01 Oct 2013

Health Care Reform – Time to Review Your Options

01 Oct 2013

The new health insurance marketplaces are open for business, starting today. This is a time of tremendous change, and we are all getting bombarded with information — from the media, from insurance carriers, and soon from California’s own health insurance marketplace, Covered California.

We are here to help you review your 2014 health insurance options. The first piece of guidance: please be patient. Though the October 1st date is highly touted, it essentially is a “soft opening” for Covered California. Have you ever been to a restaurant’s soft opening? Sure, it’s kind of fun, and maybe you pick up some bragging rights. But the wait staff is still learning the menu. And the alcohol license is still pending, the chef is still experimenting with a few dishes, and you wait an hour for your entree to arrive. We recommend that you NOT participate as a “beta tester” for this massive new online health application system in the first few weeks. New plans don’t start until January 1, so you will not miss out.

Has your current carrier notified you that your plan will be terminated at the end of 2013? We can help you with that. Aetna and United Healthcare are leaving the California individual and family market, and other carriers such as Health Net, Blue Shield, Anthem and Kaiser are closing down a portion of their current plans, and moving many people to new, ACA-compliant plans. NOTE: Cigna clients can keep their current plans through December 31, 2014. Some clients of other carriers with grandfathered plans (in place prior to March 23, 2010) will have the option to keep their plans indefinitely.

For some of you that have been “rated up” for past health issues, or have had a family member declined for coverage, or are on an expensive HIPAA or conversion plan… make no mistake: the upcoming changes are great news for you. Medical questions will disappear from health applications, and the term “pre-existing condition” is about to leave our collective vocabulary.

Please check out some of the informational links I am including below. If you are ready, please contact my Account Manager, Carla Arriola by email or call 888-992-2244 x5 to schedule an appointment with me in October or early November. As of this morning, I am one of just 1,600 licensed CA brokers to have completed the Covered California training and certification exam, and will be helping clients review options both in the marketplace and directly with the carriers.

We know these changes create some uncertainty. Please email me your questions, and we will answer them directly, and also post common Q&A in a FAQ, on our blog, and on the Allpointe Facebook page (please “Like” us to get updates!)

Obamacare explained in under 7 minutes – Non-partisan cartoon format that does a pretty good job of explaining the effects of the Affordable Care Act.

Ten things you won’t hear about the health insurance marketplaces – From Marketwatch,¬†yesterday. Some of this is overstated, but most of it is excellent analysis.

NPR: Getting Personal with your Exchange Questions – With audio, answers a few good questions from readers.

Covered California premium calculator – Depending on household income, and whether you have access to an employer-based plan, you may qualify for “Advance Premium Tax Credits” — reducing the cost of your monthly premiums. You’ll need to estimate your 2014 modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) to get an accurate estimate of the tax credit.

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