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BCBS wants to start coverage before the date of application?
Old 07-16-2014, 09:39 PM   #1
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BCBS wants to start coverage before the date of application?

I retired on 6/1 - and was immediately converted to part time, not eligible for benefits because the company wanted to keep me on the payroll for awhile.

I have until 8/15 to elect to participate in Cobra, which if I did would result in retroactive coverage to 6/1. As long as I paid June and July premiums, of course.

So on 7/7 I applied for BCBS Bronze Plan thru ehealthinsurance.com

The site was very specific, indicating that "Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas only issues coverage start dates on the 1st of the month. Therefore, your application will have a requested coverage start date of 08-01-2014. Please note: Application for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas must be received 15 days before the requested coverage start date."

Application sent. I get three marketing emails from BCBS on 7/10 encouraging me to maximize my use of coverage by registering on their website. Problem is, I need a member number to do so and haven't gotten one yet.

Today, I get a bill in the mail for August 1 thru August 31. But the amount due is double the monthly premium, and shows an "effective" date of 7/1.

I call - and get nowhere. The person on the phone agrees that it doesn't make sense that my coverage would be effective before the date I even applied, but the best they can do is open a ticket with membership and see if they will change the effective date to 8/1. Can't tell me when that might happen or if it will happen at all, because, well, that's the membership department. And she actually told me "besides, if you pay it it's not like you aren't getting anything for it, you're covered for the whole month of July".

I want to pay the bill, but I don't want to pay for a month I don't need coverage (July) and want it to accurately reflect both the date I requested coverage to start and the date the website clearly indicated coverage would start per BCBS policy.

I also expect them to respond in a reasonable amount of time, before the entire month of July is almost over and they then claim I had coverage (that I didn't want).

I'm thinking the best thing to do is to cancel the current coverage and start all over.
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Old 07-17-2014, 01:17 AM   #2
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If I understand your post correctly, you don't want to pay for all of July , so you are willing to go bare until august 1st. OK, but the un-likely , but possible major medical incident between now, and august 1st, could wipe out a big chunk of savings. A heart attack or serious accident medical could cost six figures , worst case.

I cant speak for Texas, but in CA , the state has told most everyone to use a broker for the state sponsored plans ( Covered CA ) , in person, because of so many snags in signing up online or by phone. The cost is exactly the same in CA to use a broker.
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Old 07-17-2014, 07:00 AM   #3
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Unless you can get an answer soon, I would probably just pay for one month and include a note of explanation.
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Old 07-17-2014, 07:06 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Lakewood90712 View Post
If I understand your post correctly, you don't want to pay for all of July , so you are willing to go bare until august 1st. OK, but the un-likely , but possible major medical incident between now, and august 1st, could wipe out a big chunk of savings. A heart attack or serious accident medical could cost six figures , worst case.
I'm not going bare, I've got COBRA coverage thru 8/15.

I had to sign up for health care before 7/15 in order for it to be effective 8/1.

Had I waited until after 7/15, the soonest the new coverage would be effective would have been 9/1 and that would have resulted in a lapse of coverage which is what I was trying to avoid.

The issue is BCBS is not starting my coverage 8/1 as stated when I submitted my application, they are backdating it to 7/1 and trying to charge an extra month that I don't need and did not request.
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Old 07-17-2014, 07:39 AM   #5
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If you cancel and refile you may get caught in a catch 22 -- if BCBS doesn't respond with a policy starting 8/1 (since you are now past the 7/15 deadline) you would be forced to take the COBRA policy (and pay June, July and August) or risk going bare for the month of August. Wouldn't it be better to continue the BCBS enrollment process and fight the charge for July coverage? At worst you risk paying one extra month vs two under COBRA.
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Old 07-17-2014, 07:49 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by donheff View Post
If you cancel and refile you may get caught in a catch 22 -- if BCBS doesn't respond with a policy starting 8/1 (since you are now past the 7/15 deadline) you would be forced to take the COBRA policy (and pay June, July and August) or risk going bare for the month of August. Wouldn't it be better to continue the BCBS enrollment process and fight the charge for July coverage? At worst you risk paying one extra month vs two under COBRA.
Yes, that is exactly the situation. Good point; probably the best thing to do is to continue on present course with BCBS and simply contest the one month additional charge.
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Old 07-17-2014, 08:08 AM   #7
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From your post, I thought you said you have until Aug 15 to sign up for COBRA at which point the coverage will be retroactive to Jun 1. Which means you are NOT COVERED unless you actually go ahead with COBRA. Could the BCBS policy just be orienting dates to eliminate this gap in coverage?
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Old 07-17-2014, 08:11 AM   #8
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So you're really gaming it on the COBRA in that you won't pay the premium unless you have a health event between now and August 15th.

If you pay before it is sorted out, just make sure that your payment specifies that it is for coverage from 8/1-31/2014. You shouldn't be forced to accept coverage before the date you applied for and that was indicated when you applied.

I would suggest that you work through channels and if all else fails, then write a letter of complaint to the CEO. I once worked at an insurance company and any complaints to the president or the CEO received special handling (unfortunately for a short period of time, by me).
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Old 07-17-2014, 01:28 PM   #9
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So you're really gaming it on the COBRA in that you won't pay the premium unless you have a health event between now and August 15th.
I hadn't really thought of it that way, I wasn't trying to game anything. I know I have until 9/15 to decide if I want COBRA, and if I do then I have to make good on all premiums. I looked at the interim time period as an opportunity to shop around for coverage, and thru that process I learned that most coverage would only be effective on the first of the following month and that you have to apply at least 15 days before the effective date, which essentially means you have to apply before the 15 of each month in order for coverage to start on the first of the next month.

By the time I decided what sort of coverage I wanted and with who, it was the first week of July. So I made application with BCBS and understood from the website that because of the date I applied, my coverage would start 8/1.

Which is why I was surprised to learn that they actually backdated the coverage to 7/1 and charged me for two months even though the terms of the application were pretty clear that coverage would not/could not start until 8/1.

Regardless, I just got a message from them that they have "adjusted the effective date to be 8/1/14" and that "another associate is currently investigating your billing inquiry and will have answers to your questions soon".
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Old 07-17-2014, 01:54 PM   #10
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The billing for my BCBS policy was all messed up the first several months but now finally, BCBS got things straightened out. All I wanted was to have the monthly premium taken out directly from my checking account. But I had an existing policy with them last year so so premium payments got juggled around and the representative on the phone said one thing, but their system did another. Like I said, things were mess as I think they were just swamped.
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