Blue Cross has
announced their annual rate modification effective March 1st.
You will be notified directly of your new rate via mail but we
have updated our quoting engine to provide the new rates which
you can access here:
Blue Cross Individual Family Quote.
Make sure to
change the requested month to March in order to bring up the new
If your rate is higher than what is listed, you may be on a
higher tier based on your health at the time of enrollment.
If you are in good health, we should try to reduce this increase
at a very minimum. We would write "Level 1 Review" across
Change of Coverage application.
You can fax or mail this complete form to me. This is the
same form used for some plan changes.
There may be many options available to reduce your rates and we
are happy to walk through them with you. During this
period, call volume is particularly high as we basically are on
the phone or email the entire day going over options. We
thank you for your patience and aim to return all calls the same
day. We are independent brokers contracted with all the
major carriers so are main concern is that you have all
available options to you. Depending on the plan change
requested, there are different forms needed which we can provide
to you via
email. We can also put
together a proposal for you via email as well.
The rates for the
Core 5000, Basic 2500, and Basic 1000 are not changing.
The Tonik plans are having vision benefits enhanced.
For those individuals on the Share 2500 for whom maternity is
not a concern, the Right Plan $40 Comprehensive is a very smart
move. There are options below this to reduce the rates but
this plans eliminates the deductible and maintains the same max
out of pocket and RX coverage.
items...some of the new Blue Cross plans on the market do not
cover maternity so if pregnancy is potentially in the future, we
would advise plans that cover it. Maternity coverage is
tied to the age band so a person in their 50's, 60's, and to
some extent, 40's will have little or no impact within a plan
that covers maternity. Blue Cross is the dominant carrier
and will prove to be the most stable of the major carriers.
Personally, my family's coverage is with Blue Cross for this
reason. Blue Shield's Feb 1st rate increase was
significant (see below). Health Net has been all over the
map and traditionally copies versions of Cross' plans only to
have the rates spiral upwards later. Pacificare is in the
middle of a transition with United health and the transfer has
been bumpy. Long term, we advise our clients that Blue
Cross will be the most stable carrier on the market. If
this changes, we will notify our clients immediately.
cost of insurance.
The cost of
health care has emerged as a political issue which will finally
receive some movement...most likely on a statewide basis first
and potentially at the federal level. The Governor
and Legislature both seem to be on the same page in moving this
forward and I would expect some manner of change in the next
18-24 months. There is still no clear indication as
to what form the change will take but it will likely resemble
the car insurance market with mandatory health insurance
(guaranteed issue regardless of health) combined with
cost-saving incentives to the individual, providers, and
carriers and an expanded government provided care for children
and families under a raised income threshold. The insured
break down into roughly three areas...people eligible for
state/federal programs such as Medicaid but not enrolled, the
"young invincibles" typically 19-45 year old health (mostly
males) who do not believe they need it, and individuals/families
who are unable to afford it. The theory is that the cost
will decrease if everyone is on board and the risks can be
spread over a wider group. Again, this is preliminary but
we will update our clients as more information is available.
Be careful of "plans" (not true insurance but association plans)
that are being aggressively SOLD on the market. They
typically have daily caps of hospital benefits (usually around
$600 against potentially $10's of thousands), holes in the
policies such as Cancer riders, and very poor claims payment
reputations. The seller of these plans will typically
bad-mouth the traditional carriers which is a tip-off. I
would rather you have legitimate coverage through another broker
than to fall for these plans. I have called the Department
of Insurance and they said that even though they receive
countless complaints, they cannot do anything because they are
domiciled in Texas and are not true insurance plans (but
association plans). Be careful.