Q:

How do you become a BCBS member?

A:

Quick Answer

People who work for the federal government can become Blue Cross Blue Shield, or BCBS, members through the health insurance company’s federal employee program, according to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s website. Others may become members through one of BCBS’ 36 local agencies.

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Full Answer

Federal employees choose between the two available options, basic and standard, for either themselves as individuals or themselves and their families, explains the program’s Enrollment FAQs page. Depending on the employing federal agency, such as the Department of Defense or the U.S. Postal Service, potential members enroll online or by submitting a form to their agency’s human resources office.

As of August 2015, the open enrollment period for the year is closed, but individuals may still buy coverage if they have a qualifying life event, such as marriage, a birth or job loss, states Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Additionally, depending on family size and income, the Affordable Care Act may provide assistance with premium payments.

Since BCBS' member companies are all local, independently owned and operated, plans differ based on a potential participant's geographic location; however, in general, BCBS companies offer a broad range of products, such as flexible spending accounts, health maintenance organization plans and preferred provider organization plans, to name a few options.

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