Here are all the articles I wrote during October, 2014. I hope they're useful to you.

October 21st, 2014

Good News for All You Ladies in CA!

Ladies!

Were you excited to hear that the new federal law, The Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare,) would make it so your health insurance would cover your birth control, but then were disappointed to find out that your specific brand was the exception to that rule?

Well, the State of California has passed SB 1053 that improves the access women have to THE FULL RANGE of contraceptive methods!

The ACA lacked clarity and that led to the health insurance companies interpreting it in a different way than the law intended.  Some plans covered the full range of contraceptive methods, some had co-pays for rings and patches, and some didn’t cover IUD’s.  The federal law had wording that wasn’t specific enough regarding female care.  Confusion reigned.

The goal of SB 1053 is to make it so YOU and your doctor are making the best choice for your health, and SB 1053 is helping make that happen in California.

SB 1053 was passed on September 25th.   Find out more at cfhc.org or healthlaw.org.…

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October 20th, 2014

Will YOU Be My Doctor?!

ALL networks are getting skinner and anorexic, reducing your choices for 2015.

In 2014, the biggest problem with doctor networks came with plans purchased on Covered CA.   It was hard to determine if your doctor took the Covered CA plans.  The Covered CA search engine was incorrect and removed from the website.    Some doctors only participated in networks used by off-exchange plans.

The same problem may continue in 2015.  It could be tricky to navigate for consumers who get a plan through Covered CA.   For a little bit of guidance with Covered CA doctor networks, the LA Times created a map for you.  Click here!

But remember, not all plans/networks are available in all geographical areas.  And, networks can change from day-to-day.

One bit of good news:   Anthem Blue Cross has made it clear that doctors MUST be in both off-exchange individual networks AND on-exchange Covered CA networks,  or they will not be doing business with Anthem Blue Cross at all!

Double check with all your doctors in which networks they will be participating for 2015 before making a decision about your health insurance!  Listen to your Insurance Mom . . . mother knows best!…

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October 20th, 2014

Rates, Schmates! What About Doctor Networks?!

With all the changes in health insurance, everyone seems to be talking only about monthly premiums.   But what about access to your favorite doctors who may not be in your plan’s network anymore?

You may be seeing a lot of ads on Proposition 45, which has to do with how rates are regulated (see my most recent blog with my position on the matter).  Everyone seems to be crying “lower premiums,” but no one seems to think about what effect that will have on the rest of the picture.

One of the biggest unintended consequences created by the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) is that doctor networks are shrinking.

Although we may not like it, health insurance companies are businesses too (just like your ISP, CPA, HBO or DDS).  They calculate how their business will survive next year.   They review rates, benefits, drug plans and networks.   Large doctor networks and rich benefits cost money.

Enter the new world order, the Affordable Care Act.   It’s great that anyone can have health insurance regardless of pre-existing conditions, but it creates a lot of cost and financial risk for insurance companies.  Again, we may not like it, but it is what it is.

Rates will continue to go up.    To offset costs, the insurance companies are shrinking benefits and doctor networks.  It’s the new normal.  Gone are the days that you could have a low monthly premium and any doctor you wish.

Now you have to make a choice . . . are you looking for affordability OR a wide range of choices?  That’s making it very black and white, and of course there are individual exceptions.  But when thinking about your choices for 2015, don’t just look at the numbers.  Look at the whole picture.

What do you think?  What will be …

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October 20th, 2014

How Much Will it Cost to Get Covered in 2015? 

If you know anything about the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), you know that the next Open Enrollment period is coming up (Nov. 15th – Feb. 15th for a Jan. 1st and later start date.)

Everyone’s first question to me is “how much will my monthly premium be?”

We don’t have enough info yet to compare.    Not all of the rates have been approved by the CA Department of Insurance.    But we do know the word on the street from going to conferences and doing lots of reading.  The Insurance Mom is here to translate!

There were a couple of great articles by Chad Terhune in the LA Times on 10/3/14 and 9/28/14.   For plans purchased through Covered CA, weighted increases in 2015 will range from 4.2% to 8% statewide (depending on where you live, it could be lower or higher).

But… actually using the plans is a whole different story!  That prompted two blog more posts about doctor networks AND why everything is so different after the ACA.  Click the links to read all about it!…

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October 10th, 2014

Time to Vote! Pay attention to Prop 45!

As you know, I normally don’t share my political opinions with clients.   However, Proposition 45 is on this November’s ballot and it will have a direct impact on your health insurance… and not in a good way. As your agent, I feel compelled to make you aware of Proposition 45 and why I so strongly oppose this measure.

Proposition 45 will radically alter the choices available to individuals and small businesses purchasing health insurance in California.

Supporters of Proposition 45 want to give one elected politician, the Insurance Commissioner, the power to determine your health plan’s premiums, benefits, networks and even what treatment options it covers.  (The Commissioner can receive millions in campaign contributions from special interests.) They want to create a costly new bureaucracy that duplicates existing regulatory agencies – the costs of which will ultimately be paid by you through higher premiums. They want to set up new rules and regulations that conflict with the new health care reform law.

As your agent, I take my responsibility seriously when I help you navigate California’s health insurance market.  Proposition 45 will make that market more chaotic and more costly – and worst of all it will potentially limit the choices you have as a consumer.

I plan to vote NO on Proposition 45 this November because it will create more problems than it solves.

I hope you will visit www.NoOn45.org to learn more about Proposition 45. While you’re on the website, I hope that you’ll take 30-seconds and sign-up to receive updates from the No on Proposition 45 campaign and join me on protecting your access to quality health insurance and preventing the possibility of rationed health care.

Feel free to email me back if you have any questions but, in the meantime, I hope that you’ll go

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