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Blue Shield of California Meeting with Top Individual and Family Brokers

by John Hansen

On May 3-4, 2016, Blue Shield leadership including two vice presidents met with 25 of California’s top agents to thank them for their sales, share industry insights and to receive input. The meetings consisted of a Tuesday night meet and greet and Wednesday morning brainstorm session. On Wednesday morning, the dialogue went on for over four hours.

Strong Agent-Carrier Relationship

Blue Shield of California has prided itself in not only being a non-profit health insurance carrier, but also in being “broker-friendly”. Brokers were very happy about Blue Shield products, networks, agent support and commissions.

In 2016, Blue Shield will pay out commissions to agents in the amount of $90 million. Plus, they will pay out $8 million in bonuses. Top leaders at Blue Shield say, “We’re in!” when it comes to supporting brokers.

Billing Problems with Blue Shield of California

The chief concern brokers brought up was related to billing problems. Agents said they often followed up with customers who were listed by Blue Shield as non-pays and found that they had already paid. This resulted in wasting agents’ time and in frustrating customers.

Blue Shield of California representatives were very receptive to this input. They admitted the failings of their billing department. They also said that Covered California’s 90 day grace period has been a nightmare for them with regards to staying on top of billing issues.

90 Day Grace Period Causing Billing Problems

Apparently, many who have been insured on exchange plans through the California Marketplace have been abusing the 90 day grace period and waiting until the last minute to pay premiums. Blue Shield found that many of these members knew about the 90 day grace period and were determined to take full advantage, even to the point of continually being 2 ½ months late on their premiums.

Recent Successes in the Health Insurance Marketplace

Blue Shield of California also shared about their recent successes. The new Silver 7 plan has done well. The Silver 1700 plan has been chosen by savvy consumers and agents. Also, Blue Shield was number one for sales in the Covered California Health Insurance Marketplace.

Both agents and Blue Shield leadership found the meetings to be helpful. Expertise was shared from the carrier as well as ground level input from the brokers.