Vox.com has released some details about Idaho Blue Cross' plans for new, non-ACA health insurance plans. As mentioned in my blog post of February 1, Blue Cross received legislative approval to offer skinnier and less expensive health insurance plans to individuals & families.
Apparently the five new plans will be dubbed "Freedom Blue" and will come in between 25%-50% cheaper than Obamacare plans. From what I am reading, it appears that the plans will have some new provisions as well...
Up to 50% rate up for applicants with health conditions
Pre-existing conditions exclusions for those who fail to maintain prior coverage
Lifetime maximum benefits $1,000,000
There will likely be issues between Idaho and the federal government.
Aetna is currently being investigated by the California Dept of Managed Healthcare (DMHC) and the California Dept of Insurance (DOI) in relation to recent testimony in a lawsuit.
"The Department of Managed Health Care, which regulates the vast majority of health plans in California, said Monday it will investigate Aetna after CNN first reported Sunday that one of the Hartford, Conn., company's medical directors had testified in a deposition related to the lawsuit that he did not examine patients' records before deciding whether to deny or approve care. Rather, he relied on information provided by nurses who reviewed the records — and that was how he was trained by the company, he said."
"In an emailed statement Monday, Aetna did not directly address the question of case reviews by non-physicians. It said its "medical directors review all necessary available medical information for cases that they are asked to evaluate. That is how they are trained, as physicians and as Aetna employees." It added, "adherence to those guidelines, which are based on health outcomes and not financial considerations, is an integral part of their yearly review process."
Blue Shield CA has made changes to the discount programs available to California Seniors going onto or already on Medicare Supplement coverage.
There are currently two discounts available.
1. New to Medicare premium discount of $25 per month for the first twelve months from original Part B effective date. Another $3 available if paying by Easy$Pay. This discount applies to plans A, C, D, F & G. Does not apply to plans N nor HD F.
2. Household Savings Program discount of 7% for two party enrollments.
In the past, the two party discount and New to Medicare discount could not be combined and the optimal setup was to separate spouses for at least the first year. Now couples can enjoy both of the discounts at the same time.
The ability to combine these discounts makes for great premium savings.Call or email for a free quote and information.
Legislators in Idaho have approved a plan to allow insurers to offer residents alternative health insurance that is not compliant with the ACA (ObamaCare).
These types of plans would likely resemble plans we saw in California prior to the implementation of ObamaCare--Tonik, RightPlan, ClearProtection, SmartSense. Insurance carriers would still be required to offer ObamaCare-Compliant health plans for those who wish to enroll.
"The Idaho plan would make it possible for insurance companies to offer cheaper plans that might be more attractive to people who have to buy their own insurance and do not benefit from the federal premium subsides offered under the Affordable Care Act. The catch is that those plans would be skimpier."
With the removal of the mandate to purchase ObamaCare in 2019, Idaho, and other states, fear massive rate increases as younger, healthier people opt to forego buying expensive health plans.
For insurers as well as states, the mechanics involved would be cumbersome and expensive federal fines could be levied for non-compliance.
In one email, Cameron said Idaho will not penalize carriers for offering plans that don't comply with federal law, but the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services can penalize insurance providers as much as $100 per insured, per day.
California millennials are entering their prime earning and acquisition years. Many millennials are choosing to explore business startups and self employment, as well as testing the job market.
In some cases millennials may not have access to health insurance coverage through an employer. This leaves the options of purchasing private health insurance, setting up a small employer benefit plan for your startup/business, or choosing to go without health insurance. Statistically about 25% of California's uninsured population is made up of millennials between 26-34.
When I look at health insurance for millennials, I look at three things: Quality, Affordability and Technology. New players are entering the market with health insurance products designed for the Millennial Generation.
For millennials choosing to purchase private health insurance either through Covered CA Marketplace or in the private market, I rank the top five below. The first four represent the best affordability and technology in order.
Oscar Health (EPO) Kaiser Permanente (HMO) Anthem Blue Cross (EPO) Molina Health (HMO) Blue Shield California (PPO)*
*Blue Shield (#5) is ranked because Blue Shield is the only insurance company offering state-wide PPO coverage with the national BlueCard (R) PPO network. While pricing on the high side and not particularly technology-driven, millennials with significant health conditions or who travel out of state frequently can benefit from their large open network.
For Millennials who have startup or ongoing businesses, so long as your company has at least 1 employee paid on W-2, small group employer plans are an opion. While these can be a bit pricey, tax deductibility for the employer and pre-tax premium for the employee can drastically reduce the true premium cost. For small employer groups I rank...
Kaiser Permanente Anthem Blue Cross Health Net California (for groups with cross-border employees)
A nice surprise start to the year as our California Health Insurance Blog has been recognized by the panel at feedspot.com as one of the top 30 health insurance blogs on the web. Our blog came in at #24.
We are in very good company with several well-known blogs including healthcare.gov. Our friends and colleagues at insureblog came in #22.
These blogs are ranked based on following criteria
Google reputation and Google search ranking
Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites