Dickerson Update, April 17 – Anthem announces New Plans, CaliforniaChoice New Plan Updates, Useful Tips from Kaiser and More!

Anthem announces new plans, minimal rate changes for Q3, and SEP Extension 

Anthem announced the addition of new plans with multiple cost-saving options, including Two New Gold HMO Deductible plans offering a $500 or a $1,250 deductible options. Both plans are available on all three HMO networks, with a total of 6 new HMO plans.

They’re also offering Two new PPO plans with just $5 copays. Two plan designs offered on both PPO networks for a total of 4 new PPO plans.

Anthem also released rate changes for Q3 2020. Here are the details:

Rate action effective July 1, 2020

Quarterly Rate Change Average
PPO: 2.2%
HMO: 2.3%
Combined: 2.2%

Annual/Renewal Rate Change Average
PPO: 5.9%
HMO: 7.4%
Combined: 6.0%

Anthem is also extending their previously announced SEP through April 20, 2020. It is available to employees of Fully Insured Small and Large Groups who previously waived participation in employer-sponsored plans.

And don’t forget, effective July 1, 2020, Anthem will have a Full Network PPO plans through CaliforniaChoice!

For more information, please contact your Dickerson Account Executive.

Blue Shield offering flexible payment program in response to COVID-19

Blue Shield announced that they’re supporting customers impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic by introducing their Premium Payment Program. Beginning the week of April 6, 2020, customers who did not submit payment for April premiums received a standard notification along with an insert informing them that they have additional payment options.

Customers who received a notice during their previous payment period that their payment was delinquent, or was scheduled to have their coverage canceled at the end of their grace period also received an updated notice with the insert. 

To learn more about the program, click here.

Blue Shield also compiled an overview of financial assistance programs for small businesses via the CARES Act, which are available to groups with 1 to 500 employees. These resources are available on their website under Government programs and resources.

Blue Shield is hosting a webinar on Thursday, April 16, 2020, to review the updates above, as well as quarterly cycle updates. Click here to register for the webinar.

For more information, please contact your Dickerson Account Executive.

CaliforniaChoice announces major portfolio changes and rate corrections

CaliforniaChoice shared plans to offer three new full-network PPO options through Anthem Blue Cross, including access to the Prudent Buyer Network, beginning July 1, 2020. The new options will be:

  • PPO E in the Gold tier
  • PPO C in the Silver tier
  • PPO A with HSA in the Bronze tier

They also plan to add a new Anthem Blue Cross PPO B with HSA in the Bronze tier offering access to the Select PPO network.

CaliforniaChoice also plans to introduce a second Triple Tier option on July 1, 2020 that includes the Bronze, Silver, and Gold tiers, in addition to Silver, Gold, and Platinum Triple Tier. Quoting for July 1, 2020 opens April 15, 2020.

Besides expanding plan options, CaliforniaChoice is also relaxing underwriting requirements.

Here’s how:

  • Proof of payroll reduced to four weeks
  • No ID Cards required when 50% of eligible employees waive coverage
  • Prior carrier bill promo now applies to 6+ groups.
  • Required participation is just 70%, regardless of employer contribution percentage

To read the announcement in full, click here.

CaliforniaChoice also received notification of the following changes effective January 1, 2020 and June 1, 2020:

  • January 1, 2020: rate corrections for UnitedHealthcare Bronze HMO A (lower rate)
  • June 1, 2020: rate corrections for UnitedHealthcare Bronze HMO B effective (higher rate)

For more information on how these changes will be implemented, please contact your Dickerson Account Executive.

Kaiser provides useful tips on self-care and stress management

Kaiser wants to remind everyone of the importance of self-care and stress management, especially during these unprecedented, difficult times. 

Here are some small, but effective things you can do to keep stress at bay and develop a self-care practice:

  • Breathe –  When stress strikes, try a few minutes of deep breathing. Breathe in for a count of 5, hold for 5, and exhale for 5. Repeat 10 times or until you start feeling calm, grounded, and focused.
  • Unplug – Your phone needs time to recharge, and so does your brain. Disconnecting from digital noise for a little time each day can help you stress less and sleep better. Try picking up a new skill or reading a book to pass the time. These can be welcome distractions from the constant influx of disheartening news.
  • Exercise –  Symptoms of stress can create a vicious cycle between your mind and body. Exercise helps to break this cycle by relieving tension and releasing feel-good brain chemicals that fight the effects of stress. Plus, it can relieve some symptoms of depression and anxiety as effectively as certain medications — all with no side effects.
  • Sleep schedule – Lack of sleep affects your mood, mental sharpness, and ability to handle stress. It’s also linked to mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. To create a healthy routine, go to bed and wake up at the same time every day — even on weekends. It can be hard to maintain a regular sleep schedule with mandatory stay-at-home orders, but maintaining some sense of normalcy during these times is important.
  • Speak up – Speak up if you’re struggling. The people in your life are there for a reason, so be honest with your loved ones if you’re having a rough time. They can’t help unless they know you need their support.

For more Kaiser wellness resources, click here.

Dickerson Individual Market

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Molina waives all out-of-pocket expenses for the treatment of COVID-19 

Molina announced plans to waive all cost-sharing expenses related to the treatment of COVID-19 for all Marketplace, Medicare, and Medicaid members. This includes covering the cost of screening tests for COVID-19, including office visits, urgent care, or ER visits associated with testing.

They are also waiving cost-sharing fees for virtual urgent care services for Marketplace members through their partnership with Teladoc. Leveraging Teladoc is a great way for members to receive medical care without having to leave their homes.

Molina also wants to remind members that a Coronavirus Chatbot tool with information on COVID-19 risk factors is available to them on the Molina website, member portal, and mobile app. Additionally, members can also receive free home delivery of prescriptions through any CVS Pharmacy by calling their local pharmacy or visiting the CVS website.

For more information, please contact your Dickerson Account Executive. 

Trump decides to stop funding WHO during COVID-19 pandemic 

President Trump announced on Tuesday evening that he will stop funding the World Health Organization (WHO) during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The reason Trump gave for this decision is that his administration will review WHO’s handling of the coronavirus and accuses WHO of failing to communicate the seriousness of the coronavirus to the United States government back in January. 

Critics believe Trump’s more recent critiques of the WHO is an attempt to deflect growing complaints about his own administration’s slow response to coronavirus in the United States. The WHO, a United Nations health organization, is currently in the process of conducting vaccine trials, distributing test kits, and advising world governments. The United States contributes more to the WHO than any other country at an estimated $400 million per year, and halting funding of the WHO would be a major setback to creating a vaccine. 

President Trump’s decision to halt funding to the WHO is not completely surprising. The White House’s proposed fiscal budget for 2021 released in mid-February, detailed plans to cut the organization’s funding by more than half. 

Click here for the full story.