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What we love/hate in 2016… about Platinum plans

This is part of a series of posts to help clients understand the differences between the carriers and plans, and to make the best plan choice for their family in 2016. Maybe “like” and “dislike” are better categories, but what is the Internet for, if not strong opinions?

“Platinum” level PPO and HMO plans certainly sound like the top tier options, and they are. But do these plans make financial sense? There is no difference in the number or quality of providers you get when you buy a Platinum plan from a carrier vs. their Gold, Silver or Bronze option using the same network. And there isn’t an added set of covered benefits/medical conditions. So who is buying Platinum plans in 2016?

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What we love/hate in 2016…about Anthem Blue Cross

This is the first in series of posts to help clients understand the differences between the carriers and plans, and to make the best plan choice for their family in 2016. Maybe “like” and “dislike” are better categories, but what is the Internet for, if not strong opinions?

Anthem can be frustrating at times, but we like some of the things they are doing in 2016.

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Blue Shield of CA announces new 3-year agreement with UC Health System

Earlier today, Blue Shield of California notified all of their agent partners of some unexpected news, expanding in-network access to large number of doctors, specialists, hospitals and facilities:

Blue Shield of California reaches new three-year agreement with University of California Health System (UC Health) effective July 1, 2015

Blue Shield of California has reached a new network agreement with the University of California providers, which includes the following hospitals and IPA/medical groups:

• UC Davis Medical Group
• UC Davis Medical Center
• UCLA Medical Group
• Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and UCLA Medical Center Santa Monica
• UC Irvine Medical Center
• UCSD Medical Group
• UCSD La Jolla and UCSD Hillcrest
• UCSF Medical Center (Parnassus, Mt. Zion, Mission Bay) and Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute
Blue Shield and UC Health have agreed to three-year HMO/PPO contracts, effective July 1, 2015. In addition, effective July 1, 2015, the University of California Health System providers will participate in Blue Shield’s Individual and Family Plan (IFP) Exclusive PPO Network and IFP EPO Network with Covered California on-Exchange and off-Exchange directly through Blue Shield.

UC Health providers have long been a valued part of our network, providing high-quality care to our members in these markets. We are pleased that we have maintained and expanded our network relationship with UC Health.

Anthem to announce two years of free credit monitoring and identity protection services

Tomorrow morning, Friday February 13th, Anthem will issue press releases and begin notifying current and former members whose personal data was compromised in the recent data breach. Members do not have to wait to be notified by U.S. Mail – details will be provided on February 13th at www.anthemfacts.com

Starting this Friday, Feb. 13, current and former Anthem members whose information was included in the database that was compromised, can visit AnthemFacts.com to learn how to enroll in two years of free credit monitoring and identity theft repair services provided by our vendor – a leading and trusted identity protection provider.Members can access these services starting Friday, Feb. 13, prior to receiving a mailed notification from Anthem, which will be sent in the coming weeks.

The free identity protection services provided by Anthem include two years of:

  • Identity Repair Assistance:  Should a member experience fraud, an investigator will do the work to recover financial losses, restore the member’s credit, and ensure the member’s identity is returned to its proper condition. This assistance will cover any fraud that has occurred since the incident first began.
  • Credit Monitoring: At no cost, members may also enroll in additional protections, including credit monitoring. Credit monitoring alerts consumers when banks and creditors use their identity to open new credit accounts.
  • Child Identity Protection:  Child-specific identity protection services will also be offered to any members with children insured through their Anthem plan.
  • Identity theft insurance:  For individuals who enroll, the company has arranged for $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance, where allowed by law.
  • Identity theft monitoring/fraud detection: For members who enroll, data such as credit card numbers, social security numbers and emails will be scanned against aggregated data sources maintained by top security researchers that contain stolen and compromised individual data, in order to look for any indication that the members’ data has been compromised.
  • Phone Alerts:  Individuals who register for this service and provide their contact information will receive an alert when there is a notification from a credit bureau, or when it appears from identity theft monitoring activities that the individual’s identity may be compromised.

Industry standards under similar circumstances are to provide credit monitoring services for one year; however, we are exceeding these standards and providing  these identity protection and credit monitoring services to all impacted members fortwo years, in response to your concerns. This has been our priority from day one, to be transparent, protect your data and to give our members peace of mind.

We have been working to arrange for these credit monitoring and identity theft protection services since the attack on our systems was discovered. Doing so has required enormous efforts and commitment of resources to ensure that our vendor can accommodate what we anticipate will be very high demand for these services. It was essential that we work with the vendor to develop the infrastructure to handle a high volume of calls and web traffic, and to train representatives to accurately answer questions from our members. Our goal is to provide peace of mind, while minimizing frustration for our members. We are able to provide these services 11 business days after discovery of the attack.

 

Hacked – What current and former Anthem subscribers should know today

These three articles directly address most of the questions we have received since yesterday’s news that an Anthem database was breached, possibly disclosing personal information of tens of millions of current and former subscribers.

Anthem members can expect letters in two weeks (USA Today)

Anthem members who had allowed the company to communicate with them electronically received emails on Thursday containing preliminary information about what had occurred

What to do right now if you are one of the 80 million who got hacked (Bloomberg News)

• Watch for bogus billing
• Google yourself
• Start reading the mail you trash

Why hackers are targeting the medical sector (Washington Post)

The information can be used to impersonate hacking victims to obtain medical care or to purchase expensive medical equipment such as motorized wheelchairs. It often takes health-care providers longer to detect this type of fraud than credit card companies or banks, which are constantly looking for inconsistencies that could signal a problem.

Health Net makes it easier to make payments online

Missing a health insurance premium payment could be disastrous under recent health care legislation. Consumers do have a 30-day grace period to pay their monthly premium (90 days if purchased through Covered California).  But failure to pay can lead to cancellation of coverage, with no option to reinstate or apply for new coverage outside of the annual open enrollment period.

We are pleased to see Health Net provide multiple ways and clear instructions for individuals and families to make their premium payment:

  • Online at healthnet.com
  • By phone (24 hours): 800-539-4193
  • Cash/debit card at participating Walmart stores
  • By U.S. Mail, using the payment coupon from your invoice

See this handy chart for details.

Anthem Data Breach: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

The FAQ’s below were provided directly by Anthem Blue Cross, and are re-posted here for our clients:

Was my information accessed?

Anthem is currently conducting an extensive IT forensic investigation to determine what members are impacted. The Anthem teams are working around the clock to determine how many people have been impacted and will notify all Anthem members who are impacted through a written communication.

What information was compromised?

Anthem’s initial investigation indicates that the member data accessed included names, dates of birth, member health ID numbers/Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and employment information including income data.

Was there any diagnosis or treatment data exposed?

Anthem’s investigation to date indicates there is no evidence that medical information, such as claims, test results, or diagnostic codes were targeted or compromised.

Was my credit card information accessed?

Anthem’s investigation to date indicates there is no evidence that credit card information was compromised.

Do the people who accessed my information have my Social Security number?

Anthem’s investigation to date indicates that the information accessed included names, dates of birth, member health ID numbers/Social Security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information. Anthem is working to determine whose Social Security numbers were accessed.

How can I sign up for credit monitoring services?

All impacted members will receive notice via mail which will advise them of the protections being offered to them as well as any next steps.

When will I receive my letter in the mail?

Anthem will continue working to identify the members who are impacted. We expect the mailing of letters to begin in the next two weeks.

My children are on my insurance plan, was their information also accessed?

Anthem is currently conducting an extensive IT forensic investigation to determine which members are impacted; however, adults and children were impacted.

Do the people who accessed my information know about my medical history?

Our investigation to date indicates there was no diagnosis or treatment data exposed.

Do the people who accessed my information have my credit card numbers and banking information?

No, the investigation to date indicates that information accessed did not include credit card numbers, banking or other financial information.

Has anyone used my information yet?

We are not aware of any fraud that has occurred as a result of this incident against our members

Am I at risk for identity theft?

Anthem is currently conducting an extensive IT forensic investigation to determine which members are impacted. We are not aware of any fraud that has occurred as a result of this incident against our members, but all impacted members will be enrolled in identity repair services. In addition, impacted members will be provided information on how to enroll in free credit monitoring.

Do I need a new member ID card and number?

Anthem is working around the clock to determine how many people have been impacted and will notify all who are impacted. Anthem will provide further guidance on next steps.

How can I be sure my personal and health information is safe with Anthem, Inc.?

Safeguarding its members’ personal, financial and medical information is a top priority for Anthem, and because of that, they have a state-of-the-art information security system to protect the data.

Anthem has contracted with Mandiant – a global company specializing in the investigation and resolution of cyber attacks. Anthem will work with Mandiant to ensure there are no further vulnerabilities and work to strengthen security.

What is Anthem doing to help members potentially affected by this incident?

All impacted members will be enrolled in identity repair services. In addition, impacted members will be provided information on how to enroll in free credit monitoring.

Where is the data now? And who can access my information?

Evidence indicates that the data was uploaded to an external file sharing service. This file sharing service, at Anthem’s request, has locked down the account and data so that it cannot be copied, accessed or removed. Anthem and the FBI are working with the file sharing service to access the data and further secure it.