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Broker Guide
Blue Shield Insider

Blue Shield of California is here to stay!


As others come and go, sometimes changing their names and business practices, Blue Shield of California has remained the company you and your clients can always count on. For nearly 70 years, we've earned your trust with quality health plans, friendly service, and stability. Founded in California and dedicated to meeting the needs of Californians, the Blue Shield of California name remains true to our mission--today and tomorrow.

We're dedicated to creating the plans your clients want, along with providing the health services and resources they expect. And we've been doing it here in California longer than our competition!

We are working hard to bring you and your clients more affordable plans, more advanced programs, and more helpful resources. And you can depend on a wide range of marketing and sales support to help make selling easier!

We appreciate the opportunity to serve you, your clients and your community. Blue Shield of California is proud of our good name and we are here to stay.

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A message from our Sales Director


Dear Valued Producer,

In an effort to provide the highest possible level of support to you, we have expanded our sales team reach by adding two new sales management positions - one each for southern and northern California.

Please join me in congratulating Carol Soltero and Bronnie Smothers on their promotions to District Sales Manager in the IFP sales department. Both Carol and Bronnie have a long history with Blue Shield of California and exemplary records of success. Each has a solid understanding of the sales process, products, and services that support our various product offerings. We are sure you will find them helpful and professional, and encourage you to invite them to your office for a chat in the near future.

In their new roles, Bronnie and Carol will be responsible for the supervision, development, and ongoing growth of the sales teams in their regions. Bronnie will have field authority over the IFP sales team members from Bakersfield to the Oregon border. Carol will supervise efforts south of Bakersfield, plus the coastal area between Ventura and Paso Robles. Their primary responsibility will be to call on our producers with the regional sales managers. This offers you the opportunity to share your thoughts and comments with Blue Shield's management team first-hand on a regular basis. We will continue to use your feedback in our efforts to improve our service to you.

As always, thank you for your continued support as we work together to provide high-quality, affordable health coverage for Californians!

Respectfully,

Noel Whitman
Director of Sales
Individual & Family Plans, Medicare Supplement Plans

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IFP Plans


Four reasons why our Balance plans beat the competition

Our BalanceSM plans* help optimize benefits and costs by blending comprehensive coverage with low deductibles. They are great for families, individuals, and couples seeking physician office visits and preventive care prior to meeting the deductible. Balance plans also provide predictable copayments and generic Rx costs. Here are four reasons to recommend Balance plans right now, comparing benefit information with a top competitor's plan (as of February 1, 2008).

Benefit Balance Plans Top Competitor Plan
1. Office visits - Unlimited visits at $30.
- No need to meet the deductible.
- Limited to only three visits before the deductible is met at $30 each.
- Then, member pays 100% until deductible is met.
- Then, unpredictable coinsurance.
2. Preventive care - $30, plus no need to meet the deductible. - Not covered until after the deductible (unless one of the three office visits is used).
- Then, coinsurance of 30% instead of a fixed copayment.
3. Emergency room Not subject to deductible. Subject to deductible.
4. Generic Rx Only $10. Always more expensive - the greater of $15 or 40%.
Your level of extra help Monthly Premium for Blue Shield
Medicare Rx Enhanced Plan
Monthly Premium for Blue Shield
Medicare Rx Plan
100% $22.50 $17.90
75% $27.45 $22.85
50% $32.40 $27.80
25% $37.35 $32.75

Meet your clients' needs by recommending the Balance plan that's right for them. You'll spend less time explaining the plan limitations of competitors, so you can focus on growing your business.

Note: Balance plans do not include maternity coverage. Members who become pregnant may transfer to another lower-value plan with maternity benefits, subject to the free transfer guidelines.

Find out more about our plans and how to market them from Producer Services at (800) 559-5905.

* Underwritten by Blue Shield of California Life & Health Insurance Company and pending regulatory approval.



Now's the time to sell Blue Shield

The next few months will be one of the best times to sell Blue Shield! With some of the most competitive prices in the market today, our IFP plans will have no rate or benefit changes until July 1, 2008 - so you focus on growing your business.

Blue Shield offers your clients value with:
  • Broad choice of providers: some of the largest provider networks in California
  • Vital ShieldSM 29001 plan: our lowest-cost PPO plan with two office visits and coverage for generic prescription drugs prior to the deductible
  • EssentialSM plans2 with built-in medical, dental, and vision coverage
  • 12-month rate guarantee* for all new Individual and Family Plan clients
Plus, we offer a range of programs and services designed to support your growth:
  • Outstanding Producer Services support
  • Co-op marketing dollars
  • Training seminars
  • Online sales resources accessible 24/7

Find out more about how Blue Shield can provide the healthcare coverage your clients are looking for. Call your regional sales manager or Producer Services at (800) 559-5905 for more information.

1 Vital Shield 2900 is underwritten by Blue Shield of California Life & Health Insurance Company, and is pending regulatory approval. Vital Shield 2900 is for individuals only and does not include maternity coverage or brand name drug benefits.
2 Essential plans are underwritten by Blue Shield of California Life & Health Insurance Company, and Essential 1750 is pending regulatory approval. These plans are for individuals only and do not include maternity coverage or brand name drug benefits.
* Excludes conversion and guaranteed issue plans


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Medicare Supplement plan news


Great news! No rise in plan rates

There are two new reasons to sell Blue Shield Medicare Supplement plans!

While others are raising rates, we will not be raising Medicare Supplement plan rates in April 2008. Not only does this make our plans more competitive, but it also helps you retain your current Medicare Supplement plan clients.

With the growing Medicare market, you now have an even greater opportunity to increase your earnings by selling a Blue Shield Medicare Supplement plan to your Medicare-eligible clients.

And don't forget that all new members receive a six-month rate guarantee. So, before you sell your next Medicare Supplement plan, take a look at Blue Shield. We're committed to helping you grow your Medicare business.

Contact your Medicare Supplement regional sales manager, or call Producer Services at (800) 559-5905 to order the latest sales materials.



NEW! Welcome to Medicare Rate Savings - more ways for you to offer savings to your clients

Your Medicare clients have another reason to choose Blue Shield. They can save $10 each month on their Medicare Supplement plan rates if they are new to Medicare Part B. Effective March 1, 2008, we will offer a $10 savings* each month for 12 months on Medicare Supplement plan rates for qualifying subscribers.

To qualify, your clients must be age 65 or older, and Blue Shield must receive the application within six months of the date they first enrolled for benefits under Medicare Part B. The savings will be in effect for the first 12 months of their plan dues. The rate savings are not available to subscribers who joined our plans prior to March 1, 2008.

This Welcome to Medicare Rate Savings is available for all Medicare Supplement plans we offer. And your clients can still take advantage of our two-party rates and Easy$PaySM* payment method for additional rate savings.

If you have any questions, please contact our knowledgeable Producer Services team at (800) 559-5905, or e-mail us at producerservices@blueshieldca.com .

* Savings due to increased efficiencies from administering Medicare Supplement plans under this program are passed on to the subscriber.


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Ancillary product news


Create the total benefit solution for your client by offering life insurance

Life insurance has always been one of the most cost-effective ways to provide vital financial benefits in the event of a tragic loss. Offer your clients a complete package that includes term life insurance and health coverage at an affordable price.

It makes sense to sell individual term life insurance from Blue Shield of California Life & Health Insurance Company. We offer:
  • One application for medical and life insurance with no additional underwriting
  • Continuation of life insurance coverage beyond the termination of health insurance plan
  • Low competitive monthly rates with coverage options for ages 1-64
  • Broad range of life insurance amounts: $10,000, $30,000, $60,000 or $90,000
  • Single point of contact for billing and customer support

Why is life insurance so important?
Educate your clients about how to prepare for the unexpected. They may not know the expenses associated with the loss of a loved one, and how quickly costs can add up. For both breadwinners and stay-at-home parents, the loss of income can make it difficult to cover unexpected and ongoing monthly expenses. Some potential costs are described below.

Description Estimated cost in the first month
One-time expense
Funeral expenses $10,0001
Ongoing expenses
Housing/utilities $1,160/month2
Child care $1,093/month2
Transportation $409/month2
Estimated first month total $12,662

A $30,000 individual term life insurance policy for a 35-year-old costs $6.25 per month and offers beneficiaries additional financial protection to help manage expenses.

It's easy to add Blue Shield Life individual term life insurance every time you quote a Blue Shield individual or family health plan. For complete details on our individual term life insurance coverage, please visit Producer Connection at blueshieldca.com/producer.

1 Cost is based on the Boulger Funeral Home 2008 rate sheet.
2 Cost is based on statewide average for a two-parent family (one working) with an infant and a school-aged child from the October 2007 California Budget Project study.


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Growing your business


Auto-pay options pay off for IFP members and you

Our IFP and Medicare Supplement plan auto-pay options make it easy for your clients to enjoy the convenience and security of making payments automatically, and improves your ability to retain their business. With Easy$Pay, IFP members have payments transferred automatically from checking or savings accounts. Members may also opt to pay via credit card as well.

Clients who use auto-pay are more likely to stay in your book of business. According to our internal data, members who use automatic payment methods are more likely to renew their coverage and avoid cancellation for non-payment or late payment than those with direct billing.

New members can sign up for automatic payment on the IFP application, and current members can enroll via a standalone form at any time. Find out more from your Blue Shield representative today. The auto-pay form can be accessed at blueshieldca.com/consumer/resources/forms.sp.



More ways to earn co-op dollars

Selling Blue Shield plans just got more rewarding!

Effective January 1, 2008, our Co-op Marketing Program is offering more ways to recognize your success and more ways to grow your business. Earn additional bonus dollars when you sell Blue Shield coverage, including:
  • Rewards for Medicare HMO sales
  • Rewards for dental and vision sales

For every IFP, Medicare, or small group member sale, you earn points toward 2009 co-op dollars.

For details on this program's changes and more, please see the Advertising Resources section of Producer Connection or contact Producer Services at (800) 559-5905.


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In the news


Introducing LifeReferrals 24/7

LifeReferrals 24/7SM is the new name for the personal counseling and work/life resources portion of our health services program (formerly known as Lifepath Advisers). The new name better communicates the range of services available, as well as the convenience of around-the-clock support. LifeReferrals 24/7 provides members with referrals for in-person counseling sessions, child and elder care, managing chronic conditions, legal aid, and financial assistance. One simple phone call to (866) 543-3728 connects your clients with a team of experienced professionals ready to assist them with personal, family, and work issues.

We are committed to providing tools and services that complement the access to quality care that our plans offer. Valuable resources like LifeReferrals 24/7 and NurseHelp 24/7SM help your clients make the most of their healthcare coverage dollars, and help you build your business with more Blue Shield sales.



Producer Services update

Anthony Cabrera is one of our knowledgeable Producer Services Specialists, ready to assist you. A member of our Producer Services team since January 2006, Anthony has been helping our producers address issues with their IFP and small group clients, such as subscriber reinstatements, plan benefits, refunds, and much more.

The variety of calls received by Producer Services is a welcome part of Anthony's day. While producers may contact him with common questions, such as the status of a bill or application, Anthony enjoys researching the unique details surrounding each producer's situation and answering their question or solving their problem.

Think of all our knowledgeable Producer Services Specialists as your one-stop team for answers to all your questions! It's easy to reach them via the Producer Services e-mail box: producerservices@blueshieldca.com. Or call them at (800) 559-5905.



MVP 2008 heads for the hills!

Join us when we celebrate MVP 2008 surrounded by the elegant mountain luxury of the St. Regis Resort in Aspen, Colorado. Consistently ranked among top resorts, the St. Regis is located at the foot of stunning Aspen Mountain. We're inviting our top 100 qualifying producers, who earned at least 1,500 MVP points before December 31, 2007, to attend our MVP 2008 Conference.

Level Dates
Gold producers June 22 - 25, 2008
Diamond producers June 21 - 26, 2008

Note: Qualification period was January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2007. Trip is nontransferable; only the qualifying producer may attend with a guest. MVP attendance is by invitation only to the top 100 qualifying producers. This conference is subject to change.



Suite Deal makes a sweet impression

When we introduced the Suite Deal for small groups, we got a hit! Producers from one end of the state to the other are overwhelmingly positive about our response to the market's need for affordable plans that offer access to quality health care.

"Blue Shield is making great strides at making health insurance more affordable," says Vinny Catalano, area vice president of Sacramento's BIS Gallagher Benefit Services. "Many small businesses struggle to find and maintain their health coverage. By lowering rates and being more flexible with the enrollment requirements, I can better serve my clients. The new simplified plan designs make Blue Shield a great product to offer my clients interested in Health Savings Accounts."

Here's what producers like you told us about Suite Deal!

"Thanks! One of the first groups we're going to put into the Suite Deal is our own office! Thanks again."

"Great presentation … a 'grand slam'! I look forward to presenting the Suite Deal to my existing and prospective small group clients."

"Great stuff, I love the HSA plans!"

"Thank you for an excellent presentation and roll-out of the Suite Deal. I was impressed."

"It was a great event and, more important, you have created a package that we can really sell."

Find out about all the competitive plans available from Blue Shield. Your regional sales manager is ready to help.

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Online tools


New online Sales Activator!

Our new Sales ActivatorSM  gives you online access to effective tools to help market your business and attract more sales. You can order a variety of Blue Shield marketing materials that you can customize and purchase for your marketing needs. Discover how easy it is to personalize your campaigns, use and track co-op marketing dollars, download sales materials, get helpful tips, and much more.*

2008 co-op dollars are now available on Sales Activator.SM Visit Sales ActivatorSM  at blueshieldca.com/salesactivator or call your regional sales manager for more information.*

*Terms and conditions apply. Please call (415) 229-5540 for more information.



Apply online!

Our Online Quote and Apply  tool puts sales on the fast track, cutting processing time by two-thirds. When you go online to submit applications, you'll find plenty of advantages:
  • Application status - You can check on your paper and online applications 24/7.
  • E-mail alerts - We'll notify you when your prospect registers at our site.
  • E-mail messages - We remind applicants about completing and re-submitting incomplete applications.
  • Credit for every sale - Your name and phone number are prominently displayed on each page of the online application, personalizing every step of your client's experience.

Our latest studies show that the average turn-around time for applications submitted online is three times faster than paper applications submitted via mail or fax. Complete online applications are usually processed within 24 hours! "Complete" applications are those that provide all the required information.


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