Health Insurance companies are in a frenzy preparing for The Affordable
Care Act - starting next year, as they will need to cut costs. Insurers will
now need to allocate part of the premiums to care instead of overhead costs
such as profits and marketing. A portion of this overhead cost pays for debit
and credit card transaction fees, so many of them do not accept payments on
BlueCross Blue Shield of Tennessee and HealthNet no longer
accept premium payments made via cards.
and more insurance companies are scrapping debit and credit card payment
options, says Ryan McCostlin, team member at Nashville-based health care
consulting firm Bernard Health: "Since I've been thinking about how to
help individuals and families figure out what to do about health insurance,
more than half the carriers, while they may allow you to pay the first month's
premium with a debit or credit card, quite often, the only options after that
are to get direct-billed with a paper statement or to set up an electronic
funds transfer (EFT)."
becomes an issue as a considerable number of Americans don't have bank accounts
and will not have means to pay premiums. A 2011 study conducted by the Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation showed that one in every 12 American families did
not have bank accounts. The Jackson Hewitt report focuses those numbers
further: "Among the uninsured, non-elderly population with household
incomes in the tax credit eligible range, 27% are effectively 'unbanked,'"
we're still working through the regulations, it is too early to know what
payment methods will be required for products purchased on the new Health
Insurance Marketplace," says Mary Danielson, a spokesperson for Blue Cross
Blue Shield in Tennessee.
This issue will need to be addressed before October 2013, as majority of
these people are those with no health insurance.
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
Shelley DuBois, May 2013