Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield has long been a major player in the Colorado health insurance market. Brokers and clients alike tend to feel comfortable with Anthem Blue Cross, due in large part to their stability and network size. Yesterday I met with our Anthem Blue Cross representatives, and discussed some of their product enhancements. I’m always amazed at the services Anthem is able to offer in their health insurance plans. It keeps them way out front of other health insurance companies in the Colorado market.
Lumenos HSA Benefits… The lifetime maximum benefit on Anthem’s individual Lumenos HSA qualified policies will increase from $2 million to $5 million on February 1, for new and existing Lumenos policy-holders. In more good news for Colorado residents with Lumenos HSA plans, the extensive list of preventive care now includes colonoscopies. Preventive care on the Anthem Blue Cross of Colorado Lumenos policies is generally covered at 100% if received from an Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield network provider. I don’t know of any other individual Colorado health insurance company that covers preventive (non-diagnostic, no symptoms present) colonoscopies before the deductible is met – this is a huge benefit for policy-holders, and something that we’re excited about.
Joint Policies For Same-Sex Partners… We have wondered for years why Colorado individual health insurance carriers don’t offer same-sex domestic partners the ability to have a joint policy. Over the years we have lots of same-sex partner clients who have had to apply for two separate individual policies. But Anthem is now allowing same-sex domestic partners to apply jointly for individual/family policies. I’m sure that 20 years from now, all health insurance carriers will offer joint policies to same-sex partners. But for now, Anthem Blue Cross is still leading the way.
Staving Off The Pharmaceutical Industry Influence… At Colorado Health Insurance Insider, we’ve written about some of the shameful profit-driven behavior exhibited by the pharmaceutical industry. Generic medications are required to be just as effective as their brand name counterparts – the ingredients are the same. But the price tag can be vastly different. Anthem has announced that as of April 1, they will no longer cover brand-name prescriptions for non-sedating antihistamines (treatments for seasonal allergies, hay fever, and other allergies) or ophthalmic allergy agents (eye drops to treat eye irritation associated with allergies). This move is a result of research that has shown that generics and over-the-counter medications work just as well as brand-name allergy medications. And they are less expensive. So why not encourage patients to request the generic alternative and physicians to prescribe them? Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is a major player in the Colorado health insurance industry – and indeed, Anthem/Wellpoint carries a lot of weight on a national level. Anthem could have a significant influence on health providers and on the pharmaceutical industry to lower the cost of medications across the board, so we’re excited to see such a large health insurance provider taking a stand on this issue. We are firmly in support of health insurance coverage for brand-name medications. When clients ask for advice, we don’t recommend health insurance policies that only cover generic medications, because the reason you buy health insurance is to cover the “what ifs” – in the case of serious illnesses, often the only available treatment is a brand name drug. So we’re glad to see that Anthem is still covering most brand name drugs, while at the same time looking objectively at case-by-case scenarios of individual classes of medications and determining when generics can provide equally good treatment. This is the sort of thing that health insurance companies can be doing to lower the cost of health care without compromising patient safety.
Edit: I also just remembered that the Lumenos HSA qualified plan includes a $500 accident benefit covered first dollar before the deductible.
We’re proud to be able to offer Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield policies to our clients looking for health insurance in Colorado, and we know that Anthem will continue to provide cutting-edge products and market innovation.