Aug 20, 2020
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island announces $11 million second wave of medical and dental premium relief for commercial customers and members
Action builds on $13.8 million in medical premium relief Blue Cross announced in June
PROVIDENCE, RI (August 20, 2020) – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) announced today that it will provide an additional $11 million in medical and dental premium relief to its fully insured large group and small group customers, as well as individuals who purchase insurance through BCBSRI or HealthSource RI. The announcement follows the $13.8 million medical premium relief and 25 percent dental premium credit that BCBSRI announced in June.
The company is offering additional medical and dental premium relief as the result of lower-than-expected healthcare costs during the COVID-19 pandemic to date. Subject to approval by the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner, premium relief will range from 10 to 30 percent (depending on market segment) for employers and members with premium relief being provided for one month in the fourth quarter of 2020.
“Although the use of healthcare services appears to be returning to normal, pre-pandemic levels, we saw a significant financial impact through early summer as our members chose to defer elective procedures and routine doctor visits,” said Kim Keck, BCBSRI president and CEO. “Recognizing that many employers and members continue to experience tremendous economic uncertainty, we believe that offering additional premium relief is a meaningful way to help them right now.”
The action announced today follows a number of others BCBSRI has taken to increase and ease access to care for its members in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They include:
- Temporarily expanding a number of benefits across most Medicare Advantage plans, including $0 copays for additional healthcare providers and services, as well as for many prescription drugs such as most insulin, most inhalers, dementia drugs, Part B infusion and injection drugs, and all Tier 1 drugs.
- Providing a 10 percent medical premium credit for two months for fully insured large group and small group employers, as well as individuals who purchase insurance through BCBSRI or HealthSource RI.
- Providing a 25 percent dental premium credit for fully insured customers and extending teledentistry services with in-network dentists through December 31, 2020.
- Extending coverage, through December 31, 2020, of medically appropriate telehealth services for primary care, behavioral healthcare or specialist care with no member cost share. (For commercial members.)
- Waiving member cost sharing for doctors’ visits, emergency room visits or inpatient care related to COVID-19.
- Waiving member copays and cost sharing for diagnostic testing related to COVID-19 consistent with CDC guidelines.
- Waiving prior authorization and referral requirements for testing and medically appropriate treatment of COVID-19.
For more information about COVID-19-related coverage/policy changes, general resources and what BCBSRI is doing in the community, please visit BCBSRI’s COVID-19 resource center.