Reminder: Annual Open Enrollment Period

(This information concerns those who are on Individual & Family health plans, and Medicare health plans. It does not concern you if you are an Employer or Employee on a Group-sponsored or Government-sponsored health plan. This information pertains only to California and may or may not apply to other states.)

This is a reminder that we are in Open Enrollment season for several lines of health insurance plans.

(A) For Those Under Age 65 on Individual & Family Plans
Annual Open Enrollment period (AEP) this year runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31.
• You may enroll into or change Covered CA On-Exchange (with subsidy) as well as Off-Exchange (no subsidy) plans.
• Competitive Rate Comparison Proposals for On Exchange as well as Off Exchange plans are now available for Jan. 1, 2018. Please let us know if you would like one prepared for you.
• On Jan. 1, Anthem Blue Cross will be terminating their Individual plans in most counties in California except for some in rural Northern California.
• If you received a cancellation notice from Anthem Blue Cross, please contact us for a proposal to show you alternative plans from Blue Shield, Health Net, Kaiser, etc.
• If you received a large rate increase, ask us for a proposal showing alternatives.

(B) For Those Seniors Over Age 65 on Medicare
• For those on Supplement plans, there is NO Open Enrollment Period. Your supplement plans do not require renewal and continue uninterrupted until you cancel it.
• For those on Supplement Plan F, CMS (Center for Medicare Medicaid Services) will prohibit new sales after Jan. 2020. But those who are already on Plan F at that time will be grandfathered indefinitely.
• For those wishing to switch from a Medicare Advantage HMO plan to a Supplement Plan, there is no Open Enrollment and no Guarantee-Issue (GI) unless you have a Qualifying Event (QE), such as a move from out of state. You will wish to review the 13 Guarantee-Issue (GI) situations in CA that you may possibly qualify for. Even if you don’t qualify, there is no penalty for applying and going through the non-GI underwriting (approval) process. Chances are good that you may still qualify based on your health. The process for this type of transition is tricky and the timing very tight. If you think you may want to do this, start this process early to give yourself enough time to receive approval. We recommend that you seek professional assistance from an experienced agent knowledgeable in this area.

(The above is meant to be informational. This information has not been approved by CMS or any regulatory agency. This is not sales material and should not be relied upon to make purchase decisions. We recommend that you consult a knowledgeable insurance agent before making any decisions.)

Phil Lee
Lee Health Insurance Services 925-284-2000
www.linkedIn.com/in/philwlee
www.Health-Insurance.com
plee@health-insurance.com
Employee Benefits & Health Insurance

The Pitfalls of Leaving Original Medicare & Supplement Plan for Medicare Advantage HMO

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

We frequently hear stories about seniors who made this change hastily because they attended a meeting, or an agent came to their home.  Frequently these agents would represent a limited number, usually just one, Medicare Advantage HMO plan.  They typically do not give prospects an adequate overview or understanding of the entire universe of plans in the marketplace because they have limited knowledge and products to offer.   They don’t fully explain the consequences of your making such a switch.

If you are contemplating such a change, you should not do so lightly.  You should only do this after much thought and research.  It’s not a matter of simply changing plans or changing carriers.  It’s nothing short of changing  from one world of plans, Original Medicare with Medicare Supplement, to another entirely different world of plans, Medicare Advantage.

These are the issues you must consider:

  1. This change may not be reversible in the future because Medicare Supplement plans are not guarantee-issue, except at age 65.  Supplement plans do not have an annual open enrollment period as Advantage plans do.   If you ever want to go back to Medicare Supplement from an Advantage plan, you will have to be medically underwritten and approved on your application before you will be enrolled.
  2. 90% of our clients choose Medicare Supplement F plans because of the freedom to choose their own providers anywhere in the country, and also because of the freedom from Copays, Coinsurance and Deductibles for all medical costs, excluding Rx.  However over the years, many non-clients have approached us for help to make the difficult transition from Medicare Advantage, such as Kaiser back to Original Medicare and Supplement.  This process is not easy, and is full of tricky timing and health approval issues.
  3. Medicare Advantage HMO plans like Kaiser Advantage or Scan Health require you to use only those doctors that are in their network.  You will not have the option to see any outside doctors such as from UCSF, Stanford, etc.  You will be required to obtain referrals and authorization for all specialists, procedures, etc.
  4. Advantage plans do not include Foreign Travel benefits.
  5. Kaiser Medicare Advantage does not cooperate with independent agents.  So we will not be able to service you on your Medicare plans at all.
  6. CMS (Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services) has ruled that Medicare Supplement F plans can no longer be offered to new enrollees after the year 2020. If you think you might want a Medicare Supplement F plan in the future, you must enroll before 2020.
  7. Medicare Trial Period and Medicare 24 Month Rule – Under very limited circumstances, Medicare beneficiaries who enroll in an Advantage plan at age 65 may have a 12 to 24 month Medicare Trial Period where they may switch back to Original Medicare, a Medicare Supplement plan and a Medicare PDP (Rx) plan, guarantee-issue.   But it must be done within 24 months from age 65 Medicare ICEP (Initial Coverage Enrollment Period).

Phil Lee

Lee Health Insurance Services
800-286-7445

www.linkedIn.com/in/philwlee

www.Health-Insurance.com

Children with Pre-Existing Health Conditions

As part of Health Care Reform (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, PPACA), children with pre-existing health conditions may no longer be denied coverage by individual health insurance plans.  Although children are guaranteed to be accepted, carriers may offer coverage at a rate-up of up to 100% if there are pre-existing health conditions.

The Open Enrollment and Guarantee-issue period ends on March 1st, 2011.  In order to take advantage of this new law, children must be enrolled by March 1st.

Read details of this new law at:

http://www.insurance.ca.gov/0250-insurers/0500-legal-info/0200-regulations/HealthGuidance/Guide22441F.cfm

Check rates for children at:

http://www.health-insurance.com

© Philip W Lee, www.health-insurance.com, www.healthplantalk.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