Author Archives: jtdickerson

Ambetter: Pay with Moneygram

8 Jun , 2016,
jtdickerson
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Ambetter recently announced a new payment method for Ambetter of Georgia policyholders: Moneygram. Moneygram is a fast and easy way for policyholders to make same day payments!

How to pay with Moneygram:

  1. Find a nearby location by CLICKING HERE
  2. Members need to bring: Cash for premium payment, Member ID number, & Receiving code 15515
  3. Fill out the Blue Moneygram express payment form and use the Moneygram phone or kiosk to complete the transaction.

Ask a store associate if any payment assistance is needed!

UnitedHealthcare to exit Georgia Health Insurance marketplace for 2017

14 Apr , 2016,
jtdickerson
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Per a recent article from Bloomberg, United Healthcare will not offer health plans on the marketplace in Georgia and Arkansas for plan year 2017. Although this is certainly a blow to competition in the Georgia health insurance market, it must be noted that, in most areas of Georgia, United Healthcare had rates that were not very competitive. According to our market analysis here at www.MyGeorgiahealthplan.com, United Healthcare was most competitive in Dade, Catoosa, & Walker counties, in Northwest Georgia. Thankfully, most Georgia residents have many other options. We hope this trend will continue for 2017. Stay tuned to www.MyGeorgiahealthplan.com for all your late breaking Georgia health insurance news!

Ambetter health plans in Savannah

30 Oct , 2015,
jtdickerson
3 comments

Good news for Chatham county residents! Ambetter health plans are now available in the Savannah area! We have just got a sneak peak of rates for 2016, and it looks like the new Ambetter health plans are the least expensive Bronze and Silver plans in Chatham county!Abetter health plans Savannah Georgia

Why choose Ambetter health plans in Savannah?

Ambetter offers a great value for Savannah area residents seeking plans tailored to help with their budget! Ambetter health plans in Savannah include the My Health Pays program to encourage you to stay healthy and save money!

My Health Pays program rewards you for keeping up with your health. When you complete certain healthy behaviors, you can earn a reward. Your rewards will be added to your My Health Pays Visa® Prepaid Card. We will add more reward dollars on to your card as you complete other milestones. It’s as simple as that!

Earn up to $365 on your My Health Pays card for:

Completing your online Ambetter Welcome Survey ($50)
Getting your Annual Wellness Exam ($50)
Getting your annual flu vaccine ($25)
Visiting the gym at least 8 times per month (up to $20 a month)

Use your rewards to help pay for:

Doctor Copays*
Deductibles
Coinsurance
Your monthly premium payments
Gym Program
We support a healthy lifestyle, such as using a gym or a health club on a regular basis. That’s why we help make it more affordable for you to stay healthy and active.

With Ambetter health plans in Savannah, you can:

Earn reward dollars just by going to a gym of your choice. Every month, you can earn $20 when you visit your gym at least eight times a month.
Get discounts on gym membership fees at approved locations. We’ve partnered with gyms and health clubs across the country. Search today to find approved gyms in your area!
Once your coverage begins, you’ll be able to register with one of our approved gyms to get your discounted rate.

*My Health Pays rewards cannot be used for pharmacy copays.

SWITCHING PLANS RESULTED IN SIGNIFICANT SAVINGS FOR MARKETPLACE CONSUMERS

28 Oct , 2015,
jtdickerson
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Great news for Georgia health insurance consumers today! Per a CMS news release today, we have learned that for 2015, switching plans resulted in significant savings for Marketplace consumers, including Georgia residents!Switch Plans Georgia health insurance

Full-year enrollees saved nearly $400 on premiums after tax credits for the same level of coverage in 2015
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced today the findings of a new report that shows that consumers who reenrolled in the Health Insurance Marketplace last year and who switched to a plan with the same level of coverage saved nearly $33 per month after tax credits, or almost $400 annually, relative to what they would have paid had they remained in the same plan as in 2014. Those who also switched issuers within the same level of coverage were able to save $41 per month, or over $490 annually after tax credits.

Today’s report shows Marketplace consumers were active shoppers last year, with about one third (31 percent) of re-enrollees from 2014 switching to a new plan for 2015.

During Open Enrollment in the Marketplace this coming year, if all consumers switched from their current plan to the lowest-cost premium plan in the same metal level, consumers could save an average of $610 annually before tax credits and the total savings – to consumers and taxpayers (in premiums and tax credits) – would be more than $4 billion. For 2016, more than 8 in 10 current Marketplace enrollees can find a lower premium plan in the same metal level before tax credits by returning to shop. Last year, HHS projected that if all returning consumers who bought a silver plan in 2014 switched to the lowest-cost silver plan in 2015, they would have saved an average of $492 annually. If all returning consumers had switched to the lowest-cost plan within their metal level, across all metal levels, the total savings in premiums would have been over $2 billion before tax credits.

“Our message to returning Marketplace customers is simple: Shopping may save you money,” Burwell said. “Consumers who visited HealthCare.gov last year to comparison shop for the best plan saved almost $400 a year in premiums for the same level of coverage, and we expect people to be able to find similar deals for 2016. Consumers can visit HealthCare.gov today to preview plans in their area before Open Enrollment begins on November 1.”

Today’s findings underscore that the Marketplace offers a competitive insurance market from which consumers can choose affordable health plans based on their specific needs and budget. It also shows that consumers using HealthCare.gov are smart shoppers, who pay close attention to plan costs when making selections.

According to the report, historical estimates of plan switching among enrollees in employer sponsored insurance (2.8 percent), the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (12 percent) and Medicare Drug Plans (13 percent) are low compared to Marketplace consumers.

Today’s report also finds that more consumers switched issuers than metal level, suggesting they preferred to keep the same level of coverage. Specifically, 57 percent of switchers changed issuers in 2015, while only 38 percent changed metal level.

(Health insurance plans on the Marketplace are classified by metal level, which range from bronze, with the lowest premiums but the highest deductibles and co-pays, to platinum with the highest premiums and lowest deductibles and co-pays.)

HealthCare.gov offers detailed information about each health insurance plan sold in an area, including out-of-pocket costs, customer service and more. Consumers can visit the 2016 health insurance plans and prices tool on HealthCare.gov and use the new total yearly out-of-pocket cost estimator to learn more about their specific costs.

Finally, the report confirms the popularity of silver plans. Among reenrolling consumers with 2014 silver level plans, the majority (91 percent) stayed in silver plans in 2015. Enrollment in silver level plans is much higher than other metal level plans—69 percent of enrollees chose a silver plan in 2014. Silver plans appeal to many consumers because, generally, eligible consumers must enroll in a silver plan in order to apply their cost-sharing reduction (approximately 85 percent of silver enrollees in states using the HealthCare.gov platform received cost-sharing reductions in 2015).

The 10 states with the highest annual savings from switching were: Florida, Texas, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Arizona, Indiana and Georgia.

Open Enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace starts on November 1, 2015 and runs through January 31, 2016. Sign up by December 15 to have coverage that starts January 1. You can find help by calling SChealthconnector.org offices at 843-882-7062 or by visiting www.MyGeorgiahealthplan.com, www.SChealthconnector.org or www.NChealthconnector.org

To read today’s report and to see state by state information on consumer choices visit:

http://aspe.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/134556/Consumer_decisions_10282015.pdf

Blue Cross Blue Shield Georgia: New payment options for Marketplace plans

15 Oct , 2015,
jtdickerson
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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia has launched a new program for current Individual members already using WebPay to pay their monthly premiums. The new program lets them enroll in automatic, recurring payments with a Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card.View You Quote

This program has been proved effective and popular during a six-month pilot program in other states. As a result of its success, BCBS-GA is now offering it in Georgia. That means current Individual clients can now set up recurring debit or credit card payments for their ACA-compliant health care plans from their Account Summary page on the WebPay portal.

To get started, members will click the Enroll Automatic Payment button when they sign into WebPay. Members are automatically directed to WebPay when they click the Pay My Bill Online feature on bcbsga.com. If members have questions or need help, they can call the customer service number listed on their member ID card.

Other payment methods, like bank draft and one-time debit or credit card payments, will continue to be processed as usual on the WebPay portal. Also, there are no changes to pay-by-phone options.

EFT vs. recurring credit card payments
Members should keep in mind a few things as they consider their payment options. Setting up a recurring payment using EFT (electronic fund transfer or bank draft) means the premium is paid automatically each month from the member’s bank account. Usually, this requires very little follow-up maintenance on the member’s part.

When using recurring credit card payments, the member must make sure the card’s expiration date or other account information stays updated. For example, when the card’s number changes or if the card gets lost or stolen, the member must take action to make sure premiums get paid on time.

 

Med-Final

Major Life Changes? Check Your Subsidy

14 Oct , 2015,
jtdickerson
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If you’ve had a major life change this year, your eligibility for a subsidy (also called financial
assistance or Advanced Premium Tax Credit) or the amount you receive now may change for 2016. /these changes can affect the cost of your Georgia Health Plan.
Major life changes include:

  • Moving
  • Changing jobs
  • Adding to your family/marriage/divorce
  • Each of these events could impact your Georgia Health Plan subsidy eligibility.

This means if you didn’t qualify for a subsidy this year, you might be eligible for one in 2016. If
you currently receive a subsidy, be prepared to verify your information to ensure the amount you
receive in 2016 will be correct. You can verify starting November 1.

Choose to #getcovered and #staycovered this year. As Open Enrollment gets closer, be on the lookout for more
tips. We’re here to help you every step of the way:
• Schedule an appointment (click here to schedule)
• Call 843-882-7062
• Visit www.MyGeorgiahealthplan.com

Humana Georgia 2016 Marketplace update

22 Sep , 2015,
jtdickerson
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Quick Tuesday morning update for Humana Georgia marketplace health plan enrollees!

According to our sources at Humana, we have learned that Humana Georgia will discontinue Platinum plans offered on and off the marketplace in Georgia for 2016. Members who purchased a platinum plan thru the marketplace should be automatically transitioned to a Gold plan if they do not actively choose a new plan. However, we recommend that everyone currently enrolled in a Platinum plan take the time to review your options – we are happy to help!

We have also learned the Humana Georgia members enrolled in a Platinum plan outside of the marketplace will need to choose a new plan, and will not be automatically transitioned to a new plan for 2016!

In addition, if you purchased a Humana Georgia Catastrophic plan for 2015 on the marketplace and turn age 30 prior to January 1st, 2016, you should be automatically transitioned into a Humana Bronze plan for 2016. Of course, we always recommend you review your options (CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL PLANS) during open enrollment 2016.

We have also learned that Humana will DISCONTINUE offering the ChoiceCare network for individual health insurance plans in 2016.

Stay tuned to www.MyGeorgiahealthplan.com for breaking Georgia Health Insurance plan information for Open Enrollment 2016. Follow us on Facebook for all breaking news and updates!

2016 Georgia Individual Health Plan rate increases

2 Sep , 2015,
jtdickerson
, , , , , ,
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Please note that many of these have not yet been approved and are subject to change!

Georgia Healthcare_ Georgia Rate Review Submissions-page-001

Georgia Healthcare_ Georgia Rate Review Submissions-page-002Georgia Healthcare_ Georgia Rate Review Submissions2-page-001Georgia Healthcare_ Georgia Rate Review Submissions2-page-002

Georgia: Requested 2016 weighted avg. rate hikes: 10.3% – 12.3%

11 Aug , 2015,
jtdickerson
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IMPORTANT: See this detailed explanation of how I’ve come up with the following estimated maximum requested weighted average rate increases for this state. As explained in the first link above, I’ve still been able to piece together rough estimates of the maximum possible and mid-range requested average rate increase for the Georgia individual market: Again, the full explanation is included here, but to the best of my knowledge, it looks like the companies with rate increases higher than 10% come in at a weighted 18.3% increase, but only make up about 29% of the total ACA-compliant individual market, with several other companies with approved increases of less than 10% (decreases in some cases) making up the other 71%.

Source: Georgia: Requested 2016 weighted avg. rate hikes: 10.3% – 12.3%

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia prepares to serve same-sex couples

14 Jul , 2015,
jtdickerson
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Per the BCBS-GA press release:

BCBSGa prepares to serve same-sex couples
July 14, 2015
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) has been monitoring the rapidly changing landscape relating to same-sex spouses. The Supreme Court recently ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all states. It also requires states to recognize same-sex marriages that were validly performed in other states.

Even before the Supreme Court ruling, we offered our groups the opportunity to cover same-sex spouses. Our standard group certificates allow for same-sex married couples to enroll, if they live in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. This would include contracts issued in a state that did not previously recognize same-sex marriage.

BCBSGa will allow insured and self-insured plans in any state to enroll same-sex spouses. But it’s generally up to the group, in the absence of a state insurance mandate, to decide whether to offer domestic partner benefits or same-sex marriage benefits.

Accordingly, we will administer the plan based on the group’s direction. Employees with questions about their group coverage eligibility should check the terms of their employer’s plan. We expect employers likely will review their benefit offerings and internal policies as they relate to the court’s ruling. And because of the ruling, we will prepare to serve more same-sex couples as consumers.

Note that plans sponsored by state and local governments that offer spousal benefits must cover same-sex spouses who wish to enroll after the Supreme Court’s ruling, because it requires states to recognize same- sex marriage.

For our individual/non-group policies, we’ll continue to provide for domestic partner and same-sex marriage coverage.

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions, if you’d like additional information. And of course, you can contact Broker Services or your sales representative, if you have questions.

Frequently Asked Questions for Group Business
Q: Are employers who offer spousal benefits now required to offer spousal health insurance benefits for same-sex couples who are married?

A: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) will allow insured and self-insured plans in any state to enroll same-sex spouses.In the group market in absence of a state insurance mandate, whether fully insured or self-insured, it is generally the group’s decision whether to offer domestic partner benefits or same-sex marriage benefits.

Plans sponsored by state and local governments that offer spousal benefits must cover same-sex spouses who wish to enroll after the Supreme Court’s ruling, because it requires states to recognize same-sex marriage.

If a non-government plan did not have enrollment rules restricting same-sex marriage coverage prior to the Supreme Court ruling on June 26, 2015, the provisions of the plan as expressed in our group certificates would make same-sex married couples eligible to enroll as of that date, if they live in a state that did not previously recognize same-sex marriage. If the couple lives in a state that did recognize same-sex marriage prior to the Supreme Court ruling, the couple would have been eligible to enroll prior to the ruling.

Q: If an employer previously had an enrollment rule restricting coverage for same-sex married couples, can it continue that restriction?

A: In the group market in absence of a state insurance mandate, whether fully insured or self-insured, it is generally the group’s decision whether to offer domestic partner benefits or same sex marriage benefits. Groups should consult their own legal advisors as to whether they should continue any restriction on coverage for same-sex marriage.

It is important to note that the Supreme Court ruling focused on the obligation of states to allow and recognize same-sex marriage. State and local government plans are required by the ruling to offer coverage to same-sex married couples if they allow opposite sex spouses to enroll. Employers with group plans regulated by ERISA should consult with their attorneys about whether to make any changes.

BCBSGa will administer the plan according to the group plan sponsor’s direction. Members with questions regarding their group coverage eligibility should check the terms of their employer’s plan.

It is likely employers will be reviewing their benefits offerings and internal policies as they relate to the court’s ruling.

Q: If an ERISA plan does not have an enrollment rule restricting coverage for same-sex married couples, can it add that restriction now?

A: In the group market in absence of a state mandate, whether fully insured or self-insured, it is generally the group’s decision whether to offer domestic partner benefits or same-sex marriage benefits. Groups should consult their own legal advisors as to whether they may add any restriction on coverage for same-sex marriage.

It is important to note that without a previous restriction on same-sex marriage coverage, our certificates allowed for coverage of same-sex marriages, if they were recognized in the state where the couple resided. For couples residing in states where same-sex marriages were not recognized before the Supreme Court ruling on June 26, 2015, they can now begin the enrollment process accordingly.

Q: When can same-sex spouses be enrolled?

A: In a plan that does not exclude coverage for same-sex spouses, if the couple was married and living in a state that recognized the marriage prior to the Supreme Court ruling, the ruling does not create a special enrollment opportunity, because the couple could have already enrolled. If the couple was married in a state that allowed same-sex marriages, but lived in a state that prior to the ruling did not allow or recognize same-sex marriages, a special enrollment period is created based on the ruling. The qualifying event date was June 26, 2015, and the typical 30-day enrollment period would normally occur from that date. BCBSGa is allowing an extended special enrollment period from June 26 — July 31, 2015.

Of course, couples getting married after the date of the Supreme Court ruling would experience a qualifying event based on the date of the marriage.

Q: If a same-sex couple was legally married years ago in another state, but lived in a state that did not previously recognize the marriage as valid, why is there a special enrollment if they are already married? Can they be told they can only enroll at open enrollment?

A: There is a special enrollment period because the marriage was not valid in the state where they lived, and they could not enroll as spouse under the terms of the health plan. BCBSGa treats the fact that the marriage is now legal in their state of residence as a new marriage because of the benefits of marriage that the ruling bestows.

Q: If a same-sex couple was legally married in another state, lived in a state that did not previously recognize the marriage as valid, but is currently enrolled under the plan as a domestic partner, is there a special enrollment?

A: Yes, because the marriage was not valid in the state where they lived, they could not enroll as spouse under the terms of the health plan. BCBSGa treats the fact that the marriage is now legal in their state of residence as a new marriage because of the benefits of marriage that the ruling bestows. The new marriage is a qualifying event regardless of prior enrollment, particularly because of new opportunities to enroll dependents that may be available.

Q: Given the Supreme Court’s ruling guaranteeing a nationwide right to same-sex marriage, will an employee who currently has coverage for his/her domestic partner now have to get married in order to keep the coverage?

A: BCBSGa will administer the plan according to the group plan sponsor’s direction. Members with questions regarding their group coverage eligibility should check with the terms of their employer’s plan.

While the ruling does not change existing plan terms related to domestic partner benefits, it is likely employers will be reviewing their benefits offerings and internal policies as they relate to the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Q: Will employers discontinue domestic partner benefits?

A: It will be up to each employer. It is likely employers will be reviewing their benefits offerings and internal policies as they relate to the Supreme Court’s ruling. BCBSGa will administer the plan according to the group plan sponsor’s direction.

This article applies to:
Georgia
Small Group, Large Group, and Individual (under 65)