A glaring deficiency in the report is the failure to attribute any decline in enrollments, either on the federal level or at Covered California, to an improving economy. Unemployment is at record low percentages and more people are working for employers who offer group health plans. Covered California’s own small group plans have seen increased enrollment since its inception in 2014 and their budget report estimates continued enrollment growth.
I find it amusing that the strategy to kill off government funded and managed health insurance for people may be the very illustration and demonstration of how single payer can work. The added benefit is a nod to the fact that, if included, volunteer work or family care work is treated as equally valuable as a wage earning job for eligibility for Medicaid. This is an acknowledgement that people volunteering in our communities plays an important role in the maintenance of the community fabric.
If you own a small business or receive income for a service you provide, and most likely file a schedule C with your tax return, you should consider having your estimated taxable income reviewed by your tax planner. The IRS has noted that as they develop guidance for all of the changes to the tax regulations for 2018 they will be posting them on their website.
The real looming threat is the loss of health plans participating in the IFP market. In 2017 three carriers dominated the market with 72% of the enrollments: Anthem Blue Cross 19%, Blue Shield 25%, Kaiser 28%. With the loss of Blue Cross in the major metropolitan markets such as the Bay Area and Southern California, two carriers, Blue Shield and Kaiser, are likely to command over 60% of the market place in 2018. If one of those two carriers determines that offering IFP plans is just too risky in 2018, it could lead to other carriers such as Health Net, Molina, or Oscar also pulling out of the market.
There a lots of different dental plans off-exchange or outside of Covered California. The number of plans makes comparisons complicated and confusing. Delta Dental and Anthem Blue Cross offer dental plans through Covered California and a variety of different plans off-exchange. The single largest difference between the Covered California plans and the ones offered off-exchange is the 12 month waiting period for major dental work such as extractions, root canals, and crown. The six month waiting period usually applies to minor restorative work such as getting a cavity filled.
Upon submitting your application for 2018, the Covered California system checks your eligibility for 2017. If the system finds you ineligible, which you mostly likely are because you are not applying for 2017 coverage, the system automatically generates a letter informing you that you are not eligible for 2017 coverage.
I don’t mind enrolling people into Medi-Cal. I’m a one-person operation and I enjoy chatting with people. But I have to draw the line with people who insist on me answering a million questions and then failing to give me the appropriate information to complete their Covered California Medi-Cal eligibility application. I also will not knowingly participate in any misrepresentation or fraud so a person can either be enrolled in Medi-Cal or be determined eligible for the tax credits through Covered California.
The Covered California agent service representative said I was about the fifth agent he worked with to identify the missing dependent tax status question. He could see the question in his system, but I couldn’t see the question on my client application. When he indicated that Debbie was to be claimed as a dependent of Susan, the APTC monthly subsidy was awarded.
If you try to terminate the 2018 enrollment, you will get an error code if date you are specifying is in December or earlier. This is because you can’t terminate an enrollment that has not started. If you try and change the effective date, while the enrollment year is still listed as 2018, you will be told the termination date will be 1/31/2018. If you follow through with the termination, you will be enrolled for the month of January for a plan you don’t want.
The health plans and Covered California may give lip service to the value of the agent community, but it is not reflected in the compensation we receive. I’m not trying to get rich as an insurance agent. My net revenue listed on my Schedule C for 2016 was $34,000. If the new compensation schedules significantly erode my insurance revenue then I will have to find other income streams. Maybe Covered California will hire me to answer phone calls; I hear they have a great benefits package.