Empire Blue Cross Network Option

Beginning May 1, 2021, all eligible Benefits Fund participants may choose between Oxford or Empire Blue Cross as their medical benefits administrator through the Fund.

The Empire Blue Cross option was created primarily in response to the in-network coverage gap created by Oxford when it dropped the Montefiore Health System as an in-network provider on January 1, 2021. Our partnership with Empire Blue Cross allows participants who wish to see Montefiore providers to do so on an in-network basis and pay lower out-of-pocket costs.

By default, participants are enrolled in the Oxford network when your medical coverage begins with the Benefits Fund. However, you have the opportunity to switch coverage to the Empire Blue Cross network if you wish to do so.

Your Choice

  • Empire Blue Cross
    • If you want to access Montefiore Health System providers on an in-network basis, you may want to choose Empire Blue Cross
  • Oxford Health Plans
    • If you don't need to have access to Montefiore providers on an in-network basis, you may decide to remain with Oxford. However, if you use providers or services through the Montefiore Health System, you will pay more out-of-pocket for this care 

There are absolutely no differences in your NYSNA Benefits Fund medical benefits regardless of whether you're covered by Oxford or Empire Blue Cross.

When you enrolled in the Fund, you were automatically enrolled with Oxford coverage and mailed a Network Selection Form. If you wish to switch to Empire Blue Cross, you must complete and submit the form to the Benefits Fund as soon as possible. If you choose to remain with Oxford, you don't need to do anything at this time.

Download Empire Selection Form    Submit Your Form

General Questions

Who can switch to Empire Blue Cross?

Participants employed by any Benefits Fund-participating facility are eligible to choose the Empire Blue Cross network. Participants covered by the Fund through the Bridge to Medicare program may also switch to Empire Blue Cross. The Trustees created this option primarily to allow participants who wish to see Montefiore Health System medical providers to do so on an in-network basis through Empire Blue Cross, since the Montefiore Health System is no longer in-network under Oxford.

Can I remain with Oxford?

Yes. You may continue receiving your medical benefits through the Oxford network. If you choose to remain with Oxford, you don’t have to complete the selection form and return it to the Fund.

Dependent Questions

Can my dependents be covered by Oxford and I choose Empire for myself?

No. Whatever medical network you choose for yourself will also be the medical network for all the dependents you have enrolled in the Fund.

Can I add new dependents to my coverage when I make this choice?

No. You may not enroll new dependents for coverage at this time or remove any dependents from Fund coverage.

Enrollment Questions

How can I enroll in Empire Blue Cross?

As soon as you receive your Network Selection Form in the mail, you may complete the form and submit it via the post office, fax, or submit it electronically (secure upload or e-mail). The form is also accessible to download on this page. If you don’t complete the form and return it to us promptly, your medical coverage will remain with the Fund under Oxford .

What happens if I don't fill out the Selection form?

If you don’t complete the Selection form and submit it to the Fund as soon as possible, you will remain covered under the Oxford network.

Do I have to fill out the Selection form if I want to stay with Oxford?

No. If you want to stay with Oxford, you don’t have to do anything and you’ll remain covered under the Oxford network.

Will I be able to switch later in the year if I change my mind?

No. During 2021, the Benefits Fund will be conducting a comprehensive search for a single medical network partner that meets our needs for a long-term partnership. You will receive more information later this year regarding any anticipated changes in our medical benefits provider.

Benefit Coverage Questions

If I choose Empire Blue Cross, will my benefits be different than the coverage under Oxford?

No. All of your medical benefits through the Benefits Fund are the same regardless if you're covered under Oxford or Empire. However, if you choose Empire Blue Cross, you won't have access to the Oxford network - you'll access care through the Empire Blue Cross network of medical providers.

Will I receive new medical ID cards if I switch to Empire?

Yes. You'll receive new identifications cards for you and any eligible dependents if you switch to Empire Blue Cross.

Is my doctor in-network with Empire Blue Cross?

To find out if your doctor is in the Empire Blue Cross network, you can go to empireblue.com/findadoctor. Please see instructions on how to search for a provider in the "Is Your Provider In-Network" section below.

Will I pay the same for my benefits or doctor's visits through the Fund?

Yes. All copayments and coinsurance for provider visits and medical services are the same regardless if you’re covered under Empire or Oxford. Your cost for benefits also is the same. However, if you stay with Oxford and receive services from a Montefiore Health System provider, your costs will be higher than if you see the same provider and are covered under Empire. Montefiore Health System providers are considered out-of-network under Oxford and in-network under Empire.

 

Is Your Provider In-Network?

To find out if your doctor is in the Empire Blue Cross network of providers follow these steps:

Step 1 –

Step 2 – Complete the following fields

  • What type of care are you searching for? Select “Medical”
  • What state do you want to search in?
  • What type of plan do you want to search with? Select “Medical Networks”
  • Select plan/network – Select “PPO/EPO (Employer-Sponsored)
  • Click “Continue”

Step 3 – Enter your zip code or city and then click “Physicians & medical Professional,” depending on the plan you’re searching

Step 4 – View your search results

Learn More

View Presentation

This presentation featuring Sharron Carlson, the Benefits Fund's communications representative,  provides more details about:

  • the Fund's partnership with Empire Blue Shield
  • what this partnership means to you
  • what you should consider before making a decision
  • important dates to remember
  • and much more!