Some California consumers received an email in August from Anthem Blue Cross, announcing that Anthem will discontinue their health insurance plans starting in January .
Persons living in Southern California with individual coverage* through Anthem Blue Cross will have their coverage terminated on December 31st, and will need to switch to a different health plan.
It’s my opinion that Anthem made this decision due to the uncertainties created by the Trump administration and the Republican party in Congress, among other things. Anthem is also discontinuing plans in the entire states of Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin, but they will continue to cover the rural areas of Northern California, and they will continue to provide dental & vision coverage, Group medical plans to businesses/employers, and Medicare products.
Don’t worry–there are other options
The good news for those consumers is that there will be some solid, stable options for you to switch to in 2018. At least two other companies have announced that they will offer a PPO health insurance policy (and there are also lots of HMO options). I’ll be working with my clients to make sure we choose a plan that covers their doctors and hospitals.
“Blue Shield” plans are not affected and will continue in 2018
Many people hear the word “Blue” and confuse the insurance company “Blue Shield of California” with “Anthem Blue Cross.” In the state of California, “Blue Shield” and “Anthem Blue Cross” are two entirely separate insurance companies. This confusion is understandable because others states typically have some version of a “Blue Cross Blue Shield” insurance company (they are all related by a common association, but that’s it—just an association). The insurance company “Blue Shield of California” is a San Francisco-based nonprofit health plan founded in 1939 by the California Medical Association, and it operates only in the state of California. Blue Shield has announced that it is strongly committed to continuing in 2018 and beyond, and most people with Blue Shield plans will receive an offer to renew their coverage.
What needs to be done now?
For now, nothing. Active Anthem plans will continue with no changes for the remainder of 2017. We can begin to look for replacement coverage starting in November. November 1st is the start of Open Enrollment, that’s when we’ll be able to submit new applications and changes that take effect starting January 2018.
If you need assistance, please plan to call me in November to enroll in a new plan.
If you’re itching to take action now, you can:
- Take a deep dive into the details here – Page 62 shows the rate changes for Western portion of Los Angeles county.
- Review your other insurance policies… I also help people with auto & home insurance. A similar situation is occurring with auto insurance, due to the fact that claims have risen as people have been driving more miles, cellphones/texting has increased the number of crashes, and medical costs are increasing. Many auto insurance companies are raising rates and a few are exiting the market. You can get an instant online auto insurance quote on my website: http://www.citrust-insurance.com or call me call / text me at 626-765-4495
I’m planning to do a Facebook Live broadcast next week to answer questions… stay tuned!
Although the nightly news may seem dire, we’re fortunate to be living in California, where we have it much better than the rest of the country. Be well!
*Exception: Persons who purchased their individual plans prior to 2010 and did not convert them into new ACA plans (“Grandfathered” plans) may be able to keep those grandfathered plans in 2018. This is relatively rare.
Also, parts of Northern California will be offered renewal. According to Anthem’s blog post,
…. we’ll offer plans in three regions of Northern California only, which will include Region 1 (Redding/Far North), Region 7 (Santa Clara County), and Region 10 (Stockton/Modesto). The coverage will include an Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) plan and will be available both on-exchange and off-exchange, and at all metal levels. Q: Which counties are included in the regions you’ll offer plans for 2018? A: Region 1 includes Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, and Yuba counties. Region 7 includes Santa Clara County. Region 10 includes Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tulare counties.
Rates and Doctor Networks are changing. Give me a call for assistance! As a Covered California Certified Insurance Agent (CIA), I can help you:
- Renew or Change your plan.
- Make sure you’re getting the best value.
- Help you qualify for the correct Tax Credit / Subsidy. (And avoid mistakes that might haunt you at tax time!).
- Know which plans have your doctors & hospitals “in-network,” and which plans do not.
- Figure out billing issues and answer other questions.
- Provide an alternative to waiting on hold with Customer Service hotlines.
No Cost to You – No Extra Fees.