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Showing posts from March, 2010

This Is What Happens When You Don't Read The Bill!

I guess someone forgot to tell the administration and those who voted for health insurance reform to actually read the bill.

The current bill signed into law yesterday does not, in fact, provide guaranteed-issue health insurance coverage from children this year, sort of.

I assume this will be fixed but we will have to wait and see.

Gap in law for children's healthcare protection

Impact - MLRs (Medical Loss Ratios)

I am watching President Obama sign the new health insurance (care) reform bill on CNN. I wanted to share some things I have heard recently that may eventually impact the number of carriers in California selling individual and family plans either through exchanges or privately, or both.

While carriers (insurance companies) can boast an overall MLR (medical loss ratio) above 85%, this number is generally inclusive of all sectors of insurance (large group, small group, individual and senior). However, when small group and individual (especially individual) is segregated out, the MLR often falls well below 80% with an average running about 74% on individual and family health plans.

"MLR" is the ratio of premiums paid in to what is paid out for medical care and wellness. The current reform will require in 2011 that all carriers selling individual and family plans must meet 80% MLR in that market. That means every company selling health plans in California by 2011 must be spe…

Health Insurance Reform - What To Expect

Happy Sunday to you all. I am watching the House vote and waiting for the final determination on the Health Insurance (Health Care) Reform Bill.

Since I have received many questions concerning changes I thought I'd quickly summarize here what to expect initially if/when this Bill is passed and signed into law today.

During the first year you can expect:

Pre-Existing Conditions - The Bill includes $5 billion in immediate support to provide temporary coverage to uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions. The money would help until the new health insurance exchanges are created in 2014.

Elimination of Benefit Caps - New policies sold will not have annual caps on benefits nor lifetime caps on benefits.

Children with Pre-Existing Conditions - Children with pre-existing health conditions will not be excluded from purchasing health insurance coverage.

Preventive Care - New insurance policies will be required to offer free preventive care benefits.

Small Business Tax Credit - A tax …

California HIPAA Dance (Redux)

Another change for HIPAA in California.

Blue Shield of California, in response to Anthem's proposed premium payment arrangement (which is apparently not going to be fully implemented), has taken the following action with regard to HIPAA plan enrollments in California.

Effective 3/2/10, PPO enrollments from HIPAA plans will no longer offer any date of the month not before application receipt date. Now, 1st or 15th of the month following approval of the application.

From Wall Street Journal "The Wellpoint Mugging"

A very interesting article from the Wall Street Journal.

The Wellpoint Mugging

Some parts of the article are quite telling.

He ought to subpoena California's political class because Wellpoint's rate hikes are the direct result of the Golden State's insurance regulations—the kind that Democrats want to impose on all 50 states. Under federal Cobra rules, the unemployed are allowed to keep their job-related health benefits for 18 to 36 months. California then goes further and bars Anthem from dropping these customers even after they have exhausted Cobra. California also caps what Anthem can charge these post-Cobra customers.

This next one hits home for me as one of the leading Anthem HIPAA producers in California. While I know that Anthem is taking losses on the guaranteed-issue side, I also am confident that my book of Anthem HIPAA business (which apparently is #2 in the state of CA right behind e-healthinsurance)is not creating losses. Yes, the whole pool is losing money an…

More HIPAA Dancing

I have learned that Anthem Blue Cross California has again changed its position with regard to HIPAA enrollments.

Apparently they have backed off of the "no premium" with application design (which virtually guaranteed a 60-day minimum gap in coverage) and will allow premium submission with the application in the near future.

The current no premium program was only in effect on the HMO HIPAA plans, not the PPO HIPAA plans. Anthem had indicated a desire to have a unified HIPAA application with no premium pre-payment possible. Apparently this has been scrapped and HIPAA applicants will soon be able to pre-pay premiums for both HMO and PPO HIPAA plans with Anthem Blue Cross CA.