Affordable Care Act Update and Regence Rate Changes
By John Coulson
What’s happening in Washington Health Care? I’ll bet everyone would like to know. The fact is that it’s changing on a daily basis. Here is what we know NOW, TODAY, SETEMBER 16, 2013. Regence Blueshield has notified their current clients which program they will be transferred to as well as the new premiums for 2014. Regence is moving everyone to a new ACA compliant program outside the Exchange. They advise folks to closely review their plan options and also check on the exchange web-site to see if they might be eligible for premium support. The link below will connect you to the Regence announcement as well as all the relevant materials.
This is great, except the rates they have published HAVE NOT been approved by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. So if you received this letter from Regence, and you will have, please do not panic! There will be other options for you to purchase insurance, either on or off the exchange.
Premera and Lifewise have both announced their rates and THEY ARE approved by the insurance commissioner and they are less than Regence on almost all programs. We will still have HSA programs available, and premiums are competitive. We do not know what the Federal Premium Tax Credit amounts are going to be in 2014.
In reviewing what plan details are available, we know that the benefits that are being offered by both Premera and Lifewise are very rich. They have much lower out of pocket maximums, unlimited visits to the doctor with minimal copay and all before you have to pay the deductible. Premera and Lifewise have instituted a program where they will give you a lower copay for seeing a doctor or clinic that you have specified as your primary care physician.
One item we saw from Premera/Lifewise (which is an attempt to rein in claims) is for almost all procedures to require prior authorization, with the most notable exception being for emergencies.
We are still waiting for the exchange to go live but new information is trickling out every day. If you wish to attend one of our seminars on the ACA, please contact our office to see where space is available.
Until next time, a quote from an ancient Chinese Scholar that seems to be appropriate, “May you live in interesting times”.