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Showing posts from September, 2017

Blue Shield CA Raises 'New To Medicare' Premium Discount

Blue Shield of California is now offering a Medicare Supplement Discount of $25 per month for the first 12 months for those new to Medicare (Part B).  

For California residents turning 65 and enrolling in Medicare, or those who are enrolling in Medicare Part B after 65 for the first time, this discount is available on Supplement Plans A, C, D & F (G will be coming out soon and will also offer this discount).  This discount is not available on High F nor Plan N.

An additional $3 per month discount is available if you choose to pay your premiums using their EZPay automatic deduction.  

Blue Shield currently offers year round birthday rule open enrollment for California residents.  

Call or e-mail for a quote and discounted premium rate on your Medicare Supplement plan.


800-509-0659 Toll Free

No Vote For Graham Cassidy Healthcare Bill (Trumpcare Dead)

The US Senate will not vote on the ACA Repeal Bill (Graham Cassidy) this week.  

The budget reconciliation process ends on September 30th.  This is the time frame allowed to pass a bill with only 51 votes and not 60 votes.

Essentially, #Trumpcare is dead at this point.  

Read the full healthcaredive article here


John McCain Torpedos Graham Cassidy Bill

Today Arizona Senator John MCCain announced that he would not be supporting the Graham Cassidy Healthcare Proposal.  

“I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal,” the Arizona Republican senator said in a statement, using the bill’s nickname.

The Senate has 52 Republicans.  With McCain's decision and Rand Paul already stating he would not support Graham Cassidy. the matter is in serious doubt.

The proposal needs 51 votes to pass the Senate.  VP Mike Pence could provide the 51st vote in the event that the proposal were to receive the necessary 50 votes for Pence to be the deciding vote.  

Problem is, the positions of Susan Collins (ME) and Llsa Murkowski (AK) are also in doubt. Collins stated today that she is leaning against the bill.

Read the article on Fox News


Medi-Cal Implications of Graham Cassidy For Low-Income Californians

News sources are reporting that the last grasp Graham Cassidy bill will be voted on early next week.  Ahead of the September 30th deadline (the last day the bill could pass with less than 60 Senate votes).

Certain provisions within this legislation would have a direct  and potentially negative impact on Medi-Cal (California Medicaid).

Under the ACA (ObamaCare), California expanded Medi-Cal as allowed under the law.  This expansion is, in large part, funded by the federal government and not the state government. Adults with incomes below 138% Federal Poverty Level and children under 19 with family incomes below 266% are eligible to enroll in MAGI Medi-Cal.  The expansion did away with asset testing and eligibility is determined by income.  

Simply put, under the proposed Graham Cassidy bill, the expansion of Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) would be reversed and future federal funds that might be used by states would be provided in block grants.  This reversal would essentially remove th…

Graham Cassidy Healthcare Bill Last Effort Under Reconciliation

After several false starts on re-reforming healthcare (health insurance), the remaining bill (Graham Cassidy) has until the end of the month of September.

A ruling by the Senate parliamentarian earlier this month said Republicans can't continue after September 30th to use the process of reconciliation, which allows bills to be passed with a simple majority in the Senate if they decrease the deficit
The plan details include:

Shifting Medicaid Funding and Subsidies to State Block GrantsEliminate the individual and employer mandatesState reinsurance funds to offset high claimsAdjustments/reductions to essential health benefitsRead the article from Business Insider


10 Celebrities Who Worked In The Insurance Business Before Making It Big

Tip of the hat to colleague Aaron Kassover at Agent Methods for this interesting bit of insurance trivia. Some of these folks may surprise you.  No spoilers, you have to read the list.  Enjoy!

10 Celebrities Who Worked In The Insurance Industry Before Making It Big

As a Bills fan, honorable mention to kicker Scott Norwood of "wide right" Superbowl fame. Before going into real estate, Scott worked as an agent for NY Life in Virginia.  



Single-Payer Isn’t The Only Progressive Option On Health Care (Vox)

Intriguing article from Ron Pollack on  Alternatives to single-payer solution.  

As we have seen, the single-payer model is very expensive and likely untenable with the attached price tag.  

This article, from a progressive standpoint, provides some interesting and thoughtful public/private alternatives with a more friendly price tag.

Read it here


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California 2018 ACA Open Enrollment Period Extended

Covered California has announced that the 2018 California ObamaCare Open Enrollment Period will run from November 1st, 2017 until January 31st, 2018.

This is particularly important given the exit of Anthem Blue Cross from 16 rating areas.  As many as 300,000 Californians currently on Anthem plans will need to secure new health coverage for 2018.

Other states which have extended their open enrollment periods include:

Connecticut 11/1-1/12
DC 11/1-1/31
Minnesota 11/1-1/14
Rhode Island 11/1-12/31
Washington 11/1-1/15

States operating the federal marketplace (FFM) will only have 45 days (11/1-12/15) unless the federal exchange makes a change.  


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ObamaCare Making Middle Class New Uninsured (NY Post)

A recent article in the New York Post by Betsy McCaughey really makes a salient point.

The ACA favors those with incomes between 0-266% of the federal poverty level.  In those cases, combinations of Medicaid, enhanced silver cost share reductions and tax credit subsidies reduce the impact of healthcare and premium costs.

Those on the high end income spectrum, while paying high premiums, can often easily afford a Bronze HDHP (HSA compatible) for themselves and their families.

Caught in the middle are those whose incomes exceed the cost sharing or tax credit subsidy levels.  With premiums going up by double digits and less choice of carriers in the marketplace, the middle and upper middle class really feel the squeeze.  

"But the law is driving premiums so high that middle-class people can no longer afford insurance.  Several million are expected to drop coverage in 2018."

Your family health insurance plan premium should not be more than your monthly mortgage or rent payment.  Espe…

Trump Slashes Enrollment & Advertising Budget for O-Care 2018

Word on social media that the Trump Administration is reducing the costs of advertising and non-licensed enrollment assistance (Navigators) by up to 90% for 2018.

Panic in certain sectors that people won't be able to enroll for coverage.  

Advertising will be decreased from $100 million in 2016 to $10 million in 2017 open enrollment season.  Navigator/Assister funding will be capped at the amount of enrollment goal achieved in 2016.  If a Navigator group only achieved 60% of their goal, they will only receive 60% of funding for 2017 open enrollment.  Remember, this is for states using the federal markeplace ( to facilitate enrollments.  States with state-based exchanges like Covered CA may choose a different path for their funds as they are, at this point, self-sufficient.
Before the ACA (ObamaCare), only licensed agents/brokers were allowed to sell or solicit the sale of major medical health insurance coverage.   Many of us are still out here and ready to assist   And…