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Showing posts from March, 2015

Covered CA Sending Out Corrected 1095-A Forms

Covered California, the California state health exchange, has sent out over 120,000 corrected tax forms and plans to have the remaining forms sent out by April 1.  According to the exchange, tax filers won't be required to amend 2014 tax filings to reflect the corrected data, but may file and amendment if they wish to.

LA Times Article


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Senators warn that Obamacare rule may be 'particularly harmful and disruptive'

The Washington Examiner is reporting that a handful of Democratic Senators have requested HHS delay the 2016 rule that would make groups of 51-100 employees part of the small group health market and take them out of the more flexible large group market.  

Currently small group is defined as 2-50 employees and in 2014, under a 'Grandmothering' provision, were allowed to maintain non-Obamacare coverage through 2017 (2016 in California).  

Grandmothering in California only applied to small groups 2-50 who had a plan renewal in the 4th quarter of the year.  All other groups were not allowed to exercise the Grandmother provision and were forced to move to ACA compliant coverage at their group renewal.

According to the article, only 9% of employers with 51-100 employees actually offer health insurance coverage.  Will be curious to see this play out.  They are asking for at least a two year delay on implementation.  

Washington Examiner Article


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Data breach at Premera Blue Cross in the Pacific Northwest

On March 17, 2015, Premera Blue Cross announced that it was the target of a cyber attack that affected as many as 11 million people.  This is a similar attack to the Anthem cyber attack.  The incident affected Premera Blue Cross, the Blue Plan in Washington, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, and their affiliate brands Vivacity and Connexion Insurance Solutions, Inc.

Primarily affected members residing in Washington (state) and Alaska.  However, like the Anthem cyber attack, anyone on Anthem Blue Cross CA or Blue Shield of California plan who received services in a Premera area under the BlueCard PPO program may also be compromised.  


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Anthem Announces "New To Medicare" Plan F Discount

Anthem Blue Cross CA has announced the implementation of a "new to Medicare" discount on only Supplement Plan F.  The discount is $15 per month for the first year and is available to those who enroll in the supplement as "new to Medicare" on or after 3/1/15 effective dates.

The discount is available to those 65 and over who are new to Medicare and within six months of their Medicare Part B effective date.  

Blue Shield of CA continues to offer a similar discount however Blue Shield allows the discount on all Supplement Plans not just Plan F.  Another difference, Blue Shield's discount cannot be combined with certain other discounts (2 party household, etc.) whereas Anthem will allow the discount in combination with certain other discounts.  Both carriers also offer a further discount for those paying their premiums by EFT (check or savings deduction).  

For more information on the Anthem Blue Cross CA Medicare Supplement Plan F discount, please contact my office.


CA Franchise Tax Board Revokes Blue Shield's Tax Exempt Status

The California Franchise Tax Board has revoked the State Tax Exempt Status of Blue Shield of California.  As a result, Blue Shield may be required to pay tens of millions annually as well as file tax returns retroactively back to 2013.  This move could undermine the 'not for profit' status of the carrier.  

Blue Shield currently holds approximately $4.2 Billion in reserve, an amount deemed excessive by the state of California and well above the amount recommended by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (of which both Blue Shield CA and Anthem Blue Cross are licensees).  

From theLA Times

"The main motivation for any state that wants to see a conversion of a health plan is they would capture the assets," he said.  That idea could prove popular in Sacramento, experts say, where state lawmakers are searching for money to boost Medi-Cal reimbursements for doctors and hospitals and to expand coverage for millions of uninsured Californians who don't qualify for feder…

Blue Shield CA Extends Medicare Supplement Year Round SEP to 2016

Blue Shield of California has announced that they will be extending the year round SEP for Medicare Supplements until June 30, 2016.

This SEP (special election period) is sort of a year round  "Birthday Rule".  In California, Medicare Supplement subscribers may change their Supplement to any like or less Supplement on their birthday plus 30 days.  In this case, that privilege is  offered by Blue Shield at any time during the year.  

If you currently have a Medicare Supplement Plan with another carrier, now might be a good time to check and see if Blue Shield offers a more competitive rate.  Remember, Medicare Supplement Plans (A-N) are standardized supplements.  Every carrier's Plan F Supplement is identical, as are all lettered Supplement plans.  


Anthem Blue Cross offers Tax SEP Off-Exchange through 4/30

Anthem Blue Cross CA is the only carrier currently offering off-exchange enrollment SEP for the period 2/23-4/30/15 for those impacted by the 2014 tax penalty who are not currently insured in 2015.  Details below.  

New Off Exchange Applications (we are only accepting paper applications for this SEP):

Not be currently enrolled in a health care plan Attest that they did not realize there was a tax penalty (complete this attestation form) In addition, individuals applying for coverage during this SEP must write “I Did Not Know About the Tax Penalty” somewhere on the first page of the application, submit a completed and signed attestation form, and submit payment or select auto payment method. Applications submitted between the 1st and 15th of the month will have an effective date of the 1st of the following month. Applications submitted after the 15th, will have an effective date of the 1st of the month after next.  Applications submitted without “I Did Not Know About the Tax …