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What's New

There are several ways for you to keep updated about product changes, news releases, and other information about Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

Just select a section below to access our most up-to-date information.

We Surpassed Medical Loss Ratio Requirements for 2014
Annually, insurers are required to meet federal and state medical loss ratio requirements. Insurers who do not meet both requirements must issue rebates to all clients and members.

For the reporting year of 2014, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts will not issue rebates, as our loss ratio exceeded state and federal requirements for all market segments.

Introducing Telehealth—An Entirely New Way to See a Doctor
Telehealth is a real-time, video visit with a health care provider using a smartphone, tablet, or computer. With Telehealth, members with the telehealth benefit can access credentialed doctors and therapists for non-urgent care in a fast and convenient manner.

New Enhancements for Dental Plans in 2016
We’re making a few important changes to our dental plans starting in January. They include adding coverage for composite resin fillings on posterior teeth, and changing the end date for Essential Health Benefits.
Learn more

Transforming the PPO Payment Model
Health care delivery is rapidly changing, and a stronger focus on delivering value—a combination of quality and cost—is critical to employers and their employees. With our broad local presence, unprecedented national scale, and the largest provider network in the industry, we're strongly positioned and firmly committed to addressing these needs.

Introducing The Blue Cross MA Message Wire
Beginning in October, we will be introducing a new communication channel, the Blue Cross MA Message Wire. This new channel uses a simple text message to engage members and connect them to relevant content through a secure web-based channel. This new resource helps members better understand their plans, improve their health, and maximize the value of their benefits.

Coming in 2016: Updates to Our Pharmacy Formulary Program
On January 1, 2016, we will be updating our formulary program. We want to make you aware of these changes now so you can plan accordingly, and keep your employees informed. We have already advised prescribers of the upcoming changes. All affected members will be notified directly on or before December 1, 2015.
Learn more

Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) Changes for 2016
As of January 1, 2016, we'll include online access on the SBC to the coverage policy documents for members who are part of small group or individual plans. Members of large group (51 eligible employees or more) plans will have access to sample coverage policies. Members can find the web address located in the disclaimer box on page one of their SBC.

Medicare Creditable Coverage Notice Requirements
Group health plan sponsors that provide prescription drug coverage to Medicare-eligible members must notify these members whether or not their coverage is creditable.

2016 Plan Updates
Beginning January 1, 2016, we will be making changes to our health plans to ensure that they continue to meet the ongoing requirements of health care reform under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and in response to marketplace needs. With these changes we will continue to provide high-quality, affordable health plan options, and offer new affordable plans designs.

Excellus Cyber-Attack
We recently learned that Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, based in Rochester, NY, was the target of a sophisticated cyber-attack. We are working aggressively to find out more information to support our members as Excellus conducts its investigation into the cyber-attack.

Safely Discard Unwanted Drugs on September 26
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day will take place on Saturday, September 26, 2015, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Keeping You Informed about the Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Ruling
In light of the Supreme Court's June 26, 2015, ruling to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts wants to keep our accounts informed of the impact this ruling may have on their plans.

Healthy Actions Program Employer Incentive Increase
We are excited to announce that we're increasing our Healthy Actions program incentives beginning July 1, 2015. If 80 percent or more of your employees complete the Healthy Actions program, you will receive 7.5 percent (previously 5 percent) of the current year's premium.

Get ready for our newly improved Find a Doctor and Cost Estimator tool!
This fall we will unveil our newly redesigned Find a Doctor and Cost Estimator tool, giving members a simple and actionable way to take control of their health care.

New Tool Simplifies Dental Plan Comparison
We've upgraded our Plan Comparison Tool to include dental. The new tool works just like the medical comparison tool you're used to. You can quickly search by number of eligible employees and plan type. Refining your search for features such as deductibles, orthodontia, and other services is easy, too. Almost instantly, a printable comparison chart will display your results side by side. To use the dental tool, just go to our Plans & Products page and click the Find and Compare Plans button.

We've Moved!
We always want to keep you informed of our latest corporate endeavors. We haverelocated our corporate headquarters to:
101 Huntington Avenue, Suite 1300
Boston, MA 02199-7611

CareFirst Cyber-Attack
On May 20, 2015, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield announced that they were the target of an external cyber-attack affecting 1.1 million CareFirst members. The attack does not impact members of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, other Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans, or the Federal Employee Program. 

Paperless Open Enrollment Begins May 1st
Beginning May 1, 2015, all accounts will receive our new and improved electronic kits (eKits) for Open Enrollment. Find out more and download a sample.

We're Moving!
We are currently in the process of relocating our corporate headquarters to:
101 Huntington Avenue, Suite 1300
Boston, MA 02199-7611

We're Going Paperless for Open Enrollment
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is introducing electronic Open Enrollment kits (eKits) to replace paper kits. The transition to eKits is set to reduce waste, lessen our environmental impact, and make it easier for our customers to find information about their plan. Beginning in May of this year, all accounts will receive an eKit.

Premera Blue Cross Target of Cyber-Attack
Premera Blue Cross announced that they were the target of an external cyber-attack affecting 11 million current and former members. We are working aggressively to find out more information to support our members as Premera conducts their investigation.

Coming this Spring: A New, Improved
In analyzing consumer online behaviors and industry best practices, we will be launching a newly designed—making the user experience more engaging and informative.

Wellness Corner: The Path to Better Living Starts with Taking the ahealthyme Health Assessment!
Our health assessment can help your employees who are enrolled in a Blue Cross medical plan identify their health risks and provide suggestions on how to improve their health. Questions focus on areas of health that employees can change, such as exercise, nutrition, tobacco, safety, and stress management. Once finished, members get a detailed report on their health and how to improve it.

New Authorization Requirements for HMO and Blue Choice Plans
Starting July 1, 2015, we will require prior authorization for certain drugs when administered in a doctor's office, by a home health care provider, or in outpatient hospital and dialysis settings. This change applies to HMO and in-network Blue Choice plans. We encourage members to discuss this change with their health care providers. Members affected by this change will be notified directly no later than June 1, 2015.

Coverage for Employees Out of State
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts designs its plans around Massachusetts' laws. We can try to adjust a plan design based on other states' mandated benefits. However, some states, like Hawaii, have standards for certain account health plans that we cannot accommodate. In this situation, we highly suggest that accounts with employees in Hawaii speak with legal counsel to help decide whether residents of Hawaii should be enrolled in one of our health plans.

Important Changes to Covered Medications Under the Medical Benefit
In 2015, all commercial health plans will no longer cover specific medications when being purchased at a doctor's office or outpatient hospital setting. These medications will also only be available through the retail specialty pharmacy.

Anthem Cyber-Attack Communication Update
In response to the recent cyber-attack against Anthem, we are supporting our accounts and members and are working closely with Anthem to ensure that our affected members get the information and resources they need.

Pharmacy Update: Flonase and Fluticasone No Longer Covered
Due to the over-the-counter availability of the intranasal corticosteroid medication Flonase, we will no longer cover it or its generic version, flucticasone, in our pharmacy benefit.

Anthem Cyber-Attack Member Impact
Our analysis of data provided by Anthem indicates that the personal information of approximately 375,000 of our members (mostly out-of-state) was accessed illegally in this attack.

Anthem Cyber-Attack Notifications
February 20, 2015 update: Anthem reports that they will begin to notify affected members via email as early as next week and will begin sending affected member letters in the weeks to follow.

Update: Anthem Data Breach
Learn more about the cyber attack against Anthem and review frequently asked questions.

Anthem Data Breach
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is aware that Anthem, Inc. was the target of a very sophisticated external cyber-attack, currently under FBI investigation. We are diligently working with Anthem and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association to gather more information about the scope of this issue and how it might impact your employees.

Quincy Medical Center Closure Update
The Quincy Medical Center recently announced plans to close in February 2015. Since that announcement, the closing date has been moved to December 26, 2014 instead.

Quincy Medical Center Closure
Quincy Medical Center announced plans to close on Wednesday, February 4, 2015 and we recognize the challenges this may pose to our members and the community.

2015 Plan Updates
Beginning January 1, 2015 we will be making several benefit changes to our medical and dental plan designs.

Blue Options v.4 and Hospital Choice Cost Sharing Tier Update, Effective January 1, 2015
Effective January 1, 2015, Blue Options v.4 and HCCS members will have lower out-of-pocket costs at Harrington Memorial Hospital.

Clarification for PPO Products for Enrolled Members with Medicare as the Primary Payer
The following clarification affects members who have Medicare as their primary payer and are enrolled in a fully insured or self–funded PPO product with BCBSMA.

We're Updating Our Plans for 2015
We will be updating our health plans to meet new state and federal requirements. We will also be expanding our product portfolio with new affordable plan designs.

IRS releases new guidance adjusting the PCORI fee dollar amount
The ACA created the nonprofit Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to help health care providers and others evaluate and compare health outcomes, clinical effectiveness, and the risks and benefits of treatments. To fund this research, the ACA is charging a fee to certain health insurers (those who offer fully insured plans) and plan sponsors of self-insured health plans.

Pharmacy Program Changes Coming in 2015
Starting in 2015, commercial plans with pharmacy benefits and Medex®' plans with the three-tier pharmacy benefit will see important changes to their pharmacy program. In addition, we'll be making coverage changes to some specialty medications.

Lower Dental Out-of-Pocket Maximums
To comply with Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates, we are decreasing the out-of-pocket maximums for ACA compliant dental plans sold to small groups, beginning January 1, 2015.

Limiting the Spread of the Flu Virus
We make it easy for members and their families to get vaccinated. This flu season, we're offering a range of workplace, pharmacy, and other retail-based vaccine opportunities. Coverage depends on the plan type and the nature of the care received.

CEO Andrew Dreyfus featured in The Boston Globe Magazine
At Blue Cross, we're proud of the efforts undertaken in Massachusetts to make quality health care affordable. Together, we've been able to moderate health care costs for the individuals, families and employers that call Massachusetts their home.

Get Your Healthy Actions Promotional Materials on Blue IQSM
Healthy Actions rewards participating employees for engaging in their health through financial incentives. And the more successful they are, the higher the reward for employers too. So raise awareness and promote employee participation in Healthy Actions with a new series of email templates you can send to your employees throughout the year to keep them on track.

Intoducing the Wellness Corner
This new section of the IAI will feature updates from our Prevention and Wellness Division, such as ahealthyme®secure site upgrades, employer success stories, technology improvements, and wellness tips. In this edition, we discuss our new collaboration with Fitbit®

Intoducing Blue 20/20
Blue 20/20 is a stand-alone vision product that we recently launched.

North Adams Regional Hospital Community Visits
In response to the closure of the North Adams Regional Hospital and several affiliated medical practices, we are visiting the area on Friday, April 4th to help answer our members' questions and support the community.

North Adams Regional Hospital Closing
North Adams Regional Hospital, along with several affiliated medical practices, has announced its plans to close today, March 28, 2014.

Safely Discard Unwanted Drugs on April 26.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day will take place on Saturday, April 26, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

New Behavioral Health Program Available to Select Members
We're offering a new program for select members with behavioral health conditions—at no additional cost to members. The goal is to provide these members with community support services that will assist them in achieving healthier, more stable lives while reducing their health care costs.

Great News: New Orthodontic Coverage Options for Small Groups
We're expanding our selection of Dental Blue® Pediatric Essential + Adult plans by allowing them to be purchased with traditional orthodontic coverage options.

Chiropractic Services Change for Local Managed Care Plans
For small-group and individual plans, effective January 1, 2014, on renewal, there will no longer be an age restriction on chiropractic services for local HMO Blue® and Access BlueSM plans.

Important Change to PPO Plans That Could Reduce Your Costs
To help lower costs for employers and members, Blue Cross may negotiate lower, out-of-network claims. This change takes effect in 2014 and applies to self-funded employers with commercial PPO plans.

Specialty Pharmacy Name Change
Coming January 1, 2014 there are updates to the Pharmacy On January 1, 2014, CuraScript®'', a subsidiary of Express Scripts®'', will join Accredo Health Group, Inc.®'' You can use the Accredo website and telephone number listed below for questions related to a specialty medication. This change will not interrupt or delay future refills, as only the name of the pharmacy is changing.

2014 Plan Changes
Beginning January 1, 2014 we will be making several benefit changes to our medical and dental plan designs resulting from national health care reform and state requirements.

Pharmacy Changes, Effective January 1, 2014
Coming January 1, 2014 there are updates to the Pharmacy Formulary Program. They range from medication tier status to prior authorization, expansion of our list of specialty medications not covered when administered in certain settings to a new step therapy policy.

Blue Options v.4 Tiering Updates
Effective January 1, 2014, Blue Options v.4 members will have lower out-of-pocket costs at Holyoke Medical Center and Athol Memorial Hospital.

New Treatment Estimates Help Members Plan for Upcoming Costs
Beginning October 1st, members can request an estimate for an upcoming treatment or medical procedure.

2014 Product Portfolio and Benefit Design Updates
Beginning January 1, 2014 we will be making several benefit changes to our medical and dental plan designs resulting from national health care reform and state requirements.

Important Survey: Employer Group Size and Medical Loss Ratio
In July 2013, employers that have a fully insured (premium) financial arrangement with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts received surveys in the mail to help us categorize employers as "Small" or "Large" to determine the medical loss ratio as defined by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

Pharmacy Formulary Program Updates
Changes to our pharmacy formulary program are coming in 2014. They range from medication tier status to prior authorization to expansion of our list of specialty medications not covered when administered in certain settings.

Healthy Actions Now Available to Accounts with 51-99 Employees
Great news! Our innovative Healthy Actions wellness program is now available to qualifying employers with 51-99 employees for new sales and plan renewals with an effective date beginning January 1, 2014.

The Affordable Care Act and the Multi-State Option
The Affordable Care Act includes a Multi-State plan provision that requires the federal government, specifically the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to select national health insurance companies to offer health benefit plans on each state's insurance exchange.

Updates to Our Notice of Privacy Practices and Business Associate Agreements
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services further strengthened existing Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provisions with the Omnibus Rule. This rule established new requirements that impact our Notice of Privacy Practices and Business Associate Agreements.

Do You Qualify for a Wellness Tax Credit?
You may be eligible for a state tax credit for up to 25% of the costs of your program. Find out how.

Subscriber Claim Payment Letters
View the claim payment recovery letters sent to accounts and members.

Updated COBRA Benefits Change
An overview of COBRA and mini-COBRA subsidies and what they mean for your business.

Employer Newsletter - IAI
Our quarterly Important Administrative Information, for plan sponsors.

Regulatory Updates
Information on health care reform and other issues.

Our Alternative Quality Contract for Physicians
How we're working with physicians to align quality and affordability.

Looking for Corporate News?
Get the latest news, public statements, and updates about Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
® Registered Marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
© Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc.
101 Huntington Avenue, Suite 1300, Boston, MA 02199-7611 | 1-800-262-BLUE (2583)