Alert: Blue Cross 24/7 Online Healthcare 2018 Changes & FAQs

///Alert: Blue Cross 24/7 Online Healthcare 2018 Changes & FAQs
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ALERT: Blue Cross 24/7 Online Healthcare 2018 Changes & FAQs

Cathy Siska COO

Cathy Siska
Chief Operating Officer

Blue Cross and Blue Care Network are making changes to 24/7 online health care to improve members’ overall experience. These enhancements include a new name, new mobile app, and additional mental health services.

Online Visits General FAQs

What’s changing as of Jan. 1, 2018?

  • Adding mental health services (therapy and psychiatry)
  • A Blue Cross-branded website and URL
  • A new product name – Blue Cross® Online Visits
  • A new online visits app- BCBSM Online Visits, which replaces the Amwell® app
  • Changes to service key requirements

Will the experience be different for users?

  • Although the site and app will be branded Blue Cross, the experience is the same. The differences center on Blue Cross’ customizations, such as additional services, and prominent, consistent Blue Cross branding throughout the experience. The site and app still use the American Well® platform so registration, login, choosing a provider and pharmacy, and online visits will stay the same.

Do my group’s services change?

  • Fully insured groups and Individual: All Blue Cross and BCN fully-insured groups, self-funded 25-49 groups and Individual members will have both the current medical services and the new mental health services.
  • Self-funded groups 50+: Self-funded groups 50+ who currently have online health care medical services will receive mental health services at no additional administrative charge.

When can members begin using the new site and services?
Members can begin using the new site and services on Jan. 1, 2018.

What will happen if members try to use the old site after Jan. 1, 2018?
Members who go to after Jan. 1, 2018, will see a message about the new site and will be redirected. If they are using a mobile device, they will see a message about how to download the new BCBSM Online Visits app.

What will members need to do to use the new site?
Members who currently have an American Well account will be migrated to the new site. Once they reach the new site, they will need to authenticate their account by re-entering their account password. They won’t need to create a new account. Members who are registering with online visits for the first time will need to create an account. If they have medical-only services, they’ll need to enter a service key.

How is the service key affected by these changes?
Members of groups who offer both medical and mental health services will no longer need a service key. However, if a group doesn’t offer both services, their members will need a service key. We’ll provide more information about the service key as it’s available.

How is the BCBSM Online Visits app different than the Blue Cross mobile app?
The BCBSM Online Visits app, like the current Amwell app, is separate from the Blue Cross mobile app. The online visits app allows members to access their online visits accounts and services. The Blue Cross mobile app is used to access benefit and claims information, and everything else related to a members’ health insurance.

Online Visits Mental Health FAQs

How is an online mental health visit different than a medical visit?

While medical consultations and mental health services are both available online through American Well, there are some differences in how members use these services. Unlike medical consultations, mental health has:

  • Scheduled appointments
  • 45-minute therapy sessions
  • Video-only sessions (no phone-only options are available)

Is a member’s cost share for an online mental health visit the same as an online medical visit?

No. For medical services, an online visit is based on the members’ office visit cost share, or the amount selected in the plan documents.
Costs for a mental health online visit vary depending on the type of provider and the service the member receives. Members will be charged the appropriate cost-share for the service using their existing outpatient mental health benefits. Self-funded and fully-insured groups cannot customize their mental health online visit benefit.

How much does an online mental health visit cost?
Costs can vary depending on the type of provider and the service the member receives, Blue Cross is currently in the process of establishing these fees.

Is the administrative fee increasing to include mental health services?
No. The administrative fee is not increasing. There is no administrative fee for fully insured groups, ASC 25-49 groups, or Individual members.

Are there any geographical limitations to mental health services?
No, mental health services are available in all 50 states, seven days a week, with extended hours for appointments.

Are the medical services changing?
No, the current medical services aren’t changing. In addition, please remember that medical services are now available in Texas and will be available in Arkansas on Sept. 1, 2017.

What type of mental health services are available online?
Our members will be able to choose between:

  • Therapy (age 10 and older): Therapy is available from masters-level therapists and psychologists.
  • Psychiatry (age 18 and older): Diagnostic interviews and medication management are available from psychiatrists.

When members with medical and mental health online visits log onto the new site, they’ll see these options along with medical services. They’ll be able to choose the service they need. Members without mental health services will continue to see only medical services.

Can a member choose a specific mental health care provider?
Yes, members can choose a specific mental health care provider, just as they choose a medical provider. Members can read provider profiles and, when available, watch videos that explain what to expect during the visit with that particular provider. Members will choose the provider they would like to see and will schedule an appointment online. There are over 300 mental health providers in American Well’s network.

Can a member use mental health while traveling away from their home state?
Yes, members can use online mental health visits from American Well anywhere inside the United States. The member will need to indicate the state they are in when seeking services. This verification ensures they will talk with a mental health provider who is licensed in that state.

How does a member have a mental health online visit?
Members will use the scheduling tool to see what providers are available on what date/time. Depending on the provider’s availability, members may be able to get a same-day appointment. However, some providers may not be available for a day or two, while others may be able to see the patient immediately.

What conditions can be treated using these mental health services?
Online mental health services may treat conditions such as:

  • Depression and anxiety disorders
  • Adjustment disorders
  • Life challenges
  • Eating disorders
  • Insomnia

What isn’t treated through these mental health services?
American Well’s mental health services don’t treat Substance Use Disorder or urgent and emergent mental health issues.

What if a member needs urgent attention?
Members who need urgent mental health support should contact their doctor or mental health provider, or seek urgent or emergency care.
BCN members can also call the behavioral health number on the back of their ID card for support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you have any questions regarding Blue Cross Online Visits, please do not hesitate to contact your account manager or email us at Your Austin Team is always here to help!