The single payer proposals I have read deal mainly with the consumer side regarding access to care and reduced patient costs. What seems to be missing is recognition that medical groups and hospital have built their budgets around the existing health insurance plan reimbursement rates. There is no mechanism in the single payer proposals to limit the costs such as the cost of labor (nurses) which is a significant financial element for hospitals. Until we get a handle on the cost of health care, health insurance rates will continue to rise and a viable single payer proposal, where you have more than one or two hospitals participating, will only be a dream.
You can’t assume that all hospitals part of a larger network are all in-network with the same carrier if one is in-network. In Butte County, Blue Shield contracts with all the Enloe associated hospitals. But Anthem Blue Cross only contacts with Enloe Medical Center – Esplanade. The converse is also true. Blue Cross doesn’t typically contract with Sutter hospitals for their individual and family plans. However, in Amador County, Sutter Amador is an in-network hospital for Blue Cross.
If you reside in any of the above counties you will be able to keep your EPO plan. If you reside in any other county, and you have an Anthem Blue Cross EPO or HMO plan, through Covered California or off-exchange, you will need to select a new insurance carrier for 2018. The exit of Blue Cross from the individual and family market does not affect employer group health insurance plans or their Medicare Advantage plans.
Before I start gathering coverage information, I create a table with preferred or “must have” providers, hospitals, and drugs in rows, with the available health plans across the top columns. I then mark which health plan has the providers in-network and if the drugs are covered and at which Tier.
The one aspect of health insurance that the Affordable Care Act did not address is the cost of health care services. Without a governor on the prices that doctors and hospitals can charge, the health insurance companies must constantly increase their rates to cover the cost of health care expenses that seem to rise faster than the national average for inflation. One way to reign in the ever increasing costs of health care is by providing consumer information on the cost of health care services through price transparency. The Health Care Transparency Project has started an online petition to request the Trump administration implement price transparency for consumers.
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.
In 2016 Anthem Blue Cross introduced their new Tiered PPO Network health plans in four counties of California. The Tiered PPO marketing literature noted the member’s cost share would be less if he or she used a Tier 1 hospital, but it didn’t indicate how much less expensive it would be.
January 30th: Blue Shield and Sutter sign 2015 contract update January 5th Blue Shield Sutter falling out below Blue Shield of California jolted their members with a New Year’s announcement that they were dropping Sutter Health hospitals and doctors from many of their plans for 2015. The reason given was that Blue Shield was not […]
Even with the Affordable Care Act extending health insurance to millions of Americans, medical debt can still be a burden to many families. Toni Turner of Financial Education Services was kind enough to put together this summary of surviving medical debt and restoring damaged credit ratings Surviving medical debt A serious illness or injury can […]
There was tremendous confusion over which doctors were in-network for the new individual and family plans offered through Covered California in early 2014. While the major health insurance plans offering PPO and EPO plans maintained the provider networks were the same regardless of whether they were purchased on or off the exchange, doubts persisted fueled […]