One of the first filters in selecting an EPO or PPO individual and family plan, either through Covered California or off-exchange, is determining if your current doctor is in-network. For all the enhancements to online doctor directory search tools, they still suck. They are not consumer friendly. Consumers are given either too many conditions to select or the provider search tool offers too little information.
I would not have believed it had I not witnessed it with my own eyes. When I renewed the Covered California health plan for a client her monthly premium amount she will be responsible for will actually be lower in 2017. Even though the carrier had an overall rate increase and she was another year older, the Advance Premium Tax Credit monthly subsidy calculated by Covered California will be larger in 2017. The net result is she will be paying less than $5 per month for the same Silver health plan in 2017.
The Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), who regulates most of the individual and family plans offered through Covered California, has developed a website to allow consumers to compare health insurance companies. The Health Plan Dashboard website does not assign any performance review ratings. But it does give consumers a high level view of some of the data collect on the health plans such as enrollment, complaints, and enforcement actions for medical, dental, and vision plans.
The California individual and family plan market place will be changing quite a bit in 2017. Next to confirming if your favorite doctors are covered by the new health plans, many consumers want to make sure their chosen hospital is in-network as well. From information provided by Covered California and the health plans, I have put together a table of California hospitals by region and the health plans they accept.
While Covered California standard benefit design health plans have very specific limitations on member responsibility for in-network health care services, the coverage for out-of-network services can vary greatly between PPO health plans. The insurance carriers that offer PPO health plans through Covered California (Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, and UnitedHealthcare) with out-of-network coverage seem to have made up their own rules for this PPO benefit. Because the Covered California individual and family health plans have such narrow networks, many families are finding that they must go out-of-network to receive certain health care services.
Individual and family plans offered through Covered California in 2016 will include new pharmacy prescription drug benefits. The benefit, also mirrored in many off-exchange health plans, caps the amount a consumer must pay every month for a particular prescription. While that sounds straight forward, the rules surrounding any pharmacy deductible and tiered drug formulary can be complicated and confusing.
As I had just started my second year as a Placer County Grand Jury member I was surprised at the similarities between Holacracy and the structure of the California county Grand Jury system. I realized that Grand Juries in California have been using the Holacracy concept where people in the organization have multiple roles while working on different teams, without being micromanaged by a supervisor, for over 100 years.
Whenever a health insurance company or health plan wants to change their health insurance rates in California they must submit a justification for the rate change in the monthly premium amounts to the Department of Managed Health Care or Department of Insurance. Regardless of which agency they must submit their rates to, the agencies just […]
In a May 18th op-ed in the Sacramento Bee Even in a drought, selling some water makes sense, Einar Maisch, General Manager of the Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) argued his agency was merely fulfilling their environmental duty to release 12,000 acre feet of water into the American River so it can be sold to […]
With Governor Brown’s declarations of a drought emergency in 2014 and subsequent State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) decisions that some water districts must conserve up 36% of their consumption over the baseline 2013 year, many homeowners are wondering how they can conserve enough water without killing their entire landscaping. While some homeowners have voluntarily […]