Federal Blue Cross Blue Shield, move beyond 1982 and adopt sensible, fair e-billing.

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Federal Blue Cross Blue Shield is a health insurance carrier covering federal employees, employees of companies with federal contracts, and their family members.  However, even if you aren't covered by Federal Blue Cross Blue Shield, it should still matter to you as any major health insurance carrier impacts the way healthcare works (and doesn't) in America.  Remember too that the program is partially funded by taxpayer dollars, so Federal Blue Cross Blue Shield needs to be accountable to every taxpayer regarding how the company runs.

Here's the problem: Federal Blue Cross Blue Shield does not allow itself to be billed electronically as secondary coverage on a prescription claim.  Instead, the carrier requires that those secondary coverage claims--even ones for in-network pharmacies--be submitted manually via the U.S. mail unless the primary coverage is Medicare.  That's right, Federal Blue Cross Blue Shield can offer electronic billing as secondary insurance coverage, they just don't offer it equally to everyone they cover.

There are several issues with manual claims.  Manual claims are more costly to process than electronic ones.  Each manual secondary coverage prescription claim adds unnecessary costs to Federal Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage.  People are tired of government waste.  This claims issue is a small fix but an easy one.  Electronic processing of claims has lower percentages of human error than manual processing.  It eliminates unreadable information and reduces the need for claims to be resubmitted and reprocessed.  Resubmissions and reprocessing create more government waste of time and money.  

There's also the obvious environmental factor involved in submitting manual claims by mail.  Each manual claim requires at least five pieces of paper: the claim form, the instructions for the claim form, the itemized receipt, pharmacy receipt, and documentation of other insurance coverage.  Federal Blue Cross Blue Shield encourages people to keep copies of all documents submitted.  That brings the paper total to ten pieces plus the envelope for mailing.  If a person submitted claims just once per month, those claims would use a total of 120 sheets of paper and 12 envelopes.  If a family of four submitted claims for each person just once per month, nearly a full ream of paper would be used.  According to Federal Blue Cross Blue Shield's website, roughly 5.3 million are covered by their insurance.  While not all of those 5.3 million people are using Federal Blue Cross Blue Shield as secondary prescription coverage, even a fraction of 5.3 million people using ten pieces of paper per claim still adds up to a lot of paper.

Many large health insurance carriers allow themselves to be billed as secondary coverage.  Federal Blue Cross Blue Shield does it if Medicare is primary.  The technology exists!  There is no reason why Federal Blue Cross Blue Shield can't leave the world of 1982 paper billing and join the rest of us in the world that functions with email and text messages.

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