Premera Blue Cross recently announced a major change coming in its in-network providers. Will you be affected? Read about the change and what you can do.

Change is brewing, and it comes in the form of Premera Blue Cross.

As of January 1, 2017, Premera Blue Cross will no longer support Providence Health & Services as in-network providers. As the Northwest’s largest insurance provider, Premera’s move is significant: thousands will inevitably be affected. Providence comprises significant healthcare across the Northwest, including Providence Health and Services, Swedish Health Services, Pacific Medical Centers and Kadlec Regional Medical Center. In fact, since Providence took over Swedish in 2012, Providence has grown into the Northwest’s third-largest medical provider.

So, what’s next? Right now, nothing. While Providence is indeed large, it is only the third-largest healthcare provider in the region. Some of the many award-winning options, Evergreen, UW Medicine, and Virginia Mason, offer a robust range of services at in-network prices. Plus, Virginia Mason is the official healthcare provider of the Seahawks – what more do you need?

You have a few months to soak it in. Come November, you’ll be able to compare and review the updated Premera Blue Cross network; you can also take the opportunity to review competing health insurance providers and their networks. Most importantly, you have the entire Open Enrollment period (November 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017) to weigh your options and decide the best health insurance for you, your family or business.

Will it still be a happy new year? Absolutely. You’ll greet 2017 prepared with either a new health insurance plan or a new plan for in-network providers.