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Blue Cross, BCN enhancing optional travel benefit for group customers.

July 6, 2022

As there has been significant interest from group customers in a travel product for a long time, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are enhancing their existing travel benefits to include a broad, optional, and configurable travel reimbursement benefit for groups who wish to purchase and provide this service to their employees.

Available group customizations include the procedure categories, travel distance for when travel benefits are available to members, and reimbursement options. The travel benefit will allow employers to cover certain travel costs when care is not available within a defined distance from a member’s home.

Air, train, bus, taxi/ride sharing services or car rental transportation costs and lodging will be reimbursable, subject to IRS limitations. Groups can request the travel benefit for any or all the procedure categories listed below:
• Abortion services
• Behavioral health services
• Cancer treatment when travel is not covered under the base benefit
• Cardiac services
• Human organ transplant for BCN members (covered under base medical benefits for Blue Cross members)
• Maternity / reproductive health services
• Musculoskeletal (MSK) procedures
• Rare condition treatment
• Transgender services, including gender affirmation treatment
• Weight reduction / bariatric procedures

This new travel benefit will be available within the next 30-60 days and may be implemented retroactively to June 1, 2022.
Important: Medical and travel coverage is dependent on state laws. Groups should consult with their legal counsel on the current applicability of state and federal laws for these services.

A few more important points:
• Approval for travel costs does not mean the underlying service has been approved. If a service requires prior authorization such prior authorization must be obtained before the travel benefit is approved.
• Members must use an in-network, participating Blue Cross provider in the U.S.
• Members must travel a minimum distance of 100 miles from their home to use the travel benefit. Groups may select a minimum distance that is greater than 100 miles.
• Members may have to attest to the need for travel.
• The new travel benefit applies to Commercial PPO and HMO and includes self-funded and fully insured groups (pending any necessary regulatory approvals).

Contact your licensed insurance agent if you have any questions.

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