CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Beginning Oct. 1, thousands of displaced workers across the state may be eligible to receive help with the cost of their health insurance coverage.

In cooperation with the State Department of Commerce and Insurance and the Department of Labor, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee will participate in the national Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) program.

The HCTC allows workers displaced by foreign industries and retirees that meet specific criteria to receive an advance federal tax credit toward the purchase of a qualified private health insurance plan.

The credit is equal to 65 percent of a monthly premium payment with the remaining 35 percent paid by the individual.

“We are pleased to be able to work with the state to help displaced Tennessee workers obtain affordable insurance,” said Vicky Gregg, president and CEO of BlueCross. “By making our qualified plans available to these individuals and their families, we can help lessen some of their current financial burdens and help prevent them from becoming part of Tennessee’s growing uninsured.”

BlueCross will provide qualified tax credit applicants with prior creditable coverage, including COBRA, a choice of two guarantee issue plans. These are policies issued to anyone regardless of health or pre-existing medical conditions.

The BlueCross comprehensive Personal Health Coverage plans provide 80/20 co-insurance (no co-payment) with options for a $500 or $1,000 deductible. The prescription drug benefits include a three-tier pharmacy plan with $10, $35 and $50 co-pays. In addition, the plans offer wellness visits and immunizations for children and adults, as well as preventive adult health screenings.

After individuals have determined their tax credit eligibility through the HCTC centers, they must call BlueCross to enroll in a personal coverage plan. When the initial premium invoice is received, the individual then formally enrolls in the HCTC program.

Once successfully enrolled, individuals will send 35 percent of their monthly BlueCross health premium to the HCTC program. The program will then submit that payment, along with the remaining 65 percent, as a complete monthly premium payment to BlueCross on behalf of the individual.

Those with questions about their eligibility or the program may call the HCTC Customer Contact Center at 1-866-628-4282, or go to the HCTC Web site at www.IRS.gov (key word HCTC).