Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) has announced it will issue $200 million in health and wellness retail cards to more than 600,000 eligible subscribers, or households, across the state. The cards will be pre-loaded with funds that will help many North Carolinians pay for health, wellness, and household expenses, including food, during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Eligible subscribers are those enrolled in individual under 65 and fully insured medical, vision, and dental employer plans. The health and wellness retail cards are not applicable to the following plan types: Medicare, Federal Employee Program (medical, vision or dental products), Student BlueSM, State Health Plan and self-insured group medical plans. Eligible customers can expect to receive their cards in the mail between October 19 and November 7, with a balance between $100 and $500, depending on the products they are enrolled in.
The health and wellness retail cards can be used for health-related expenses such as over-the-counter medications, food, first aid supplies, baby care items, exercise equipment, vitamins and more at a variety of retailers including Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Dollar General and Family Dollar. The cards cannot be used to pay for insurance premiums, prescription drugs, tobacco, alcohol, or firearms.
Blue Cross NC can fund these health and wellness retail cards for the direct benefit of its members from monies received from the federal government following litigation related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) temporary risk corridor program. Blue Cross NC has applied the remaining risk corridor funds to help keep 2021 rates for many of its customers lower.