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CoveredCA announces plans, rates and carriers for 2015 health insurance exchange August 7, 2014

Posted by QUOTEBROKER in ACA, California Health Insurance, Health Care Reform, Health Insurance, Individual Health Insurance.
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Late last week CoveredCA, California’s state-based health insurance exchange, announced its 2015 rate increase and carriers via press release on their homepage.  You as the consumer likely have many questions. Is my health insurance rate increasing? Are we getting any new carriers on the CoveredCA exchange? In short, not much will change in 2015. First, the carriers. In 2015, the carriers that will be offered through the CoveredCA exchange will be:

  • Anthem Blue Cross of California.
  • Blue Shield of California.
  • Chinese Community Health Plan.
  •  Health Net.
  • Kaiser Permanente.
  • L.A. Care Health Plan.
  • Molina Healthcare.
  • Sharp Health Plan.
  • Valley Health Plan.
  • Western Health Advantage.

The most noticeable thing about the list is that it is exactly the same as last year’s list, with the exception of Contra Costa Health Plan which has removed itself. The action was mutually agreed upon by both carrier and exchange.  Of the remaining carriers, the vast majority of the business went to the top 4- Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, Health Net, and Kaiser Permanente.  The remaining carriers are regionally based without a statewide offering, often limited to HMO networks. The report of the rate increase was given as a statewide weighted average of 4.2%.  This is described by CoveredCA as “a blended rate that considers both the increase or decrease in rate and the number of consumers who will receive that rate change.”  Each carrier  therefore has its own average increase, and each policy within each plan within each rating region will reflect a different increase (or decrease) percentage.  Because of this, shopping your current plan is extremely important.  While your plan may have experienced a certain increase, there’s a decent chance you may be able to do better elsewhere. Keep in mind this is the increase in the overall plan cost, not necessarily what a consumer will actually pay.  Over 85 percent of exchange members receive some kind of subsidy, and based on how subsidies are determined there is a good chance that even if your premium goes up your subsidy may also rise to compensate for the increased premium.  It’s important to recalculate what your actual paid portion is going to be rather than just what the overall premium- to which CoveredCA contributes a percentage-  for 2015 is going to look like. In the same release, CoveredCA stressed that customer feedback has caused some carriers to reconsider their networks and add physicians to broaden their appeal and service more patients in a better fashion. 2015 open enrollment begins November 15th, 2014, however you can already compare plans and rates right now. Contact us at Quotebroker at 800-783-0802 or info@quotebroker.com for a free five minute quote.

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Obamacare enrollment numbers are in- but what do they mean? May 6, 2014

Posted by QUOTEBROKER in ACA, COBRA, Employee Benefits, Group Health Insurance, Health Care Reform, Health Insurance, Insurance Quotes, Obamacare.
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Obamacare enrollment numbers are in- but what do they mean?

The Obama administration has released a report detailing the enrollment numbers from the first enrollment period.  Note that these numbers are still incomplete, as final enrollments were still trickling in from the two week grace period given to consumers who had difficulty enrolling before March 31, 2014.  The big number that has been bandied about is “eight million enrolled” citizens into Obamacare plans- but what does that number actually mean?  Vox.com issued a nice summary at the link above.

The eight million figure comprises:

  • Consumers who created a marketplace account on an exchange, whether federal or state, and enrolled in a health insurance plan
  • “enrolled” in this case means “had their information sent to the insurance company
  • Some percentage of these folks have not and will not pay for their premium- an estimated 10-15%, based on numbers recently released by AHIP– America’s Health Insurance Plans.

The figure does NOT include:

  • Private enrollments made through carriers directly outside of the marketplace
  • Medicaid enrollments
  • Group enrollments
  • Those young adults under age 26 who were eligible to enroll in their parents’ health plan

Attempting to calculate Obamacare’s true reach is extremely difficult. We can count who signed up for insurance, but we can’t determine who only signed up because the legislation caused them to lose their plan in the first place.  We can count who signed up for Medicaid, but we can’t calculate who signed up that was newly eligible based on the new Medicaid expansion rules.

We will also see these numbers fluctuate throughout the “offseason” between open enrollments.  Special Enrollment Periods, unlocked with major qualifying life events, will be used to move into marketplace plans even now that open enrollment has closed. Marriage, birth, adoption and especially job loss are common triggers of Special Enrollment Periods. The individual health insurance industry always had some degree of turnover, much of it attributable to consumers getting new jobs and leaving the individual market to join their employer-sponsored group plan.  The same will continue under the ACA, as will the reverse scenario of consumers leaving their jobs with employer-sponsored plans and entering the individual market, as the lack of pre-existing condition exclusions will allow free movement between group and individual programs. These “final” enrollment numbers released by the administration are anything but.

California will not allow President Obama’s Obamacare “fix” – Health plans scheduled to cancel as anticipated November 22, 2013

Posted by QUOTEBROKER in ACA, Health Care Reform, Health Insurance, Individual Health Insurance, Insurance, Obamacare, QuoteBroker.
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Despite the president’s wishes to the contrary, California yesterday rejected his plan to allow individuals to keep their current health plans through 2014.   In a press release, insurance commissioner Dave Jones expressed disappointment in the state health care exchange, CoveredCA, not allowing this provision to go through:

Over a millionCalifornians have received cancellation notices from their health insurer. On behalf of these policyholders I am disappointed in Covered California’s action,which denies individuals and families the opportunity to keep their existing health insurance as President Obama promised.

“Covered California rejected what President Obama and I asked for—that individual policyholders be allowed to keep their existing health insurance through all of 2014. Covered California’s decision denies Californians the same opportunity health insurers are giving to its small business customers who are being allowed to renew current policies throughout 2014.

CoveredCalifornia could have honored President Obama’s request, without causing damage to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act or the Exchange.

While one might think as insurance commissioner Mr. Jones could have had a bigger hand in this decision, California’s unique health dynamic did not allow the commissioner to make this decision unilaterally. As part of their contract with insurers, CoveredCA had stipulated that these same plans must be cancelled.  In order to allow the carriers to comply with President Obama’s new guidance on the matter, not only did Mr. Jones need to sign off on the decision, but CoveredCA needed to release the individual carriers from that provision of their contract as well.  CoveredCA declined.

President Obama’s request that insurers allow policyholders to keep their plans through 2014 has put ACA supporting insurance commissioners in a tough position. On one hand, they’d like to stand united with their president.  On the other hand, the president’s directive is a blow to the current ACA implementation, as it means millions less will sign up for the exchange policies.

If you currently have a policy in California, the strong likelihood is that it is still ending as scheduled.  Contact Quotebroker at 866-SUBSIDY to review your 2014 healthcare options, whether that may be through the state health exchange, privately direct-to-carrier, through a small group health plan, Medi-CAL, Medicare, or another healthcare option best suited to you.

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