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FAQ: Applying and paying for health insurance

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Getting ready to buy health insurance

Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurance organization in the Philadelphia region. For 80 years, we’ve provided families with the security and stability that comes with a Blue Card — the powerful assurance that high-quality care is at your fingertips. We’ve been at the forefront of leading change that improves health, and today, more than ever, we’re recognized and trusted not just for the quality and security we provide, but also as an industry leader and innovator with the ideas, influence, and resources to change health care for the better.

Open Enrollment for buying health insurance for the 2020 calendar year has ended.

You can still apply for health coverage outside of Open Enrollment if you have certain changes in your life — known as a Qualifying Life Event — including loss of insurance through your employer, marriage, the birth or adoption of a baby, or a recent move into a new coverage area.

During Open Enrollment (November 1 – December 15), if you or your family are eligible for financial assistance, you can apply for a health plan through ibx.com.

If you don’t qualify for financial assistance, shop for a variety of private health insurance plans directly through Independence Blue Cross.

Outside of Open Enrollment, during what is called the Special Enrollment Period, you can apply for a health insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

When choosing the best health insurance plan for you or your family, consider how much health care you plan to use, how much you want to spend, and whether you qualify for financial assistance. Independence Blue Cross offers a range of plans to fit your needs and budget. Learn more about how to shop our health insurance plans.

Adult dental and adult vision coverage can be added to your Independence Blue Cross medical coverage at any time throughout the year. Learn more about adding dental and vision insurance.

If your employer doesn’t offer coverage or if you are unemployed, you can apply for a health plan through a private health insurance company such as Independence Blue Cross or through the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you lose your job, you may qualify to apply for health insurance during a Special Enrollment Period.

Health insurance quotes for monthly premium rates will be provided when you apply for a health plan. You will have to enter the following information in order to receive your quote: Name, ZIP code, date of birth, gender, tobacco usage, and, if necessary, your relationship to the person seeking insurance. If you are seeking a quote outside of Open Enrollment, you will need to list the life event that qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period.

Yes. We need your Social Security Number to verify your identity when enrolling for health insurance. Our site uses the latest security methods to protect the information you give us.

There are many sites where you can register for a free email account. Some examples are Gmail and Yahoo Mail. If you prefer not to create an email address, paper applications are available by request. You can request a paper application by calling 1-888-475-6206 (TTY: 711).

  • Individual
  • Individual and spouse/domestic partner
  • Individual and child(ren)
  • Family

Yes. You can apply to add a spouse or child at a later date if you experience a Qualifying Life Event, such as marriage, birth or adoption of a child, a change in employment, or during the Open Enrollment period.

If you are currently enrolled in an Independence Blue Cross health plan, you can add your children up to age 26 as dependents. If you are not enrolled in a health plan, you may be able to enroll your children in CHIP: Pennsylvania’s Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Yes. You and your domestic partner can apply for family coverage during Open Enrollment or throughout the year if you experience a Qualifying Life Event.

No. Your fiancée or fiancé can apply individually for coverage. Once you are married, you can request that your spouse be added to your existing coverage.

No. You must select one plan when you apply for an individual health plan. Use our health insurance comparison chart to see which health insurance plan is best for you.

On average it takes between 20 – 30 minutes to find the best health insurance plan for your family’s needs, get your health insurance quote, apply, and enroll for a health plan with Independence Blue Cross.

Financial help

The government is providing advance tax credits, or subsidies, to help qualifying individuals who purchase their own insurance, including working families. The subsidies will be based on how much money you make each year, the number of people in your family, and the age of the people in your family. If you qualify for financial assistance, you may be able to get one of the following:

  • Health insurance through Medical Assistance, also known as Medicaid or Healthy PA
  • Lower monthly premium costs plus a break on the cost-sharing you pay each time you need medical care
  • Lower monthly premium costs

The chart below shows guidelines for health care subsidy (tax credit) eligibility. If your yearly income is at or below the threshold shown below, then you may qualify for a subsidy. The enrollment process will include checking whether you are eligible.

Family size Yearly income threshold
1 $49,960
2 $67,640
3 $85,320
4 $103,000
5 $120,680
6 $138,360
7 $156,040
8 $173,720

Find out if you are eligible for financial help.

The HCTC is a tax credit for health insurance premiums. HCTC is available through the end of 2019. You may be eligible for a tax credit if you are an:

  • Eligible trade adjustment assistance (TAA) recipient
  • Eligible alternative adjustment assistance (ATAA), or reemployment adjustment assistance (RTAA) recipient
  • Eligible Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) pension recipient

Learn more about the HCTC

Yes. Many covered services will cost you the same amount no matter the tier level of the provider or facility you choose. These are:

  • Preventive care
  • Emergency room
  • Emergency ambulance
  • Urgent care
  • Prescription drugs
  • Pediatric dental and vision
  • Behavioral health
  • Transplants
  • Spinal manipulation
  • Outpatient lab/pathology1
  • Routine radiology/diagnostic1
  • MRI/MRA, CT/CTA scan, PET scan1
  • Physical/occupational therapies1

Applying

You can compare health insurance plans online from Independence Blue Cross or you can call 1-888-475-6206 (TTY: 711) to request a packet and learn more about our health insurance options.

You may need to have the following information available when you apply for a health plan:

  • Social Security Numbers of everyone you wish to cover
  • Immigration information, if applicable (Lawful Permanent Resident/Green Card documentation)
  • Address information
  • Birth dates of everyone you wish to cover
  • Email address1 (needed for primary applicant only)
  • Information on tobacco use
  • Income information (paystubs or W-2 Forms, wage and tax statements)
  • Employer information including employer name, address, and phone numbers
  • Policy numbers for any health insurance plan you currently have
  • Information from your employer about any job-related health insurance available
  • Office name and ID number for your primary care physician (PCP) if choosing an HMO plan (visit ibx.com/providerfinder to find a PCP)
  • Health care needs (estimate of the number of times you visit a doctor, get prescriptions filled, and any planned surgeries or hospital stays)
  • Budget (set a budget of how much you can comfortably spend on your health plan)

If you have enrolled for a health insurance plan with Independence Blue Cross, you can call 1-888-475-6206 (TTY: 711) to check the status of your health insurance application.

You can ask one of our Independence Blue Cross representatives your health insurance application and enrollment questions by calling 1-888-475-6206 (TTY: 711).

Yes. Click the Save & Exit button to save your place. When you log in again, you will be able to resume the application where you left off.

If you are trying to log in and you forget your User ID or Password, click Forgot User ID? or Forgot Password? and an email will be sent to the email address that you used to create your account. If you continue to have trouble, please call 1-888-475-6206 (TTY: 711).

Yes, the information you submit in your application is safe and secure. Please see our Privacy Policy for detailed information.

If you are applying during Open Enrollment, your coverage will begin on January 1.

If you are applying during a Special Enrollment Period, if your application is submitted by the 15th of the month, coverage will be effective the first of the following month. If the application is submitted after the 15th of the month, coverage is effective on the first of the second month following application submission. However, certain Qualifying Life Events may entitle you to coverage effective the day of the event.

Premiums

Independence Blue Cross offers several convenient ways to pay your health insurance bill:

  • eBill at ibx.com
  • Credit or debit card2
  • Personal check or money order
  • Automatic withdrawal from your bank account
  • Moneygram©
  • By telephone at 1-888-879-4891 (TTY: 711)
  • In person at Independence LIVE, our Customer Experience Center at 1919 Market Street in Philadelphia

You can learn more about our payment options at ibx.com/payment.

All of the health insurance premium rates provided on our website are final rates. If you navigate from our site to the Health Insurance Marketplace and are approved for a subsidy (tax credit), your subsidy amount will be provided by the federal government to Independence Blue Cross. Your subsidy can be applied to your Independence Blue Cross health plan to reduce your monthly health insurance premium.

Health insurance rates are valid for one year and will be updated annually on January 1.

With electronic payments, you authorize your monthly payment to be automatically withdrawn from your account. It’s a worry-free way to help ensure you won’t miss a payment and risk losing your health insurance coverage. You don’t have to write and send in checks. With electronic payment, your health insurance premium is taken care of even when you’re away on business or vacation. For more details on eBill, visit ibx.com/payment.

Credit and debit card payments are processed for approval at time of purchase. Payment by automatic checking may take several days to complete. Generally, the initial payment will come out of your account within 1–3 business days (which is typical bank processing time). Any payment that fails to clear due to insufficient funds could impact your coverage effective date.

1 Whether you’re applying online or by phone, you’ll need to have an email address for registration. If you prefer not to create an email address, please request a paper application by calling 1-888-475-6206 (TTY: 711).

2 Credit cards are only accepted for the first month’s premium.