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Urgent Message: UniCare Exiting Illinois Commercial Health Insurance Market

Friday, November 20, 2009 General News J E 4
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UniCare members in Illinois need to elect to transition their coverage by December 1

CHICAGO, Nov. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On October 28, 2009, UniCare announced plans to exit Illinois' commercial health insurance market. The same day, Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) - as well as Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas - and UniCare announced BCBSIL would offer replacement coverage for UniCare members in Illinois that, in most cases, would have similar benefits and rates. In addition, UniCare endorsed Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and the other Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans operated by HCSC, calling them "the insurers of choice" for its group and individual policyholders.

"Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois wants to make sure that individual UniCare members in Illinois fully understand the situation, and what they need to do to transition their coverage," BCBSIL senior vice president Dieter Freer said. He explained that:

How to transition individual coverage to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois

Soon after the announcement, BCBSIL sent all of UniCare's individual policyholders in the state information about how they can easily transition their coverage, along with an "Offer Acceptance Form." Freer said to accept the offer, current Illinois UniCare members can either:

UniCare members will be asked to provide the identification number from the forms they received in the mail, their last names, dates of birth for everyone on the policy, and Zip codes.

With more than 7 million members, BCBSIL, a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, is the largest health insurance company in Illinois. Started in 1936, BCBSIL is committed to promoting the health and wellness of its members and its communities through accessible, cost-effective, quality health care. BCBSIL is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

-- As of October 27, 2009, UniCare stopped writing new commercial policies in the Illinois market. All existing individual UniCare plans will run through their contracted periods; -- BCBSIL has guaranteed that it will accept all current UniCare members in Illinois to whom BCBSIL made the offer; -- All UniCare policyholders must accept BCBSIL's offer by December 1, 2009, to transition their coverage; and -- Individual UniCare members who accept BCBSIL's offer must continue to pay their UniCare premiums through December 31, 2009.

SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois - Health Care
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