Blue Shield of CA will mail out letter this week to about 80,000 individuals and families, notifying them that the plans scheduled to be terminated December 31, 2013 would be extended — at the policyholder’s option — for another three months, to March 31, 2014.
Chris Rauber of the SF Business Times was one of the first to report the story. The San Jose Mercury News and Kaiser Health News also have coverage on why the state forced Blue Shield, and not other carriers, to comply. Meanwhile, Anthem Blue Cross is being sued by two policyholders over their plan cancellations.
How this affects you: Blue Shield rightly cautions policyholders to carefully consider whether they want to take advantage of current plans/rates through the end of March. There are three primary reasons to still consider switching to a new plan January 1st :
- If you are a Blue Shield policyholder with health issues that put you into Tier 2 or higher rates, or a HIPAA/conversion plan — your rates will likely get better with a new plan in 2014.
- If your household meets the criteria to qualify for a tax credit in 2014 – you can not claim the tax credit if you stay with your 2013 plan.
- Your PPO plan deductible is based on the calendar year. If you spend dollars towards your deductible in early 2014 on your old plan, those dollars will not transfer when you do switch to a new plan.