Showing posts from February, 2010

Part Deux: Is The California Individual & Family Health Insurance Market In Critical Condition?

Having recently watched the "bi-partisan" meeting in Washington and many videos on youtube, I wonder if the problem is "un"-fixable.

Speaker Pelosi, in a recent youtube video answering questions on the meeting, pointed out two things which are absolutely of concern. 1, our health insurance system is employer-based in design and function. 2, there are many more people not covered under the employer-based system who choose to remain on the sideline than those who participate in the non-employer health insurance market.

I won't go through the numbers again since they are covered under part one of this topic below. Suffice to say, nearly two-thirds of those who should participate in the health insurance market in California for individual & family coverage do not. No employer-sponsored health plan, whether fully insured or self-funded, could operate at a participation level of 33% or less. Employer plans require 75% of all eligible employees to participate. …

Anthem: The Tale of the Tape in California

I was curious about the impact of the now-delayed Anthem Blue Cross rate increase on premium levels. I could only think of one way to find out, so I ran quotes on myself in Gilroy for four comparative coverage plans from the four California health carriers. Kaiser and Blue Shield are not-for-profit, so they should win, right? The results may surprise you!

The rates below include the Anthem rate increase scheduled for March 1, 2010.

1500 Deductible HSA Plan (or closest match)

#1 Anthem Blue Cross Lumenos 1500 HSA...............$243.00
#2 Health Net CA 2500 HSA (closest).................$246.00
#3 Blue Shield CA 1800 HSA (closest)................$311.00
#4 Kaiser 1500 HSA..................................$349.00

3500 Deductible Traditional PPO (or closest)

#1 Health Net Value PPO 4000 (closest)..............$179.00
#2 Anthem Blue Cross 3500 PPO.......................$224.00
#3 Kaiser 3000 Plan (closest).......................$277.00
#4 Blue Shield CA Essentials 300…

Anthem Agrees To Delay Rate Increase in California

On Saturday (2/13) Anthem agreed to hold off on the March 1 rate increases until May 1 at the soonest. This will give time for independent actuaries and auditors to determine if the increase in rates is appropriate.

Anthem to delay insurance rate hike amid criticism

Anthem Answers Sebelius

Anthem President and CEO of Consumer Business, Brian Sassi, addressed his response to Ms. Sebelius regarding her inquiry concerning Anthem rate increases in California.

Click here to read Mr. Sassi's letter

Poizer Asks For Temporary Halt To Anthem Rate Increase

California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has sent a strongly-worded communication to Wellpoint/Anthem requesting that they hold off on the proposed 3/1 rate increase until 5/1 so that an independent actuary retained by the DOI can review Anthem's payout ratios.

Additionally, the Obama Administration has expressed serious concerns about such a large rate increase in California.

A link to Mr. Poizner's letter here.

Is The California Individual & Family Health Insurance Market In Critical Condition?

With the recent LA Times article and notifications to approximately 800,000 CA residents by Anthem Blue Cross of California, the future of individual & family health insurance coverage is looking bleak. Anthem announced a rate increase for March 1, 2010 ranging between 30-39% on many private health plans.

I received information just yesterday that Aetna has now laid off the IFP staff support for northern California (and I supposed SoCal as well). The last time Aetna laid off people in these positions, they exited the market in California.

First a look at some "interesting" numbers and how they relate to this issue.

California population (2009) - 36,900,000 (probably 37,000,000 by now)

# California residents covered by private health plans - 2,100,000
# California residents on average uninsured - 6,000,000
# California residents covered under Group/Medicaid/Medicare - 28,800,000

Those numbers tell us a lot about what is going on. IFP (Individual & Fam…

Cal-COBRA under ARRA

I have just received information from multiple sources that the ARRA extension through 2/28 for subsidy to 15 months does now apply to Cal-COBRA as well as federal COBRA.