On Monday August 1st, Anthem Blue Cross announced that it is pulling out of the individual insurance market in California, except for three regions in Northern California: Redding, Santa Clara County, and Stockton/Modesto.
- All other ACA individual Anthem plans will be terminated December 31,2017. This decision does not affect those who have employer based insurance or individuals enrolled in “grandfathered” plans (plans purchased before March 2010).
Anthem’s Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, Part D Drug Coverage, and individual dental, vision, and life policies will be continued to be offered in California.
According to Covered California’s most recent enrollment snapshot from March, Anthem currently covers about 252,560 Obamacare customers, 61% of whom live in regions where the carrier will pull out of the market.
Those numbers do not include people who have purchased Anthem plans outside of the exchange. A Covered California spokesman said in an email that an additional 150,000 Anthem plans are estimated to be in place outside the exchange.
- How will the termination of your Anthem policy affect your coverage?
On-Exchange plans through Covered California will be moved to another carriers’ plan offering similar coverage if the member does not take any action during the Open Enrollment period to directly change carriers and plans.
The full details of how this will work is still being formulated, and more details should be released shortly.
For those with Off-Exchange plans, you must move to another carrier offering plans in your zip code. The enrollment must take place on or before December 15th, to have a January 1st effective date.
In 2018, Blue Shield of California will be the only carrier offering both a PPO, and HMO plans throughout the state. All other carriers will only offer some form of narrow network plans such as an HMO or Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO).
- All carriers offering On-Exchange and Off-Exchange plans are indicating double digit rate increases for 2018.
As an example, in Southern California Blue Shield has filed for rate increases of between 18% to 22% for their PPO plans and 9% for their ACO/HMO plans. Other carriers will be releasing information on rate increase during the next few weeks.
In addition to higher rates, most carriers will also narrow their provider networks by only offering HMO or EPO plans with specific provider networks. These plans will not reimburse for any out of network services; therefore, members may be required to change some or all their doctors.
California is still one of the few states where a carrier, Blue Shield of CA, still offers PPO plans. In Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado the only options for individual plans is some form of HMO/EPO.
In addition, California has at least one carrier offering individual coverage in all counties and zip codes in the state. This is not the case in in Arizona and Colorado.
If you are a current Anthem client with an Off-Exchange plan terminating December 31st, please call me (John Barrett) at 626 797-4618, and I will answer your questions.