My Coverage Explained

New Member? 3 Steps to Using Your Health Insurance

Are you a new member?Great! But what happens now that you have a health insurance plan?

Well, now you get to use it! We want this to be as easy as possible, so we’ve put together this handy dandy guide to help you maximize on the benefits of being a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) member.

Step 1: Look out for new member information

After you enroll in a health insurance plan you should receive the following:

  • Welcome Letter – Your letter should arrive soon after you enroll as proof that your application is complete. Keep it handy until you get your benefit info from us.
  • Phone call – You’ll get a call to confirm your information and welcome you to BCBSIL.
  • Member ID CardYour member ID card will be mailed to your home address soon after your application is approved. The ID card lists your member number, information on your plan, copays and how to contact us. Keep it on hand and show it to your doctor and pharmacist so they can update their records.
  • Policy Kit – You’ll get your policy kit either by mail or email, depending on what you chose in your application. It will outline your plan’s benefits so you know what’s covered.

Step 2: Activate your coverage

  • Pay your first bill - Your benefits won’t be active until you make your first premium payment. After you’ve paid, you can start using your insurance benefits on the first day your plan is effective (printed on your member ID card). Learn about the many ways you can make a payment.
  • Set up your online account – Once you have your member ID card, you can register for Blue Access for MemberSM (BAM)– our secure website where you can access claims information and coverage details, order a replacement ID card, find a doctor in your network and more. You can also access BAM on the go through our BCBSIL app. Download the app here!

Step 3: Use your benefits!

  • Find a doctor in your network – Always check that the hospital or doctor you want to use is in your plan’s network.  A network is the group of doctors, hospitals and other providers that we have contracted with to provide you with health care services. If you go to a provider who is not in your plan’s network, it will cost you more. To find out if your doctor is in-network or if you want to find a new one, use our online Provider Finder ®.
  • Choose a primary care physician (PCP) – If you have an HMO plan, you will need to select a PCP. PCPs are usually general practice, internal medicine family practice doctors, but they don’t have to be. Women can choose their OB-GYN, and a pediatrician can be your child’s PCP. He or she will direct all your health care, and you must get a referral from them before seeing an in-network specialist. To choose an in-network PCP, use Provider Finder.
  • Know where to get care – Now that you have health insurance, you have a variety of options of where you can get care . Your doctor’s office is generally the best place to go for non-emergency care such as health exams, colds, flu, sore throats and minor injuries. You can also consider using a walk-in retail health clinic or urgent care center  near you. Save the ER for emergencies only.  

Have questions? We have answers! Reach out to us by…

  • Calling the number on the back of your member ID card
  • Sending us a secure message through Blue Access for Members
  • Sending us a private message through Connect
  • Sending us private message on Facebook or tweet @bcbsil

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Most recent update: 1/22/2018

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