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 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in cooperation with Placer County have released new flood hazard maps and my house is right in the middle of the floodway. According to the preliminary maps, my house never should have been built and I will be required to secure flood insurance if the preliminary flood maps are approved and become effective in June 2017. The new flood maps put the kiss of death on my ability to ever sell my house, my investment, my future. Thank you FEMA and Placer County.
Covered California is giving individuals and families another option for vision insurance with the addition of EyeMed vision plans in 2016. The new EyeMed plans compete against the VSP Covered California vision plans added earlier in the year. Before families enroll in one of the vision plans they should remember that health insurance through Covered California also includes vision benefits for household members 18 years old and younger.
Even with the Obamacare subsidies, many individuals and families still opt for the least expensive Bronze high deductible health plans. The high deductible health plans require the consumer to spend $4,500 to $6,500 in a medical deductible before any real cost sharing with the health insurance company starts. As more consumers opt for these least expensive Bronze plans more insurance companies are creating insurance products to help cover the high deductible of these plans. But are these indemnity plans worth the money and will they actually pay when you need the money?
People who are HIV positive are living longer and leading healthy and fulfilling lives because of advances in drug therapies to control the disease. The life insurance industry has taken note and has started to offer life insurance products to those living with HIV. The life insurance rates for people with HIV are actually reasonable for some income levels.
Covered California has struck a deal with VSP vision insurance plans to offer Covered California members vision insurance. The VSP vision insurance plan is only available to Covered California members. For the bare essentials of vision coverage, the VSP – Covered California plan is very competitive when compared to other insurance plans on the market. However, there are some eye wear options that don’t have specific copayment amounts and could cost the plan member more in the long run.
Consumers, agents and Covered California representatives have been flummoxed over how to change the household health insurance plan after the account has been automatically renewed by Covered California for 2016. It may have come as surprise to Covered California that not everyone wants to renew their current 2015 health plan. After Covered California automatically renewed the health plan there is no visible way to change the plan…unless you know the trick.
One of the most frustrating aspects of the Affordable Care Act is that it excludes family members from receiving the premium tax credits to reduce their health insurance if one of the parents is offered affordable employer group health insurance. One way around this problem is for the employer to offer employee only coverage. Covered California for Small Business health insurance exchange offers the employee only option for employers when they set up their group health plans.