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Showing posts from December, 2009

COBRA Subsidy Extended

HR 3326 was signed into law this week. The bill (actually a DOD bill) provides the following benefits to those going onto COBRA (or currently in their first 9 months of COBRA):

1. Subsidy on federal COBRA will be extended from 9 months to 15 months at 65% paid by the employer (no information yet on Cal-COBRA)

2. Subsidy qualification has been extended to 2/28/2010 and notification is required to anyone who exhausted the 9 months subsidy already (and is still within the 15 month window)

3. Extends unemployment benefits an additional 6 months

CA Healthy Families In Jeopardy Again

There is renewed fear that the state may have to shutter the Healthy Families program and remove hundreds of thousands of California children from the health insurance plan (SCHIP).

Apparently, CMS has "determined" that a special tax extension plan adopted by the CA Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Scharzenegger (a 2.35% tax paid BY health insurers) fails to meet the CMS reading of the rules regarding such taxes.

If resolution is not found before the end of 2010, hundreds of thousands of children in California could be removed from the plan.

Public Option Waning, Now Annual Benefit Caps?

It appears that the public option portion of the health care reform legislation may be coming off of the table soon, if not already. There is talk of replacing it with a private insurance, non-profit version overseen by the government. Also, there is talk of at least a temporary reduction in the Medicare age to 55.

Apparently part of todays' compromise has to do with trying to keep premiums "reasonable". Since the bill would uncap lifetime maximums, the Senate has agreed (behind closed doors again) to allow and implement annual benefit caps on health plans.

California domiciled health plans currently do not impose an annual benefit maximum and PPO plans allow that number to be set at the lifetime maximum benefit of the plan. Only the MRMIP and compatible MRMIP "graduate plans" involve annual maximum benefits, and those are capped at $75,000 per year.

Senate Bill To Allow Benefit Caps

California Healthy Families Back In Business

In the summer I blogged about the closing of new enrollments in the Healthy Families program for children (SCHIP). Recently the program received additional funding and has re-opened to new enrollments. This is very good news for thousands of California families who need this low-cost health insurance coverage for their children. For current information on the California Healthy Families program, follow the link below.

California Healthy Families (SCHIP)

Closer on Healthcare Reform

It looks like we are getting very close to a final version of the Senate reform bill. Broad agreement has been reached on the Senate version, which is very close to the already-passed House version.

CNN Story Dec 8th