As small and midsized businesses battling the recession began to rebuild and regroup in 2011, their message to us was clear: We need new health insurance options that meet our evolving needs and keep costs down. At Independence Blue Cross, we took their requests seriously, enhancing plans within our popular Blue Solutions portfolio specifically for businesses that employ 2 to 50 people.
We added new high-deductible plans as well as a wider range of cost-saving prescription options. And, starting in December, we offered new plans and new rates to small-business owners with 50 or fewer employees, saving them up to 30 percent for high-quality coverage.
We also introduced Blue Solutions Plus, which offers flexible, cost-effective plans for businesses of 51 to 99 employees. Based on feedback from our midsized customers and our brokers, we offered 28 new Blue Solutions Plus plans available in copay, deductible, and high-deductible Health Savings Account options. Three of the new plans include a built-in prescription drug benefit, while others allow customers to select from multiple prescription offerings to meet their specific needs.
All Blue Solutions and Blue Solutions Plus prescription plans promote the use of safe, cost-saving generic prescription drugs. In addition, all plans are backed by our world-class network of doctors and hospitals and offer innovative services like our Healthy Lifestyles℠ incentive programs, which reimburse members for making healthy choices such as joining a gym or enrolling in a weight-loss or tobacco-cessation program. Learn more at plansthatfit.com.
Things change. At Independence Blue Cross, we understand that people's priorities and lifestyles shift, and so do their health insurance needs. To support members throughout their lives, we've expanded our product suite to 13 medically underwritten health plans for individuals and families providing the features they've requested most: flexibility, affordability, and incentives to stay well. Individuals (including the self-employed) and families have access to the high level of benefits they need, with value-added services such as our Healthy Lifestyles℠ programs, which reimburse members for making healthy choices like joining a gym or enrolling in a weight-loss program; a variety of prescription plans, all emphasizing the use of generic drugs, including a money-saving mail-order option; and coverage for preventive care services like X-rays, lab tests, and 24/7 access to a Health Coach. Among our new plans is a Personal Choice PPO that can cost as little as $68 per month, the lowest individual premium we've ever offered. In 2011, nearly 62,600 individuals and families bought their insurance directly from us, not through an employer.
For business owners choosing a health plan that serves the varied needs of their employees, an insurance broker can be an important advocate and an invaluable source of information and advice. We recognize the critical role that brokers play in customer satisfaction, and in 2011 we launched a new initiative to enhance the support we give to brokers and, in doing so, improve service to our customers. The IBC Broker Care Center is a team of our Customer Service associates selected from across all business areas, including claims and billing, enrollment, and benefits, who work together to answer brokers' questions quickly and accurately, resolve issues effectively, and follow up if more information is needed. The approach is working a survey of brokers showed that nearly 100 percent reported increased satisfaction in interacting with us.
We have a variety of health insurance plans tailored to fit our customers' needs:
Individual: For families and individuals under 65
Senior: For Medicare-eligible individuals, providing Medicare Advantage, a managed care Medicare program, and Medicare supplemental benefits coverage
Local employers: For locally owned businesses with two to 40,000 employees
National employers: For employers headquartered in our five-county southeastern Pennsylvania region with employees working in other states
Federal employee program: For U.S. government employees and their dependents in southeastern Pennsylvania
Prescription drug, vision, and dental: Pharmacy benefits coverage administered by FutureScripts®, an affiliate of Catalyst Rx; vision coverage administered by Davis Vision; and dental coverage administered by United Concordia®. All are independent companies
International coverage: For businesses that need health coverage for employees traveling or living in other countries; offered through GeoBlue℠, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
Stop-loss: For businesses that self-insure their own employees' health benefits plans. Provides protection against unexpectedly high claims cost; offered with HM Insurance Group, an independent company
Low-income: For low-income children and adults, providing Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Programs