Because Covered California’s exchange is up and successfully running, the governing board decided last week that there should be no delays in implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
That means that the vast majority of non grandfathered Anthem Blue Cross individual policies will be transitioned into new ACA-compliant plans starting Jan. 1, 2014. The only exception is a group of approximately 104,000 Anthem Blue Cross Life & Health Insurance Company members who did not receive a timely notification of their transition. Pursuant to an agreement with the California Department of Insurance, this group has the option to continue their current coverage through Feb. 28, 2014, at which time they will be transitioned into an ACA-compliant product.
The Exchange Board, in recognition that there has been confusion in the marketplace, did take a number of steps to make it easier for consumers to obtain coverage by Jan. 1, 2014, including:
- Extending the deadline for enrollment for coverage taking effect on Jan. 1, 2014, from Dec. 15, 2013, to Dec. 23, 2013, and extending the deadline for payments due from Dec. 26, 2013, to Jan. 5, 2014.
- Establishing a telephone hotline for consumers to resolve enrollment questions. The hotline, (855) 857-0445, will be available beginning Monday, Nov. 25.
- Sending information directly to nearly 1.13 million affected individuals that provides clear options for coverage. The information will be sent from Covered California and the individual’s current insurance provider.
- Collecting and reporting data, on a regular basis, showing the impacts of conversion for individuals.
- Engaging consumers in their communities through the thousands of Certified Insurance Agents, Certified Enrollment Counselors and Certified Educators now deployed statewide.
At Anthem Blue Cross, we have always focused on providing access to affordable, quality health care. That’s why we’ve assembled a network that includes world-class academic institutions like the University of California, and that’s why more Californians have selected Anthem’s individual insurance on the exchange (based on data released on Nov. 21) than any other insurer.
While other carriers have chosen to sit out the launch of the exchanges, Anthem Blue Cross has and will continue to be an essential player. The implementation of the ACA and open enrollment is an extraordinary opportunity for the uninsured and those who struggle to afford coverage — and transformational for our industry.
We look forward to continued collaboration with all of our partners, so that health care coverage works for all Californians.
This article applies to:
- Small Group, Large Group, and Individual (under 65)
That’s smaller than a 9.5 percent increase that the trade journal Workers’ Comp Executive reported last week as the number an actuarial committee was considering. Any advisory rate recommended by the California Department of Insurance would take effect Jan. 1.
But an Oct. 23 letter that was hand-delivered from WCIRB to Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones‘ office said the advisory group is recommending an 8.7 percent jump in the so-called “pure premium” rate. The 8.7 percent is more than a September recommendation by the same group because it includes a 1.8 percent boost to cover projected increases in physician fees, due to a new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The recommendation is now in the hands of Jones. A hearing is being held today, Monday Oct. 28, to review the proposed increase.
The commissioner can accept, reject or modify the recommended increase. The state’s workers’ comp insurers often follow the commissioner’s guidelines, but aren’t required to do so.
The new recommendation could boost average pure premium rates to $2.75 per $100 of payroll, or 8.7 percent greater than the California comp industry’s average pure premium rate as of July 1, which was $2.53.
But a policyholder’s industry and past experience play a large role in determining actual rates, and insurers can choose to dive below or jump above the advisory rate the commissioner ultimately signs off on.
Jack Hannan, a WCIRB spokesman, said the group didn’t ever propose a 9.5 percent increase, saying that number came from Workers’ Comp Executive, using its own analysis.
Commissioner Jones has yet to comment on the recommendation from WCIRB.
Dale Debber, publisher of Workers’ Comp Eexecutive, argues that his publication is calculating the rate recommendations based on data from WCIRB, using “the traditional way of calculating it.” He says the rating bureau has used a novel approach since Jones took office, in his view because the commissioner is “manipulating” the numbers to make them more palatable to voters.
Chris Rauber’s beats include health care, insurance and the wine industry for the San Francisco Business Times.