Transferring your health insurance for individuals coverage to another state
Affordable Health Insurance for Individuals
Following the conversation described in the text concerning switching from New York to Connecticut Blues, and subsequent to a written complaint to the New York State Insurance Commission, the subscriber received the following letter:
Dear Mr. [X]:
We were contacted by the State of New York Insurance Department concerning your health insurance for individuals coverage with us.
May we begin by explaining that each Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plan is a separate, financially independent corporation. However, we do maintain an Inter-Plan Agreement whereby subscribers may transfer to their local Plan if their subscription charges are paid in advance. [Mr. X: Why do I have to pay in advance for a policy I am cancelling?]
When you called us about transferring your Medicare Plus coverage to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Connecticut (group health insurance quote), your charges were not paid sufficiently in advance for transfer in accordance with the Inter-Plan Agreement. [Mr. X: What do they mean by "sufficiently"? My next quarterly payment wasn't even due yet. Also, how come they never say specifically how much advance notice they require?] Therefore, we could only advise you to remit your next quarterly payment if you wished to transfer. [Mr. X: Blackmail?]
Your remittance has been applied to your coverage from November 1, 1983, to February 1, 1984. [Mr. X: Aha! This is a cute way of getting three months' premium out of me; my request was made in October and I wanted to transfer to Connecticut in October, not in February. Suppose I incurred doctor bills—not covered by New York Blues—in the meantime?]
Since you have requested immediate transfer, we are sending information to the Connecticut Plan for the transfer of your coverage as of December 1,1983.
[Mr. X: Okay, they dragged their heels so I lost November, but at least I gained two months by latching on to the magic word immediate. A refund of the subscription charges you remitted for affordable health insurance for individuals coverage from December 1, 1983, to February 1,1984, will be sent as soon as our records can be adjusted.
It's true that when a subscriber who is paid in advance requests transfer, he will be transferred as of his paid-to date unless there is a specific request for immediate transfer. [Mr. X: Not true except technically. I said I wanted to be transferred right away and that certainly is equivalent to immediately in anyone's lexicon—except apparently the New York Blues'.]
Please be assured that we do not "obstruct transfers to any other states" or "subvert the best interests of the consumer," as you state. Rather, our group health insurance quote procedures are in accordance with the Inter-Plan Agreement [Mr. X: I'd like to see that sometime] and allow the time necessary for the processing of the transfer by both the Plans involved. [Mr. X: Connecticut had no problem with taking the transfer right away; they said New York was making problems unnecessarily so "both the Plans involved" would not appear to be accurate.] We hope this clarifies our position. [Mr. X: Not really.]