Friday, June 26, 2015

So much for a paper-free society

A three-inch thick package arrived today in the mail.  It contained these documents from Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA to explain my Medicare Advantage plan:  Provider directory; pharmacy directory; formulary; and benefits summary. 

I fear that I will now get the same package once a year for the rest of my life, as the directories and such are updated.

Perhaps there is some provision in federal law that requires that such things be sent in paper form.  Or maybe BCBS of MA makes this decision on its own.

But, really, can't we get beyond this wasteful practice and just have these documents available on a website? Or, at least, give a subscriber the option to receive them electronically?

Addendum:  BCBS sent me a reply on Twitter:  "We share your frustration, mailings like this are required to be printed & sent. We'll continue to explore paperless as allowed."

Thanks, folks!


dennis byron said...

"I fear that I will now get the same package once a year for the rest of my life, as the directories and such are updated."


It's worse than that: I believe they now have to send you an errata sheet/addenda sheet any time something changes during the year. In addition to the changed pages there will be an instruction letter telling you how to insert the changed page into the formulary/directory/EOB and a cover page telling you what the change(s) is/are and either another page or a paragraph telling you that all of this meets the paperwork control rules of the Federal government.

If you are new to Medicare you may not know that you will also get a seven page mailing every month telling you that you paid $4 for your simvastatin (fill in your own generic drug of choice) but because Target and whomever makes simvastatin have a side deal, your Medicare Advantage plan covered nothing.

(By the way, I think it important that insurance plans tell you of changes -- and that it should be very difficult for them to make a change during a plan year -- but an email would suffice. Like all of Medicare, public Part C is mired in the last century. It keeps a lot of postal employees working though.)

Tom said...

You are spot on... How about the annual PDR that gets sent both to my home and office (and to those of every other doc in America), weighs perhaps 5 lbs. and is hardly ever even opened? All of it can be online, and we'd save a forest or two!