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angle-left Four Questions to Ask When Choosing a Health Plan

Four Questions to Ask When Choosing a Health Plan

For Immediate Release:  2017-10-31

Contact:  Edward Byrnes, Excellus BCBS, (315) 792-8897

Individuals who are renewing or buying health insurance for 2018 should ask four questions before selecting a plan.

Open enrollment starts Nov. 1, 2017, for individuals buying a health plan on the NY State of Health marketplace.

Ask the following when selecting a plan:

1. Will the plan cover my prescriptions? Make sure your medications, including maintenance drugs and contraceptives, are covered by the insurer. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, for example, covers more than 50 prescription contraceptives.

“The availability of family planning services such as contraceptives has led to significant advances in health status for women,” said Richard Lockwood, M.D., vice president and chief medical officer of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Central New York region. “Everyone should check whether his/her medications are covered before buying a plan.”

2. Does my doctor accept the plan? Ask your doctors if they accept the insurance you are considering.

3. What if I can’t see my doctor?  Ask if the plan covers emergency care anywhere in the world. You may also want to inquire whether the plan has a telemedicine program that provides 24/7 access to a doctor by phone or video chat when you have a minor health issue and can’t see your physician.

4. Can I get financial help? You may be eligible for financial help based on your household income and size. Individuals who earn less than $48,240 and a family of four that earns less than $98,400 could qualify for a discount. Or, you may be eligible for the Essential Plan for $20 or less a month. See if you qualify for financial help or the Essential Plan at

The open enrollment period for the NY State of Health marketplace runs from Nov. 1, 2017, through Jan. 31, 2018, but you’ll have to buy a plan by Dec. 15, 2017, for coverage to begin Jan. 1, 2018.

For more information, go to,, or call us at 1-888-370-7098.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a nonprofit health plan with 1.5 million upstate New York members. The company's mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care. Its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. With more than 3,500 employees, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It also encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. To learn more, visit