Retail centers, narrow networks contribute to Florida Blue’s exchange success

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As several of the country’s largest health insurers pull out of Affordable Care Act exchanges, one Florida carrier is utilizing retail centers to boost enrollment and effectively manage patient care, according to a Forbes post.

Florida Blue, managed by Blue Cross Blue Shield, invested in 20 brick-and-mortar retail centers across the state in 2012, which proved to be critical when exchanges opened in two years later. As consumers initially struggled to sign up on Healthcare.gov, the clinics provided a way for enrollees to circumvent the technical failures of the website.

The centers also offer free tests and screenings for new exchange plan members. The tests are designed to ensure patients receive outpatient services for chronic illnesses instead of expensive emergency room visits or hospital stays.

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“They continue to serve as significant hubs of information for marketplace plans, offering direct customer service and access to a variety of healthcare plans,” Florida Blue spokesman Paul Kluding told Forbes. Over 400,000 residents have visited the centers.

Additionally, Florida Blue offers plans in every county of the state thanks to its narrow networks for silver and bronze tiered plans. This approach allows the insurer to offer low out-of-pocket expenses for routine doctor visits and specialist consultations.

Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers in other states like Tennessee and North Carolina have touted the benefits of retail centers when it comes to exchange enrollment. Narrow networks are a frequent strategy for exchange plan carriers since many consumers value cost over access to a wide network of providers.

- read the Forbes post

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