Preview: 2-50 Small Group Sales and Retention Strategy

Blue Cross and Blue Shield reports:

“As a valued producer and partner with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL), you play a major role in educating your group clients on how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will affect their coverage options, starting Jan. 1, 2014.

The Understanding: Future Small Business Decisions flier provides you with an advance preview of BCBSIL’s small business sales and retention strategy for groups with 2-50 employees. Also, the Frequently Asked Questions below address the most common questions related to renewal decisions and 2014 premiums.

Additional details and face-to-face training opportunities on the small group sales and retention strategy will be provided soon.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is there a conflict with the Affordable Care Act if a small group changes its renewal date? No, the Affordable Care Act does not address 2013 coverage elections for employer groups. If an employer group requests to move its 2013 renewal/anniversary date, this is a standard request that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) will facilitate.
  2. What changes are happening to premiums in 2014? The impact on the premium rate will depend on the group’s or member’s current coverage options and which plan/policy options each chooses in the future.
  3. I have heard that premiums could increase starting in 2014. Why? Provisions of the Affordable Care Act that go into effect in 2014 will expand access to health care coverage for many Americans and provide additional benefits for some. The impact on premiums will vary widely depending on the health coverage options they choose.
  4. Why will groups no longer be able to enroll in their current coverage? According to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a small group employer (as defined by ACA) must transition to a new benefit plan that incorporates the Act’s 2014 Market Rules, unless its current coverage is grandfathered. This transition may occur on the group’s renewal/anniversary date. For example, if a group’s renewal/anniversary date is March 2014, it will be required to move to a new benefit plan that complies with 2014 ACA provisions at that time.
  5. When will more information on health care reform be available? When 2014 products and rates are finalized, BCBSIL will release additional information on health care reform changes. This will help assure that members have the most accurate information to make the best decisions about their health care options. In the meantime, the latest Affordable Care Act updates are available through BCBSIL’s weekly producer and employer enewsletters, our public website and account representatives.
  6. What benefit changes are occurring in 2014?   After our 2014 products and rates are finalized, BCBSIL will work with members to identify the ACA provisions that affect coverage benefits. Additional information on benefit changes will continue to be released in the coming months. Continue to read BCBSIL’s weekly producer newsletter, check our public website and talk to your account representative for the latest Affordable Care Act updates.
  7. What new products will be available in 2014? Although BCBSIL has not yet announced our 2014 plan offerings or rates, we plan to offer products on and off the exchange (also known as health insurance marketplace). Additional information on new products available for 2014 will be provided in the coming months.
  8. Do you have information on producer commissions? After our 2014 products and rates are finalized, BCBSIL will address future producer commissions. Information related to commissions will be provided in the coming months.
  9. How does this strategy affect new small group sales? All of BCBSIL’s small groups will be presented with coverage alternatives/options. Depending upon the effective date for new small group plans, this information may appear in a special mailing or be included in their initial coverage quote.
  10. How will ACA fees affect premiums? Two particular ACA fees – the Annual Fee on Health Insurers (“Health Insurance Fee”) and the Transitional Reinsurance Program Contribution Fee (“Reinsurance Fee”) – will affect applicable groups beginning with the January 2014 premium bill. Information related to these fees and their specific effect on particular market segments (fully insured versus self-funded/ASO) appears now in renewal exhibits and cover letters. As final determinations are made, BCBSIL will provide additional information on ACA fees. In the meantime, please review the Understanding: ACA Fees flier for more information.”