Here are all the articles I wrote during July, 2015. I hope they're useful to you.

July 21st, 2015

Assurant is going WHERE!?

Big news across the nation.  Assurant Health, a big player in health insurance, will be closing up shop at the end of the year.  This means everyone with an individual Assurant plan will need to get a different plan in place for January 1st, 2016.  But my Assurant friends, we can’t do anything for you until Open Enrollment in November.  This is going to be a HUGE change for the face of health insurance next year.  The Insurance Mom will keep you posted on all the latest news and trends.  In the meanwhile, here’s a full article on the Assurant story.http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2015/04/28/milwaukee-based-assurant-health-to-be-sold-or.html?ana=lnk

 

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July 16th, 2015

National Campaign for Brokers

My fellow brokers: we’ve had a great time at our webinar on Insurance and Social Media with LAAHU.  Email info@laahu.org to get the recording if you missed the live broadcast.

We’re working on a national campaign to ensure the future of the Individual Health Insurance Broker.  Here is your first test of your new found social media prowess.  Tweet!  Facebook!  Email blast away a sample message to start the ball rolling:

#HealthInsurance brokers know all!  Don’t go without.  Click to keep them around!  #brokersmakeadifference @mightylaahu…

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July 13th, 2015

Good news for people with pricey $$ prescriptions!

Good news… perhaps!   If you have health insurance through Covered California (the CA exchange/marketplace), new limits have been set on how much you’ll pay for those expensive monthly “specialty” drugs.  Starting January 1st, 2016, you’ll see some upgrades in your prescription benefits.

Covered California ruled that Silver, Gold, and Platinum plans will have a cap of $250 a month per specialty drug.    Bronze plans are a little different– there is a yearly $500 drug deductible, and then a $500 monthly cap for each specialty drugs.

What does it mean?   If you are one of those people who gets hit hard with expensive specialty drug costs, you might be see some savings starting 1/1/16.

But this new ruling could drive up the cost of health insurance… it’s the nature of the beast.   We’ll see.

Covered California did say the biggest problem boils down to the ridiculous and overwhelming costs set by the drug companies.   “You can fault the drug companies,” says a smart Covered California official.

Nicole Kasabian Evans with the California Association of Health Plans said the bill could be misleading, noting that patients pay higher shares of specialty drugs because they often are very expensive.

She said, “Bills like this give a false sense that drug costs are going to be reduced, when in reality costs are just shifted from your out-of-pocket costs to premiums.”

Health insurers also contend that out-of-pocket costs already are capped under the Affordable Care Act. They say a better way to address high prescription drug costs would be to have drugmakers be more transparent about how prices are set (“KXJZ News,” Capital Public Radio, 2/18).

The Insurance Mom agrees!  What do you think?  Did YOU have big prescription costs this year?…

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July 7th, 2015

Big changes for Blue Shield 2014 and onwards.

Chad Terhune is a favorite author around this office.  He writes great articles like this one about what’s going on in the health insurance market.  http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-blue-shield-audit-20150705-story.html#page=1  In it, he breaks down what happened with a recent audit on Blue Shield’s funds.  Here’s the Mom’s boiled down version.

Blue Shield has been a non-for-profit since 1939.  In recent years, they have had more than $4 billion in surplus.  That’s crazy big!  Big enough that the State of California decided they needed to check up on it.  August 2014, they lost non-for-profit status.  The article breaks down a lot of what practices caused this to happen and views on both sides of the fence.

This will be yet another big change for Californians in next year’s health insurance systems.  Blue Shield is the third-largest in CA.  The Insurance Mom will keep you posted with trends and new info as she gets them.  In the meanwhile, what do YOU think?  Should insurance companies be non-for-profit?  Should Blue Shield?

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