By banning all short term medical plans, California is punishing people who are not out to manipulate the system for their own benefit. All they wanted was a little assurance that if something really nasty happened, they wouldn’t have to declare bankruptcy. Now these families, who just forgot about the enrollment deadlines, will be subject to the wolves of the health care field.
The limitations to the BlueCard program for 2019 on PPO plans means the out-of-area health care services are no different than Blue Shield’s Trio HMO plan for individuals and families. Unless the health care services are for emergency or urgent care they won’t be covered unless the member has prior authorization from Blue Shield of California.
Blue Shield individual and family plans also come with Teladoc for phone call consultations, NursesHelp 24/7 online chat, and the BlueCard program that allows member’s access to providers when they are travelling out-of-network. The plans also include a physician home visit. The home visit, Heal on-demand house calls, is subject to the member’s location. There is also Telebehavioral health benefit that helps members with mental or substance abuse challenges access therapy online with mental health professionals.
The final extra is the personal emergency response system (PERS). PERS is an emergency alert system that can be activated at the push of a button. It can work with an in-home landline, cellular network, and includes mobile GPS to identify the user’s location. The most advertised use for the personal emergency alert system is if the person falls and can’t get up. This can happen in the person’s home, while they out walking around the neighborhood, or hiking on a trail.
The big change for the Gold plan was an increase in the MOOP from $6,000 in 2018 to $7,200 in 2018. That is a 16% increase. Before 2018, the Gold plans did not make a lot of financial sense considering they were so much more expensive than Silver plans. In 2018 the Gold plan MOOP was reduced to $6,000 and the Silver plans offered through Covered California were artificially inflated by approximately 10%. This meant for consumers receiving very little monthly tax credit subsidy, they were better off enrolling in a Gold plan because for some carriers the rate was less than the Silver plan.
Short-term, limited-duration insurance, which is not required to comply with federal market requirements governing individual health insurance coverage, can provide coverage for people transitioning between different coverage options, such as an individual who is between jobs, or a student taking time off from school, as well as for middle-class families without access to subsidized ACA plans.
So when an intelligent person calls me and wants my assistance with an insurance transaction that will benefit them greatly at the expense of all my other clients who faithfully make their premium payments every month, with no claims for years, I get an uneasy twinge in my gut. I am not a cheerleader for the health insurance companies. But at the same time I see no reason for me to facilitate an enrollment that will only add additional costs to the system when that client jumps out of the pool.
The big question is how do all these dental tools included in the dental plan help reduce the premiums. The tooth brushes wirelessly connect to a Beam application on the member’s smart phone. Yes, your toothbrush will use Bluetooth technology – isn’t that ironic – to log your household’s brushing frequency. All the frequencies from all the members in the group are then aggregated to provide a score. If the score is high enough, any future rate increase on the renewal date of the dental plan is reduced.
When I looked at the submitted application – there it was – I had to have selected the permanently moved to California QLE which is below loss of coverage. The permanent move to California QLE triggers the standard effective date of the 1st of the following month, in this case August 1st. So the family really did not have insurance for July!
So why is this significant? Because Kaiser was sending statements to the Covered California household for past due balances greater than one month. They were also sending termination notices even though they had already sent Covered California cancellation of the plan and Covered California terminated the enrollment. But Covered California will not investigate the erroneous terminations. They just tell the agents and consumers they have to deal with the health plan. In this case, the family has sent voluminous amounts of documents to Kaiser showing they made their premium payments.