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

Alert to Individuals who Received Tax Subsidies or APTC to Pay for Covered California Health Plans – Form 1095A

(Note: This alert relates only to Individual and Family health plans. It does not relate to Employers with group health plans, nor to Seniors with Medicare plans.)

Re: IRS Form 1095A and Form 8962

Covered California, the California health insurance exchange, will shortly be sending out a form called the IRS Form 1095A to all individuals and families who received tax subsidies in 2014 to help pay for their Individual/Family health plans. This is required by the federal ACA law (Obamacare) and will be sent out by Jan. 31st.
These forms will show, in detail, by month, the amount of APTC (Advance Premium Tax Credit or Tax Subsidy) that the recipient received in helping pay the premium for their subsidized health plans in 2014.
These individuals will be required to use this Form 1095-A to obtain information needed to complete Form 8962 (Premium Tax Credit (PTC)). They must then complete IRS Form 8962 and file it with their 2014 Tax Return by April 15.
Those who enrolled into Off-Exchange health plans need not be concerned, since they did not receive any tax credit, you will not receive a 1095A. Only those who applied for a health plan through Covered CA AND who received an APTC to reduce the premium paid, will be receiving these 1095A forms.
Those enrolled into Medi-Cal (California Medicaid), those on Medicare, and those enrolled on employer group plans are not affected by the above.

Disclaimer: We are not qualified to give tax advice. If you have any questions concerning either Form 1095A or Form 8962, please contact Covered CA, your tax adviser, the IRS or go to the IRS website links below:
www.irs.gov/uac/About-Form-1095-A
www.irs.gov/uac/About-Form-8962

Philip W Lee, MBA
Lee Health Insurance Services
www.health-insurance.com
800-286-7445

Alert: Blue Shield California Individual & Family Health Plans – Problems with Billing and Payments

(This concerns Individual and Family Health Plans either through Covered CA or Off Exchange direct from Insurance Carriers. This does not concern you if you are on Medicare or on an Employer group plan.)
We have been alerted to the fact that a good number of our clients have been experiencing payment issues with their Blue Shield individual health plans. This problem has affected members’ plans enrolled through Covered California, as well as plans enrolled outside of Covered CA (Off Exchange plans). In some cases, this has resulted in the cancellation of plans, even where clients have made timely payments.

We have discussed these payment issues with Blue Shield’s management. They are ongoing, known issues to Blue Shield. The payments issues stem from multiple factors such as:
1. Blue Shield is the only carrier that uses an outside billing vendor (one called HPS). Problems in their interface with this vendor is what caused many of their billing issues.
2. Blue Shield has been having problems in their interchange of information with Covered CA. These problems stem from an electronic file called Form 834 that is sent to Blue Shield by Covered CA containing enrollment details.
3. In cases where a member’s income or subsidy amounts have changed, there have been problems with incorrect transmittals from Covered CA. Some of these subsidy issues have to be corrected at the Covered CA level before being transmitted to Blue Shield.

We are told that Blue Shield is working on correcting these issues. In the meantime, please let us know at 925-284-2000, if we can help.

Lee Health Insurance Services 935 Moraga Road, Suite 240, Lafayette, CA 94549
Ph: 925-284-2000 Fx: 925-284-5484 plee@health-insurance.com www.Health-Insurance.com
Employee Benefits and Health Insurance

Update on Enrollment Deadlines: Extensions for OFF Exchange Plans

(Note: This alert relates only to Individual and Family health plans.  It does not relate to Employers with group health plans, nor to Seniors with Medicare plans.)

ON Exchange (Covered CA) plans:

As reported earlier, the 12/15/14 deadline has been extended to midnight Sunday 12/21/14.  Online applications only.  This applies to all Covered CA Exchange plans from Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield and Kaiser.

 

OFF Exchange plans (outside of Covered CA and direct with insurers):

Anthem:  The deadline has been extended to midnight Sunday 12/21/14.  Applications must be on paper.

Blue Shield: There are no extensions.  The deadline passed on 12/15.  (If you still want Blue Shield but do not need a subsidy, you may still apply through the Covered CA portal.  But you will still have to provide income and immigration status to the Govt.)

Cigna: The deadline has been extended to Friday 12/19/14 at 5 pm PST.

Health Net: The deadline has been extended to midnight Sunday 12/21.  Online applications only.  Applicants are encouraged to pay their initial premium by 1/1/2015, without waiting for their NOA (Notice of Acceptance).  You may use HN’s 24-hour payment line at 1-800-539-4193. You will hear the amount due as soon as HN has your enrollment in their system.

In all cases, the application extension plus the time required to process the files will impact timely receipt of the NOA (Notice of Acceptance) letters, initial premium bills, delivery of ID cards and policy descriptions.

If you need help, please call us at 925-284-2000 or email plee@health-insurance.com.

Phil Lee

www.health-insurance.com

800-286-7445

Last Minute Alert: Covered CA Deadline Extended to Dec. 21 for Individual Health Plan Enrollments

(Note: This alert relates only to Individual and Family health plans.  It does not relate to Employers with group health plans, nor to Seniors with Medicare plans.)

We just learned tonight that Covered CA, the State Health Exchange, has extended the previous deadline for Jan. 1 enrollments, from Monday Dec. 15th to Sunday Dec. 21st at midnight.  This extension applies only to Individual plans, and only to Consumer and Agent-assisted enrollments.

Covered CA also states that enrollments completed after Dec. 15th may see delays in invoicing as well as delays in proof of enrollment procedures.  To facilitate faster enrollment, they encourage submitting applications as soon as possible, but no later than Dec. 21st.

Please call us, Lee Health Insurance Services, at 925-284-2000, if we can be of assistance.

Phil

Philip W Lee MBA

Lee Health Insurance Services, BLIS Corporation

800-286-7445

www.health-insurance.com

www.yelp.com/biz/lee-insurance-services-lafayette-6

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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