- Education, Insurance
FAQs on 2015 Healthcare Plans
If you don't currently have health insurance through Freelancers Union, go here instead!
- So, what's happening?
- What's happening to my current plan?
- What plans are you offering?
- How is my plan changing?
- How do I change my plan?
- How do I cancel my plan?
- I enrolled in a health plan for 2015, when do I get my ID?
- How should I pay my first bill for January 2015 coverage?
- How will I pay my bill in 2015?
- How do I find an in-network pediatric dentist?
- What happens if my payment is late?
- I cancelled my 2015 health insurance coverage, but I still got a bill or ID in the mail.
- I made changes to my plan, when will my bill be updated?
- Why are your new plans HMO instead of PPO?
- Why are you making this change?
- Why did you choose Empire?
- How can I contact you?
- Why am I being automatically enrolled in a new plan? (for PPO and Value Plans)
- What plan will I be rolled into?
- So who will my bill come from? What will my insurance card say?
- What's my rating region?
- Will I be able to keep my doctor if I am rolled over from Freelancers Insurance Company to an Empire plan?
- Are you going to be on the Obamacare Exchange?
- How do I know if I qualify for a subsidy?
- What happens if I qualify for a subsidy?
- Is my insurance going away?
- I would like to opt out of the rollover.
- I’m currently enrolled in the Freelancers Medical primary care practice. What happens to that?
- Why is the rate for plans with Freelancers Medical higher than the normal plan rates?
- Will out-of-network coverage be available?
- Me or someone on my plan is in the middle of a serious medical issue or has a chronic medical issue that needs attention. Who should I call?
- What are the important dates I need to know?
So, what’s happening?
Freelancers Union is teaming up with Empire to offer new health plans in 2015. We’ll help you find the best plan for you and your family.
What’s happening to my current plan?
Your plan will remain exactly the same through December 31st.
Starting on January 1, 2015, Freelancers Union will be teaming up with Empire to offer you a comparable plan at a better value than we’d be able to provide on our own under new federal healthcare reform requirements. We’ve already selected the plan that’s most like your current one, so as long as you pay your new premium, you won’t have any gap in coverage. Visit freelancersunion.org/2015plans for more details on the plan we suggested for you.
What plans are you offering?
Here are the plans we'll be offering in 2015. You can see a side-by-side comparisons of all our plans here (PDF).
Platinum 200 with Freelancers Medical
Gold 1000 with Freelancers Medical
Silver 2450 with Freelancers Medical
Bronze 5600 with Freelancers Medical
How is my plan changing?
All of the plans offered by Empire meet new federal healthcare reform requirements, so they’ll limit your out-of-pocket expenses and will include coverage for essential items like brand name prescriptions. For many of our members, your total out of pocket costs will go down.
We’ve utilized Empire’s network of doctors for the past six years, so while there will be some changes to your network, many doctors and hospitals will still be included. Follow the instructions here to find an in-network provider. The Empire network is called Pathway HMO Plus. You can also call your doctor and ask if they accept Pathway HMO Plus.
Out-of-network coverage is also limited to emergencies.
Confused by the vocabulary? Go here for a glossary of insurance terms.
How do I change my plan?
Follow the instructions here.
How do I cancel my plan?
You can discontinue your insurance coverage for 2015 online:
1. Go here and log in.
2. Select "Manage My Insurance" from the "My Account" dropdown. You may be prompted to create a new, secure password.
3. Select "Change or Add a Plan."
4. Select “Discontinue Insurance” from the "Coverage" dropdown.
5. Select Health and press “Discontinue Coverage” .
6. Your cancellation will take 48-72 hours to process. You will receive an email confirmation. You do not need to call to confirm.
I enrolled in a health plan for 2015, when do I get my ID?
If you were enrolled in a 2015 health plan through Freelancers Union by December 15, you will receive a card from Empire BlueCross BlueShield around January 1, 2015. If you enrolled in a plan or changed your plan after December 15, you will get an updated card later in January.
Please note that if you signed up for a plan through Freelancers Union but do not pay for your January coverage by December 31st, your enrollment in an Empire plan will be canceled, but you will still receive a card in the mail. However, this card will be inactive and you will not have coverage.
How should I pay my first bill for January 2015 coverage?
For New Enrollees:
If you recently enrolled in a 2015 plan, you paid at the time of enrollment and are all set for January 2015.
For Prior Freelancers Insurance Company Enrollees:
If you are enrolled in a PPO1, PPO2, PPO3, or Value1 and Value2 plan through Freelancers Insurance Company, you will automatically transition into a 2015 plan as long as you pay your bill. The deadline to pay is December 31st for January coverage, so make sure you pay as soon as possible by logging into the insurance portal or calling 800-856-9981.
If you are signed up for auto-EFT, the payment will be drafted from your account on December 31. If you receive paper bills, your check and payment coupon must be received by December 31.
How will I pay my bill in 2015?
If you enrolled in a 2015 plan on Freelancers Union’s website, you will still enroll and pay bills through Freelancers Union. You can pay your bill online or set up automatic payments by logging into the insurance portal and clicking “Pay My Bill”. You can also call 800-856-9981 or mail in a check with your payment coupon. Empire BlueCross BlueShield will provide the insurance, and manage and pay claims. Empire BlueCross BlueShield’s name will also be on your insurance card.
If a Freelancers Union representative enrolls you directly with Empire, you will receive your bills directly from Empire.
How do I find an in-network pediatric dentist?
You can find pediatric dentists by visiting this link. Select New York as your state and select Dental Prime as your Plan/Network. Then press Select and Continue. On the following screen, select Pediatric Dentistry as the Specialty. You can then search by either proximity to your area or name.
What happens if my payment is late?
If your payment is not received by December 31, 2014, your enrollment in an Empire plan will be canceled. You will be able to enroll in a plan all over again, but your coverage will not start until February or March, depending on when you enroll.
I cancelled my 2015 health insurance coverage, but I still got a bill or ID in the mail.
If you canceled your coverage for 2015 after December 15th, you may still receive a card in the mail, but you will not have coverage and will not be able to use the card.
Health insurance bills for January 2015 coverage were sent in early December based on the information we had in our system at that time. If you recently canceled your insurance, your bill will be updated to reflect the cancellation.
I made changes to my plan, when will my bill be updated?
If you make changes to your plan your bill will be updated within a few days of the change. You will not be sent a notice of the updated bill, but you can see the updated amount due in the billing section of the insurance portal after it’s been processed. To view this, log in and click “Pay My Bill.”
**Why are your new plans HMO instead of PPO? **
In 2015, the vast majority of plans in New York are HMO, and we won't be offering a PPO in 2015. We anticipate that there will be no or very few PPO plans on the Exchange in 2015.
The truth is that the ACA completely changed the healthcare landscape. There are some great things about that and some new challenges: out-of-network coverage (a basic plan feature of PPOs) is definitely one. We're working to make sure our members get the best coverage possible -- we're constantly in conversations with regulators and policymakers to bring up the challenges our members are facing. This out-of-network issue is definitely one we're looking at closely.
On HMOs, out-of-network coverage is limited to emergencies. However, HMOs offer additional protections for emergency room visits and have high standards for quality of care. And PPO plans tend to be significantly more expensive than HMO plans.
If you have any questions about Empire's network, go here. We can help you find a doctor in the new network that meets your needs if your current doctor is not in the new network.
Why are you making this change?
Our main concern has always been the well-being of our members. When we looked at the future of our plans in the new healthcare reform landscape, we quickly realized we could offer benefits and coverage at better value to freelancers by partnering with an insurance carrier with size and scale like Empire. We estimate that rates would be 14% higher had we not formed this partnership.
Why did you choose Empire?
Freelancers Union spent months looking for the right partner who would work with us to help offer health plans for our members at the best possible value. We’ve utilized Empire’s highly-rated network of doctors for the past 6 years, and during that time they’ve shown a commitment to working with us to meet the needs of freelancers. We’re confident they’ll continue to be great partners as we work together to make sure you and every other freelancer can get high quality, affordable healthcare.
How can I contact you?
Our goal is to make it as easy as possible to get the answers you’re looking for.
Email is the easiest and fastest way to get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or you can call us at 800-856-9981. Press the “pound” sign (#) to be connected to an expert who can help answer your questions.
Why am I being automatically enrolled in a new plan? (For PPO and Value Plans ONLY)
We are selecting new plans with Empire for our members that best match their current plans. We know that the process of selecting a new plan can be stressful, and we are helping our members take the guesswork out of the process to ensure that you don’t have a gap in coverage come January 1.
This is only a preliminary selection, however, and you will have plenty of time to select a new plan, opt out, or just ask questions before and during the open enrollment period that starts November 15. You will only be enrolled in the new plan we selected for you beginning January 1st if you make a payment for the coverage.
What plan will I be rolled into?
Follow the simple prompts at freelancersunion.org/2015plans to view the plan we suggest for you. We will also mail you more information about this plan during October. This plan is comparable in premium and benefits to your current plan. If you’d like to choose a different plan, you simply need to log into freelancersunion.org during the open enrollment period that starts November 15.
So who will my bill come from? What will my insurance card say?
For almost all of our members, you will still enroll and pay bills through Freelancers Union. Empire will provide the insurance, and manage and pay claims. Empire’s name will be on your insurance card.
What's my rating region?
Your premium rates vary by New York State region. To see what region you belong to, refer to this map:
Will I be able to keep my doctor if I am rolled over from Freelancers Insurance Company to an Empire plan?
The network for our 2015 plans is called the Pathways Enhanced Network. Many of the doctors in your network will remain the same. To find out if your specific doctor is covered, go here and follow the instructions.
Are you going to be on the Obamacare Exchange?
Empire a has a number of plans available on the Exchange and we can help you access one of those plans if you’d like. If you’re eligible for a subsidy, call us at 800-856-9981 and we can help you apply a subsidy to one of our plans.
How do I know if I qualify for a subsidy?
It’s easy to find out. Use this calculator on the NY State of Health website.
What happens if I qualify for a subsidy?
Most of our plans through Empire BlueCross BlueShield are available on the Exchange, which means you can apply a subsidy towards your premium costs. Call us at 800-856-9981 and we can help!
Is my insurance going away?
No. Your current Freelancers Insurance Company plan will remain active until December 31, 2014. After that, most members will be automatically enrolled in a comparable plan from Empire BlueCross BlueShield plan that Freelancers Union has vetted and endorsed. If you are not being automatically mapped you will receive communications from us with more information on how to ensure continuity of care.
I’m currently enrolled in the Freelancers Medical primary care practice. What happens to that?
Freelancers Medical will continue to be an important part of our members’ health care experience. For members who are currently enrolled in Freelancers Medical, we are suggesting plans that will continue to have uninterrupted access to the practice.
The only exception to this is if you currently have a high deductible plan and are under age 30. In that instance, we know may have selected a “catastrophic plan” for you in order to keep your premiums as affordable as possible. Under federal law, the catastrophic plan is not compatible with the $0 copay program.
Why is the rate for plans with Freelancers Medical higher than the normal plan rates?
The rate is slightly higher to cover the cost of access to our $0 co-pay Freelancers Medical primary care locations where you can access a range of medical services, as well as health and wellness classes and lots more.
Will out-of-network coverage be available?
As with most individual insurance plans available in New York under the new ACA regulations, there will be no out-of-network coverage, except for emergencies.
Me or someone on my plan is in the middle of a serious medical issue or has a chronic medical issue that needs attention. Who should I call?
We take your concerns very seriously and are here to help.
First, check the provider search on Empire’s website if you want to see if your doctors are in network. To do so, go here. We can help you find a doctor in the new network that meets your needs if your current doctor is not in the new network.
You may want to speak with your doctors about the change in your coverage. They can make sure that all necessary approvals are in place with Empire before any special services they plan to provide in January.
If your doctors are not in the network, you might be eligible to receive in-network coverage for their services for a period of time in 2015 under Empire’s “Transition of Care” policy. Please contact 800-856-9981, press the “pound” sign (#), and ask to speak to someone about transition of care.
What are the important dates I need to know?
October 1 - You will receive a legal notice in the mail about Freelancers Insurance Company
Mid-October - You will receive a paper copy of all of the information about our new 2015 plans in the mail
November 15 - Open Enrollment begins. At this time, you’ll be able to make changes to your current plan or cancel your coverage for next year
**December 15 **- Your last day to make changes to your 2015 plan. For some enrollees, your last day to enroll for January coverage
December 31 - The last day of your Freelancers Insurance Company coverage. If you do not want to be mapped into a new plan, you will need to call 800-856-9981 and press # (pound sign) to be connected to someone who can cancel your coverage.
January 1, 2015 - Your new Empire coverage begins
February 15, 2015 - Open Enrollment ends. After this date you’ll be unable to sign up for a new insurance plan unless you have a qualifying life event
Freelancers Union, Inc. (FU) is not a licensed insurance agent. Freelancers Insurance Agency, a wholly owned affiliate of FU, is a licensed health insurance producer in New York and New Jersey only. Freelancers Insurance Agency (FIA) contracts with HealthPlanServices,Inc. (HPS), a nationally licensed insurance producer. Other than in New York, HPS is acting as the insurance agent of record. In New York, FIA is the agent of record. HPS pays royalty fees to FU for the use of its intellectual property, which are used for the general purposes of FU. FU and FIA are not insurers. You should consider your needs when selecting products. FU does not make specific product recommendations for individuals. Each insurer has sole responsibility for its products.
The information on this Website about insurance benefits is a summary of applicable terms and conditions that is provided for general informational purposes only. The terms of any insurance products are governed solely by the applicable Member Contract or Policy Form. In the event of any inconsistency between information provided on this Website and the specifics provisions of the Member Contract provided by the carrier, the carrier's Contract shall govern.
Freelancers Medical is a not a health care provider. All health services provided by Collective Primary Care.