We have received notification
of a rate increase effective Feb 1st, 2007. This is a good time to
investigate options across the market. Your rates and notification will be
arriving in the next 1-2 weeks. Here are things to look for:
strength. Avoid second tier
carriers. Cross and Shield are the two strongest carriers...especially for
PPO plans. Health Net is fine for HMO but not as strong for PPO.
They consistently roll out copies of Blue Cross' new PPO plans and then the
rates/benefits significantly change 6-12 months later. Pacificare is
more difficult now since their acquisition by United. They should be
alright for HMO but PPO is similar to Health Net.
Underwriting. Qualifying for
health insurance is based on health. We may only be able to downgrade
coverage if we have health conditions. Please let me know your
current/recent situation and I will try to give guidance. Health Net and
Pacificare tend to be more strict in terms of underwriting. For a straight
downgrade in coverage within Blue Shield, you can complete the
Transfer form and fax
or mail it to our attention.
Be careful as there are new plans that are not
comprehensive. They tend to exclude brand name medication which is
becoming a major (can be 10's of thousands of dollars) expense. Maternity
may not be covered but keep in mind that maternity costs only affect you if you
are in an age band impacted (20's-30's primarily). The HSA compatible
plans offer a low-cost, comprehensive plan option where all covered benefits are
subject to the main deductible. I would be happy to walk through your
particular situation. There are many options and we can break down the
differences to help simplify your comparison. Shield does have some new
plans as downgrade options.
You can run an
Make sure to select Feb 2007 as your requested start date so that you
have the new rates. Applications, downloadable and online are
here for other carriers. Doctor
listings are available
here. If there is a particular doctor you
see, it might be easiest to call the office and ask if they are a participating
PPO (or HMO) provider for the carrier you are interested in.
listed in our year end email, below are helpful sections but the best approach
may be to have us look at your situation and make recommendations. As your
independent agent, please let us know how we can help.
Dennis Jarvis Andrea Goodacre Jarvis