have the right to choose a primary care provider (PCP) in the plan's network to provide and arrange for your covered services. Call Customer Service to learn which doctors are accepting new patients. We do not require you to get referrals to go to network providers.

As a plan member, you have the right to get appointments and covered services from the plan's network of providers within a reasonable amount of time. This includes the right to get timely services from specialists when you need that care. You also have the right to get your prescriptions filled or refilled at any of our network pharmacies without long delays.

We must protect the privacy of your personal health information

Federal and state laws protect the privacy of your medical records and personal health information. We protect your personal health information as required by these laws.

  • Your "personal health information" includes the personal information you gave us when you enrolled in this plan as well as your medical records and other medical and health information.
  • The laws that protect your privacy give you rights related to getting information and controlling how your health information is used. We give you a written notice, called a "Notice of Privacy Practice," that tells about these rights and explains how we protect the privacy of your health information.

How do we protect the privacy of your health information?

  • We make sure that unauthorized people don't see or change your records.
  • In most situations, if we give your health information to anyone who isn't providing your care or paying for your care, we are required to get written permission from you first. Written permission can be given by you or by someone you have given legal power to make decisions for you.
  • There are certain exceptions that do not require us to get your written permission first. These exceptions are allowed or required by law.
    • For example, we are required to release health information to government agencies that are checking on quality of care.
    • Because you are a member of our plan through Medicare, we are required to give Medicare your health information including information about your Part D prescription drugs. If Medicare releases your information for research or other uses, this will be done according to Federal statutes and regulations.

You can see the information in your records and know how it has been shared with others

You have the right to look at your medical records held at the plan, and to get a copy of your records. We are allowed to charge you a fee for making copies. You also have the right to ask us to make additions or corrections to your medical records. If you ask us to do this, we will work with your healthcare provider to decide whether the changes should be made.

You have the right to know how your health information has been shared with others for any purposes that are not routine.

We must give you information about the plan, its network of providers, and your covered services

As a member of BlueCHiP for Medicare, you have the right to get several kinds of information from us.

If you want any of the following kinds of information, please call Customer Service:

  • Information about our plan. This includes, for example, information about the plan's financial condition. It also includes information about the number of appeals made by members and the plan's performance ratings, including how it has been rated by plan members and how it compares to other Medicare health plans.
  • Information about our network providers including our network pharmacies. For example, you have the right to get information from us about the qualifications of the providers and pharmacies in our network and how we pay the providers in our network.
  • Information about your coverage and the rules you must follow when using your coverage. For example, what medical services are covered for you, any restrictions to you coverage, and what rules you must follow to get your covered medical services. And to tell you what drugs are covered and explain the rules you must follow and the restrictions to your coverage for certain drugs.
  • Information about why something is not covered and what you can do about it.
    • If a medical service or Part D drug is not covered for you, or if your coverage is restricted in some way, you can ask us for a written explanation. You have the right to this explanation even if you received the medical service or drug from an out-of-network provider or pharmacy.
    • If you are not happy or if you disagree with a decision we make about what medical care or Part D drug is covered for you, you have the right to ask us to change the decision. You can ask us to change the decision by making an appeal.

We must support your right to make decisions about your care

You have the right to know your treatment options and participate in decisions about your health care

You have the right to get full information from your doctors and other health care providers when you go for medical care. Your providers must explain your medical condition and your treatment choices in a way that you can understand.

You also have the right to participate fully in decisions about your health care. To help you make decisions with your doctors about what treatment is best for you, your rights include the following:

  • To know about all of your choices. This means that you have the right to be told about all of the treatment options that are recommended for your condition, no matter what they cost or whether they are covered by our plan. It also includes being told about programs our plan offers to help members manage their medications and use drugs safely.
  • To know about the risks. You have the right to be told about any risks involved in your care. You must be told in advance if any proposed medical care or treatment is part of a research experiment. You always have the choice to refuse any experimental treatments.
  • The right to say "no." You have the right to refuse any recommended treatment. This includes the right to leave a hospital or other medical facility, even if your doctor advises you not to leave. You also have the right to stop taking your medication. Of course, if you refuse treatment or stop taking medication, you accept full responsibility for what happens to your body as a result.
  • To receive an explanation if you are denied coverage for care. You have the right to receive an explanation from us if a provider has denied care that you believe you should receive. To receive this explanation, you will need to ask us for a coverage decision.

You have the right to give instructions about what is to be done if you are not able to make medical decisions for yourself

Sometimes people become unable to make health care decisions for themselves due to accidents or serious illness. You have the right to say what you want to happen if you are in this situation. This means that, if you want to, you can:

  • Fill out a written form to give someone the legal authority to make medical decisions for you if you ever become unable to make decisions for yourself.
  • Give your doctors written instructions about how you want them to handle your medical care if you become unable to make decisions for yourself.

The legal documents that you can use to give your directions in advance in these situations are called "advance directives." There are different types of advance directives and different names for them. Documents called "living will" and "power of attorney for health care" are examples of advance directives.

You have the right to make complaints and to ask us to reconsider decisions we have made

If you have any problems or concerns about your covered services or care, Chapter 9 of the Evidence of Coverage tells what you can do. It gives the details about how to deal with all types of problems and complaints.

You might need to ask our plan to make a coverage decision for you, make an appeal to us to change a coverage decision, or make a complaint. Whatever you do – ask for a coverage decision, make an appeal, or make a complaint – we are required to treat you fairly.

You have the right to get a summary of information about the appeals and complaints that other members have filed against our plan in the past.

What can you do if you believe you are being treated unfairly or your rights are not being respected?

If it is about discrimination, call the Office for Civil Rights

If you believe you have been treated unfairly or your rights have not been respected due to your race, disability, religion, sex, health, ethnicity, creed (beliefs), age, or national origin, you should call the Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights at 1-800-368-1019 or TTY/TDD 1-800-537-7697, or call your local Office for Civil Rights.

Is it about something else?

If you believe you have been treated unfairly or your rights have not been respected, and it's not about discrimination, you can get help dealing with the problem you are having:

  • You can call Customer Service.
  • You can call the State Health Insurance Assistance Program.
  • Or, you can call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

How to get more information about your rights

There are several places where you can get more information about your rights:

  • You can call Customer Service.
  • You can call the State Health Insurance Assistance Program.
  • You can contact Medicare.
    • You can visit the Medicare Web site to read or download the publication "Your Medicare Rights & Protections." (The publication is available at: http://www.medicare.gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/10112.pdf.)
    • Or, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TTY/TDD users should call 1-877-486-2048.

You have some responsibilities as a member of the plan

Get familiar with your covered services and the rules you must follow to get these covered services. Read your Evidence of Coverage booklet to learn what is covered for you and the rules you need to follow to get your covered services.

If you have any other health insurance coverage or prescription drug coverage in addition to our plan, you are required to tell us. Please call Customer Service to let us know.

  • We are required to follow rules set by Medicare to make sure that you are using all of your coverage in combination when you get your covered services from our plan. This is called "coordination of benefits" because it involves coordinating the health and drug benefits you get from our plan with any other health and drug benefits available to you. We'll help you coordinate your benefits.
  • Tell your doctor and other health care providers that you are enrolled in our plan. Show your plan membership card whenever you get your medical care or Part D prescription drugs.
  • Help your doctors and other providers help you by giving them information, asking questions, and following through on your care.
    • To help your doctors and other health providers give you the best care, learn as much as you are able to about your health problems and give them the information they need about you and your health. Follow the treatment plans and instructions that you and your doctors agree upon.
    • Make sure your doctors know all of the drugs you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and supplements.
    • If you have any questions, be sure to ask. Your doctors and other health care providers are supposed to explain things in a way you can understand. If you ask a question and you don't understand the answer you are given, ask again.
  • Be considerate. We expect all our members to respect the rights of other patients. We also expect you to act in a way that helps the smooth running of your doctor's office, hospitals, and other offices.
  • Pay what you owe. As a plan member, you are responsible for these payments:
    • You must pay your plan premiums (if applicable) to continue being a member of our plan.
    • In order to be eligible for our plan, you must have Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. For that reason, some plan members must pay a premium for Medicare Part A and most plan members must pay a premium for Medicare Part B to remain a member of the plan.
    • For most of your medical services or drugs covered by the plan, you must pay your share of the cost when you get the service or drug. This will be a copayment (a fixed amount) or coinsurance (a percentage of the total cost).
    • If you get any medical services or drugs that are not covered by our plan or by other insurance you may have, you must pay the full cost.
  • If you disagree with our decision to deny coverage for a service or drug, you can make an appeal. Please see Chapter 9 of the Evidence of Coverage for information about how to make an appeal.
  • If you are required to pay a late enrollment penalty, you must pay the penalty to remain a member of the plan.
  • If you are required to pay the extra amount for Part D because of your yearly income, you must pay the extra amount directly to the government to remain a member of the plan.
  • Tell us if you move. If you are going to move, it's important to tell us right away. Call Customer Service.
    • If you move outside of our plan service area, you cannot remain a member of our plan. We can help you figure out whether you are moving outside our service area. If you are leaving our service area, you will have a Special Enrollment Period when you can join any Medicare plan available in your new area. We can let you know if we have a plan in your new area.
    • If you move within our service area, we still need to know so we can keep your membership record up to date and know how to contact you.
    • If you move, it is also important to tell Social Security (or the Railroad Retirement Board).
  • Call Customer Service for help if you have questions or concerns. We also welcome any suggestions you may have for improving our plan.

 

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island depends on contract renewal.

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