Alert: Kaiser Medicare Advantage HMO Out of Pocket Maximum Raised to $6,700 in 2018

(Note: The below information concerns only those who are Medicare-Eligible.  It does not concern you if you are under-age 65, on an Individual & Family health plan, or on an Employer or Employee Group-sponsored or Government-sponsored health plan.  This information pertains only to California and may not apply to other states.)

It’s come to my attention that Kaiser Medicare Advantage HMO has raised its Annual Out of Pocket maximum to $6,700 starting on Jan. 1, 2018. This could be a financial burden for many seniors.

As an alternative, Medicare Supplement Plan F has $0 Out of Pocket costs for any Medicare-eligible medical expense (except for a separate Prescription Drug Plan), and allow access to any Medicare provider in the U.S.

For those turning 65 in Contra Costa, Anthem Blue Cross Medicare Supplement Plan F plan premiums can be as low as $115/month, after discounts. (This is compared to Kaiser Medicare Advantage’s monthly premium of $103/month, including Rx.)

If you have any questions, we’d be happy to consult with you on your options.

(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.Health-Insurance.com
Employee Benefits & Health Insurance

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

Anthem Blue Cross to Discontinue Individual Health Plans in Most Counties in California

Anthem Blue Cross announced that they will discontinue selling Individual medical plans in CA in 2018 except for three counties, Santa Clara, Stockton/Modesto, and Redding.

I received the following email from Anthem to agents and brokers last week with details about this decision. Please click on the link below:

Anthem Announcement

Please review the following to be sure that you will actually be affected by this:

  • This change only affects those on Individual Health Plans, NOT Employer Group plans or Medicare plans.
  • It affects both On Exchange (Covered California), as well as Off Exchange health plans.  It affects both subsidized as well as non-subsidized plans.
  • It does not affect “Grandfathered” plans.
  • It will take effect on Jan. 1st, 2018.
  • This change does not affect these 3 counties: Santa Clara, Stockton/Modesto and Redding.

We might be able to help you find alternatives as soon as the insurance carriers such as Blue Shield, Health Net and Kaiser release their new rates for Jan. 1, in either September or October.

Phil Lee

Lee Health Insurance Services (BLIS Corporation)

925-284-2000

http://www.health-insurance.com

www.linkedin.com/in/philwlee  

Understanding Special Enrollment Period (SEP) and Qualifying Events (QE)

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

The year-end Open Enrollment Period for Individual Health Plans ended on January 31, 2016.  However, certain individuals may still be able to apply for a health plan in 2016. This special circumstance is called the Special Enrollment Period (SEP).  You need to have a Qualifying Event (QE) to qualify.  Here’s what you need to know.

You can buy health coverage outside of the open enrollment period when you have a qualifying life event—through a special enrollment period (SEP).  Most SEPs last 60 days from the date of the qualifying life event.
Qualifying life events for a SEP include:

  • Getting married or entering a domestic partnership
  • Child aging off a plan
  • Gaining a dependent or becoming a dependent through marriage, birth, adoption, or placement for adoption or foster care
  • Permanently moving to a new area that has different health plan options
  • Employer coverage not being considered minimum essential coverage
  • Losing other healthcare coverage that is considered minimum essential coverage, such as due to job loss, termination of employer health plan by the employer or expiration of COBRA coverage
  • Returning from active military service
  • Change in eligibility for advance premium tax credit or cost-sharing subsidies

Please note that voluntarily terminating other health coverage or being terminated for not paying premiums is not considered a qualifying event.

All insurance companies will require written proof that you have an acceptable qualifying event.  When enrolling during an SEP, please make sure to include qualifying events verification documents in the application.

This is a link to Blue Shield of California’s interpretation of the ACA laws regarding SEP and QE’s.  Different carriers may have slightly different interpretations and requirements.

https://bliscorp.egnyte.com/dl/QJhtXag1KT

Phil Lee

Lee Health Insurance Services (BLIS Corporation)

www.health-insurance.com

925-284-2000

www.linkedin.com/in/philwlee   www.yelp.com/biz/lee-insurance-services-lafayette-7Affordable

 

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

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

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

Covered California is not extending its deadline past March 31, 2014 for applying for a health plan

(This information pertains to Individual and Family health plans. Please ignore this email if you are on an Employer group plan, on Medicare or otherwise covered.)

Covered California is not extending its deadline past March 31, 2014 for applying for a health plan
Despite what you may have heard in the news about deadline extensions, these do not apply to California. There is no extension in California.
Based on our experience with past deadlines, Covered CA and possibly the insurance company websites may crash or be inaccessible on the last days. I highly urge you to apply before the end of Friday March 28th. If you miss the 3/31 deadline, you will have to wait until the end of the year to apply, and probably pay a penalty.
However, if you start an online application by 11:59 p.m. on March 31, 2014, you will have until 11:59 p.m. on April 15, 2014, to complete this application and to select a plan. To start an application, you must take at least the following steps:
• Create an online account.
• Fill out all required information on the “Apply for Benefits” page and click “Continue.” The page contains two required fields (see application screen images online at http://news.coveredca.com/p/blog-page_26.html).
• After clicking on “Continue,” you will be taken to the “Consent for Verification” page, where you need to click on “Save& Exit” or “Continue.”
• You must return to your online account no later than April 15 to complete the application and select a plan.
You also must make your first premium payment to the health insurance company by the due date in order to avoid the tax penalty.
How To Apply Online:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/hqbjyqdxcecrs1j/How%20to%20Apply%20to%20CovCA%20or%20Outside2.docx

Paper applications must be postmarked by March 31, 2014, to meet the open-enrollment deadline for 2014 Covered California plans.
Paper Covered CA Application: https://www.dropbox.com/s/olamsrnb43cv2xl/Fillable%20CovCA%20Application%20P%20Lee%20Agent.pdf
The mailing address for Covered CA is:
Covered California
P.O. Box 989725
West Sacramento, CA 95798-9725
We offer one stop shopping and can help you with all of these plans. Please call us at 925-284-2000 if you encounter any problems in this application process. We are prepared to help you.

Thank you for reading.
Phil Lee
www.health-insurance.com
925-284-2000

Obamacare Deadlines – March 15 and March 31

Originally Posted 3/7/2014
(This E-blast pertains to people buying individual and family plans only. Medicare plans and employer plans are not affected by this announcement.)

1. Obamacare Deadlines – March 15 and March 31

MARCH 15TH IS THE LAST DAY TO SIGN UP FOR AN INDIVIDUAL HEALTH PLAN WITH AN APRIL 1, 2014 EFFECTIVE DATE.

Saturday, March 15th is the deadline to sign up for an individual plan with an Effective Date of April 1, 2014. This deadline applies to Covered California subsidized plans AND non-subsidized plans purchased directly from an insurance company.

Our office will be closed on Saturday, March 15th. If you need help choosing and applying for a plan you MUST call us by March 14.

To apply to Covered California and designate us as your agent or to apply to a non-subsidized plan please follow the link below.

March 31, 2014 IS THE LAST DAY TO BUY HEALTH INSURANCE FOR 2014.

The Effective Date of insurance coverage will be May 1, 2014. This deadline applies to Covered California plans AND non-subsidized plans purchased directly from an insurance company.

If you do not have insurance as of May 1, 2014 you will be subject to a penalty (tax) of the greater of $95 or 1% of adjusted gross income. And you will have to wait until Nov. to apply for Jan. 2015.

Please call us if we may assist you in securing coverage for 2014.

How to apply to Covered CA and Outside marketplace:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/hqbjyqdxcecrs1j/How%20to%20Apply%20to%20CovCA%20or%20Outside2.docx

We offer one stop shopping and can help you with all of these plans. Please call us at 925-284-2000 if you encounter any problems in this application process. We are prepared to help you.
Thank you for reading.
Phil Lee
www.health-insurance.com
925-284-2000

Update of Obamacare Deadlines

Originally Posted 1/15/2014

(This information applies only to Individual and Family health plans. It does not apply to Employer Group plans or to Medicare plans.)

Covered California Payment Deadlines:
For those of you who applied for Individual/Family coverage with an Effective Date of Jan. 1st., either On Exchange (Covered CA), or Off Exchange (from the insurance carrier). Some of the deadlines for initial premium payments have been extended. Those deadlines are:
Blue Shield, Jan. 15th
Health Net, Jan. 15th
Anthem Blue Cross, Jan. 31st
Kaiser, Jan. 31st
Open Enrollment Period Continues
If 1) your plan was cancelled, or
2) you were mapped to a new plan by your insurance carrier, or
3) you opted for an extension to March, or
4) you are on a grandfathered plan, or
5) you are simply uninsured
You may still apply to a new or change insurance carriers before March 31st.
Open Enrollment Application Deadlines:
For Feb. 1st start dates, the deadline is Jan. 15th.
For March 1st start date, the deadline is Feb. 15th.
For April 1st start date, the deadline is March 15th.
For May 1st start date, the deadline is March 31st.
Last day of Open Enrollment for 2014 is March 31st.

We offer one stop shopping and can help you with all of these plans. Please call us at 925-284-2000 if you encounter any problems in this application process. We are prepared to help you.
Thank you for reading.
Phil Lee
www.health-insurance.com
www.HealthPlanTalk.com
925-284-2000

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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