Need insurance? Get on the bus

SC insurer to travel state selling health insurance

krupon@thestate.comSeptember 20, 2013 

BlueCross BlueShield of SC unveiled a healthcare bus for consumers with questions about the new healthcare law. It will travel to remote areas and big gathering spots such as the S.C. State Fair and football games.

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— A major S.C. health insurer Friday rolled out its latest tool to reach consumers who will need to sign up for insurance under the new health care law.

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina unveiled a 40-foot-long Safari Cheetah RV wrapped in its company name and logo that will travel the state to sign people up for health insurance.

The company is one of four that have registered with the state to sell insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Sign-up begins Oct. 1. Most S.C. residents are covered through their employers or a government program, such as Medicare. But residents who do not have insurance now will be required to obtain it or incur a tax penalty.

The RV will show up at major events that draw big crowds, such as Saturday’s Palmetto Classic football game. And it will roll into rural areas, where access to health care offices might be limited, said Terry Peace, BlueCross’ vice president for small group and individual insurance.

“It’s really an extension of our overall retail strategy,” Peace said.

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The insurer opened a retail store in Mount Pleasant four years ago as a way to reach consumers and answer questions for existing policy holders. A second retail location opened in Greenville earlier this year.

After testing the market last year with a kiosk in Columbiana Centre mall in the Harbison area, the insurer is on the cusp of opening a permanent retail store in the Columbia market, Peace said. Details were not available Friday about where that store would be located.

The RV, meanwhile, has a permanent staff of five, who are trained and licensed to sell all of the company’s insurance products.

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