Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) 2015

(This information concerns Medicare Health Plans. It does not concern you if you are either on an Employer-Sponsored Group Health Plan or an Individual & Family Health Plan)

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) 2015

(A) When is the 2015 Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)?

Once again this year, Medicare AEP will run from Oct. 15th to Dec. 7th.

You may do the following during this time:

  1. Enroll or change your Medicare Advantage plan (MA-PD).
  2. Enroll or change your Medicare Rx (PDP) plan.
  3. Enroll in a Medicare Supplement and PDP plan (the supplement is not guarantee-issue).

(B) Is Medicare Supplement Plan F going away?

Yes, CMS (Center for Medicare Medicaid Services) has announced this year that they will not allow Medicare Supplement Plan F, the most popular supplement plan, to be offered after year 2020.

However, anyone who is already on an F plan at that time will be grandfathered and permitted to keep it indefinitely.

In other words, if you think that you may ever want a Plan F, you must enroll by 2020. If you lapse your F plan before 2020, you will never be able to get it back again. Those who will turn 65 after the year 2020 will unfortunately never be able to experience the benefits of Plan F.

(C) Are rates for frozen Supplement Plan F likely to skyrocket?

Some concerns were raised that the premium for F plans may skyrocket, after 2020, due to there being no new future new entrants into the risk pool. Although this is a possibility, it is unlikely to be a cause for alarm for the following reasons: (1) Unlike under age 65 plans, supplement plans are secondary payers (Medicare is the primary payer) and not subject to the brunt of the risk. (2) In the past when older supplement plans were frozen, such as the Anthem Classic J plan, there was no great increase in rates. (3) After the freezing of Plan F, other plans like G and N will still be available, although these other plans are not as comprehensive as F. (4) Even if premiums should escalate, the Birthday rule allows members to switch to like, or downgrade, plans, guarantee-issue, every year, on their birthday month.

The practical implication is that seniors may keep Plan F and take a wait and see attitude. If rates go out of line, then simply downgrade, guarantee-issue, on their next birthday.

We would be delighted to help you find affordable solutions to your health care needs.

Phil Lee

Lee Health Insurance Services
800-286-7445

www.linkedIn.com/in/philwlee

www.Health-Insurance.com

Premium Reimbursement is a Costly Violation

(This information relates only to Employer-Sponsored Group Health Plans.  It does not concern either Medicare Plans or Individual and Family Health Plans)

Re: Premium Reimbursement by Employers (outside of an ACA-Approved Group Health Plan) is a Costly Violation

Starting on July 1st, the IRS will begin assessing a penalty of $100 a day (per employee for each affected employee) to employers who continue to pay for employees’ individual health plans.  Please click below link to this article.

http://eba.benefitnews.com/news/regulation/premium-reimbursement-is-a-costly-violation-2746335-1.html?zkPrintable=true.

We would be happy to help your company find affordable solutions to comply with local and federal requirements regarding health insurance.

Phil Lee

Lee Health Insurance Services
800-286-7445

www.linkedIn.com/in/philwlee

www.Health-Insurance.com

Last Chance to Enroll into a Health Plan in 2015

(This information relates only to Individual and Family Health Plans, not Medicare or Group plans)

If you are uninsured and do not have a special Qualifying Event, Thursday April 30th is the last day that you may enroll into an Individual Health Plan using the Govt.’s special extension by claiming that you are unaware of the uninsured penalty.

If you apply by April 30th, you will receive a June 1st effective date. Otherwise, you will have to wait until the end of the year.
In order to apply for coverage during this extended enrollment period to a plan either On or Off the Covered California health exchange, most carriers require you to do so through a certified agent. Anthem Blue Cross further requires the application to be on paper through an agent.

At Lee Health Insurance Services we would be happy to serve as your agent. As always, there are no costs, no fees for our services. The premium rates you pay are the same approved and regulated rates whomever you get them from. If you qualify, you will receive the tax subsidies that you are eligible for based on your household income.
Phil Lee
Lee Health Insurance Services
800-286-7445
www.health-insurance.com

Extended Enrollment Deadlines for Individuals

(This information relates only to Individual and Family Health Plans, not Medicare or Group plans)

For those of you who are still uninsured or who just found out from doing your 2014 tax return that you have to pay a penalty, there is still time to enroll. If you are currently uninsured and can testify that you were not aware of the penalty, you may still enroll. However, there’s not much time left. The deadlines are:

April 15th, for a May 1st Effective Date.
April 30th for a June 1st Effective Date.

In order to apply for coverage during this extended enrollment period to a plan either On or Off the Covered California health exchange, you must do so through a certified agent or broker. We at Lee Health Insurance Services (800-286-7445) would be happy to serve as your agent. As always, there are no costs, no fees for our services. The premium rates you pay are the same approved and regulated rates whoever you get them from. If you qualify, you will receive the tax subsidies that you are eligible for based on your household income.

Covered California Application Problems

We are finding that many of you trying to enroll onto Covered California online got stuck or sent off to MediCal (Medicaid). E.g. if you happen to put an Employment End Date, you would likely be sent to MediCal.
We, at Lee Health Insurance Services, have figured out the “fixes” to these issues, and would be delighted to help you resolve them in order to secure coverage from Covered California.

Very sincerely,
Phil Lee
Philip W Lee MBA
Lee Health Insurance Services
Employee Benefits and Health Insurance
800-286-7445
www.Health-Insurance.com

Anthem Blue Cross Offers Free Identity Protection Service To Those Affected By Cyber Attack

To follow up on my alert regarding the Cyber Attack of Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem is now offering to all those affected, free Identity Protection Services.
If you are a current or former Anthem Blue Cross member, you may sign up as follows:
Go to www.anthem.com/ca
On the homepage, under the “yellow shield”, click “Learn More”.
On the 4th paragraph, click https://anthem.allclearid.com/
Please read and follow the instructions carefully.
We are happy to be of service to you.
Please don’t hesitate to call us should you need help on your health plan coverage.
Phil Lee
www.health-insurance.com
800-286-7445

Cyber Attack – Letter from Anthem Blue Cross

Anthem Blue Cross asked Agents to send this email to all their current and former Anthem members. I am sharing this with all of you whether you have an Anthem plan or not.
“Anthem wants to keep you informed about its actions in response to the cyber-attack. If members have given Anthem their email address, they will get an email about identity protection and credit monitoring services. Anthem is required to send this email, due to state laws around breach notifications. The subject line of the email will be “Important Message From Anthem, Inc.” and it will direct members to visit AnthemFacts.com to sign up for credit protection services. The email will not ask for personal information. Anthem encourages all members to read the email and visit AnthemFacts.com to sign up for the services provided by Anthem.”
Phil Lee
Lee Health Insurance Services
www.health-insurance.com
800-286-7445

Fixing Obamacare at Capitol Hill

Last week, I and my fellow board members from our agents and brokers’ Association of Health Underwriters (AHU) gathered at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. to visit with Congressmen and women from both sides of the aisle to discuss issues and challenges that affect health insurance for Americans. During the past 18 months since the ACA rollout, agents and brokers exceeded everyone’s expectations by excelling in their jobs, while the Govt. Exchanges and all other entities fell below expectations. Our association has received the recognition of lawmakers and regulators, and we strive to promote a system that would be more affordable, equitable, less bureaucratic to consumers and employers, while offering more choice and competition, and reducing the burden on taxpayers.
Thank you for your feedback and concerns which I incorporated into our conversations with legislators.

Phil Lee
Lee Health Insurance Services
www.health-insurance.com
800-286-7445

Obamacare: Enroll by Sunday 2/15 or Pay a Penalty

(Please disregard this if you have an Employer Group plan or have Medicare.)

For those of you who have not already enrolled into an Individual health plan, the enrollment deadline is this Sunday Feb. 15th.
After the Feb. 15th deadline, you will have to wait until the end of the year to enroll for Jan. 1, 2016. If you are uninsured, you may also face a penalty when you file your tax return in April 2016.

Possible Extension:
For those of you applying through Covered California for an On-Exchange health plan, if you start an online application before 2/15 but are not able to complete it on that day, we, as agents, have been given an extension to help you complete it, by 2/24. This extension is not available to the public and does not apply if you do not start an application by 2/15.
If you need help, please call us at 925-284-2000 or email agent@health-insurance.com .

Phil Lee
Lee Health Insurance Services
925-284-2000
www.health-insurance.com

Anthem Blue Cross Cyber Attack

This is important enough to warrant a special blog, for those of you who are enrolled in Anthem Blue Cross health plans.
Anthem Blue Cross announced yesterday that their information system has been attacked. We do not have the details of this hack but I am sharing with you below an excerpt from the announcement that we received from Anthem:

“Safeguarding your clients’ personal, financial and medical information is one of our top priorities, and because of that, we have state-of-the-art information security systems to protect your data. However, despite our efforts, Anthem was the target of a very sophisticated external, cyber attack. These attackers gained unauthorized access to Anthem’s information technology (IT) system and have obtained personal information from our current and former members such as their names, birthdays, member ID/Social Security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information, including income data. Based on the information we know now, there is no evidence that banking, credit card, medical information (such as claims, test results, or diagnostic codes) were targeted or compromised.
Once the attack was discovered, Anthem immediately made every effort to close the security vulnerability, contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and began fully cooperating with their investigation. Anthem has also retained Mandiant, one of the world’s leading cybersecurity firms, to evaluate our systems and identify solutions based on the evolving landscape.
Anthem’s own associates’ personal information – including our own – was accessed during this security breach. We join you in your concern and frustration, and we assure you that we are working around the clock to do everything we can to further secure your clients’ data.
Anthem will individually notify current and former members whose information has been accessed. We will provide credit monitoring and identity protection services free of charge so that those who have been affected can have peace of mind. We have created a dedicated website (www.AnthemFacts.com ) where members can access information such as frequently asked questions and answers. We have also established a dedicated toll-free number that both current and former members can call if they have questions related to this incident. That number is: 1-877-263-7995. As we learn more, we will continually update this website and share that information with you. And, we developed a memo template and FAQ to help you answer questions you may receive from your clients.
We want to personally apologize to you and your clients for what has happened, as we know you expect us to protect your information. We will do everything in our power to make our systems and security processes better and more secure, and hope that we can earn back your trust.”

Please note the toll free 877 number above and the website address www.AnthemFacts.com for more information.

The following Bloomberg article (link) sheds more light on the situation 24 hours after Anthem’s initial announcement and provides helpful steps to take to monitor your own information if you are an Anthem member :
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-05/what-to-do-right-now-if-you-re-one-of-the-80-million-anthem-members-who-got-hacked

If you are an Anthem member, I share your concerns and am sympathetic to your situation, as I and my family are also in the same position. I do not have any more information than what’s reported above. If you are affected, you will be receiving more communication from Anthem shortly.
Phil Lee
Philip W. Lee, MBA
Lee Health Insurance Services
800-286-7445
www.health-insurance.com

Avoid Penalty – Deadline Feb. 15th to Enroll into Individual Health Plan

Avoid Penalty – Deadline Feb. 15th to Enroll into Individual Health Plan

To avoid a penalty, the deadline to enroll into an individual health plan is Feb. 15th, 10 days from today. If you submit an online application by that date, you will be able to secure an Effective Date of March 1st. If you miss this deadline, you may not enroll again until the end of 2015.
This deadline does not apply to you if you experience a qualifying event during the year, such as a loss of Employer group coverage, a change in family status such as a marriage, divorce or newborn, a move out of the area, etc.
If you are uninsured, or insured only with a temporary or non-creditable health plan, you may face an IRS-assessed penalty for 2015 of up to 2% of your household income. (This is up from 1% in the 2014 tax year.)
If your estimated 2015 household (MAGI or Modified Adjusted Gross Income) is between 138% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL, equivalent to roughly between $16,106 and $46,680 annual income for a single person household), you may apply to Covered California for an APTC (Advance Premium Tax Credit or Tax Subsidy) to help pay the monthly premium on a creditable health plan. If not, you may apply for an Off-Exchange health plan at the same price without a subsidy. We can help you with both. If you income is below 138% FPL (or your children below 200% FPL), then you may qualify for Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid).
Please call us at 800-286-7445 if you need help.

Philip W Lee
Lee Health Insurance Services
Employee Benefits and Health Insurance
plee@health-insurance.com
www.Health-Insurance.com

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Lee Health Insurance Services | Healthcare Insurance Agency, Individual Health Insurance, Family Health Plans, Group Medical Insurance, Small Business Health Insurance, Whole & Term Life Insurance, Dental Insurance, Health Care Reform Assistance, Covered California Insurance Exchange Plans, Medicare Supplement Insurance, Medicare Advantage, Medigap Plans, Anthem Blue Cross, Kaiser Permanente, Blue Shield of CA, Health Net, Cigna, Aetna, Contra Costa County CA, Pleasant Hill, Danville, Concord, Berkeley, Martinez, Albany, Oakland, San Ramon, Alameda, Santa Clara, Campbell, Milpitas, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Saratoga, Fremont, Palo Alto, Newark | 935 Moraga Road, Suite 240, Lafayette CA 94549 (925) 284-2000 or Toll-Free, (800) 286-7445