Californians, you can “keep your insurance” a little longer

Californians, you can “keep your insurance” a little longer

I received my notice of cancellation from Anthem Blue Cross October 14, stating my company’s health insurance plan will no longer be available Jan. 1, 2014. But as a 20-year former Human Resource professional, panic did not set in.1422570_10202615414856261_887277114_n

Instead, I was angry.

I have a really good PPO plan. My annual out-of-pocket is high, but my coverage is good. It makes doctors smile when they see I have a PPO. Cha-ching $$.

I like my insurance plan. I like my family doctor — we have a 23 year relationship. Skin cancer and San Joaquin Valley allergies have plagued me for years, so my two favorite docs are my dermatologist of 25 years, and my ear, nose, throat doctor of nearly 28 years.

The cancellation of my plan means Anthem Blue Cross agreed to what Covered California forced on them, to cancel all employer plans by December 31, 2013.

Yesterday Anthem Blue Cross of California announced it has agreed to a two-month extension of more than 100,000 individual policies. This was supposedly after they failed to give the required 90-day cancellation notice, state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced Tuesday.

The policies had been set to expire on Dec. 31 but will be extended until Feb. 28 for those who choose to re-enroll. Notices informing customers of the extension will be sent out this week, Anthem said.

“Due to a computer glitch 104,000 policyholders had not received 90 days’ notice of cancellation as required by law, the commissioner asked Anthem Blue Cross to send out new notices to those policyholders and give them the option to extend their current policies, with their current doctors and hospitals at their current rates until February 28,” Jones’ website said. “Anthem will mail out new notices by November 15. If all 104,000 of these policyholders elected to keep their existing coverage through February 28th, they would save an estimated $23 million from Anthem’s 2014 rates.”

But here’s where it gets sketchy. The Insurance Commissioner’s website goes on to start promoting California’s Obamacare, Covered California: “Anthem policyholders should evaluate carefully whether keeping their existing policy into 2014 is beneficial. They should shop and compare all health insurance available to them.”

The Insurance Commission website even suggests looking into a Covered CA subsidy:

“Policyholders should contact Covered California at to see if they are eligible for a premium subsidy. If they are eligible for a subsidy, it will probably be better for them to sign up for new coverage through Covered California by December 15 in order to start receiving the premium subsidy in January. This is the second extension of policies required by Commissioner Jones. Last week Blue Shield was required to extend policies for 115,000 policyholders after failing to comply with notice requirements.

My letter from Anthem was dated September 2013, plenty of time to meet the 90-day notice requirement.

Covered CA partyCovered California front page, Oct. 3, 2013

It is interesting to note, Covered California will not release how many Californian’s have actually signed up for the subsidized insurance. The agency is having to hold special events to attract people to sign up for the insurance. Tuesday, The California Endowment, the Service Employees International Union-Unite Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) and Covered California, invited 1,500 Sacramento region residents and SEIU members attended an enrollment event to sign people up for  Covered California and Medi-Cal, the state’s medical plan for welfare recipients.

“The event was part of the Endowment’s ‘Get Covered’ or ‘Asegúrate’ initiative, which seeks to educate Californians about Obamacare and the expanded opportunities for coverage created by the new health care law,” the Covered CA story said. “It is part of a series of events across targeted counties that represent more than 90 percent of those who are eligible but uninsured, and supports the Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities 10-year initiative.”

The state is spending millions of dollars trying to get people to sign up for the health care plans… while the state government has run up a $127 billion deficit.

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