DURHAM, N.C. (WECT) - The health and wellness retail cards BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) promised in September should be in the hands of eligible subscribers any day now.
On September 25, Blue Cross NC announced its intention to issue $200 million in health and wellness retail cards to more than 600,000 eligible subscribers or households across North Carolina.
Eligible subscribers, those enrolled in individual under 65 fully insured employer plans, including vision and dental plans, can expect to receive their cards in the mail between Oct. 19 and Nov. 7.
“We recognize the unexpected hardship and uncertainty many of our members face because of COVID-19,” said Tunde Sotunde, MD, Blue Cross NC President and CEO. “At Blue Cross NC, we are committed to the well-being of our members and we want to help them prioritize and pay for their health and wellness during this time.”
Plan types that are not eligible for health and wellness cards include Medicare, Federal Employee Program (medical, vision or dental products), Student BlueSM, State Health Plan and self-insured group medical plans.
The pre-loaded cards can be used for health-related expenses including food, vitamins, first aid supplies, over-the-counter medications, baby care items, exercise equipment and more. The cards cannot be used to pay for prescription drugs, insurance premiums, tobacco, alcohol or firearms.
The cards will arrive with a balance of between $100 and $500 (depending on plan enrollment) and can be used in a variety of retailers including Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Dollar General and Family Dollar.
The health and wellness cards are funded by risk corridor program funds; these monies were received from the federal government following litigation related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The risk corridor program was created as a back-up fund to cover any losses incurred by insurers serving people in the new ACA marketplace between 2014 and 2016.