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Posts Tagged ‘bronze plan’

Only one insurer will offer PPO plan on state Obamacare exchange

Monday, October 31st, 2016

The Chicago Tribune reports:

“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois will be the only insurer offering PPO health insurance plans on the state’s Obamacare exchange next year, according to information released Friday by the state Department of Insurance.

That’s down from five insurers that offered individual PPO plans on the exchange this year. Many consumers prefer PPO health plans because, unlike HMO plans, they allow patients to see specialist doctors without a referral and see physicians who are out-of-network, albeit at higher costs.

The reduced choices were not unexpected, following the exit of several insurers from Illinois’ exchange. Aetna, its Coventry brand, UnitedHealthcare, UnitedHealthcare subsidiary Harken Health and Land of Lincoln all announced this year they wouldn’t offer individual plans on the exchange next year. Many insurers have cited financial struggles as their reason for abandoning the exchange.

The information was released Friday along with final rates for insurance plans on the exchange, which on average, are largely the same as rates submitted to the federal government in August. Rates will increase by an average of 44 percent for the lowest-priced bronze plans, 45 percent for the lowest-priced silver plans and 55 percent for the lowest-priced gold plans.

The information released Friday, however, also shows for the first time which insurers will offer what types of plans in each county on the exchange next year:

• In Cook County, insurer Celtic will offer an HMO plan, Cigna will offer an HMO and Blue Cross and Blue Shield will offer an HMO and a PPO.

• In Lake and McHenry counties, Blue Cross and Blue Shield will be the only on-exchange insurer offering HMO and PPO plans.

• In Kane and DuPage counties, Cigna will offer an HMO, Celtic will offer an HMO to part of the area and Blue Cross and Blue Shield will offer an HMO and PPO.

The federal government will release specific premiums, deductibles and information about networks by Nov. 1, when consumers can begin shopping for insurance on the exchange.

This year, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois stopped offering its broadest PPO plan for individuals on the exchange, instead offering a smaller PPO network that didn’t include popular academic medical centers at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago or hospital chain NorthShore University HealthSystem.

“We will continue to work with state and federal regulators and legislators to ensure a stable and sustainable insurance marketplace and to improve the quality and cost of care for all of our members,” Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois said in a statement Friday.

Illinois is not unique in how few insurers will offer on-exchange PPOs next year, said Katherine Hempstead, a senior adviser at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Options will be more plentiful for Illinois residents who buy individual insurance off the exchange, but people who buy off-exchange plans aren’t eligible for federal subsidies that offset insurance costs. About 75 percent of Illinois residents who buy insurance on the exchange now get those subsidies, which will allow those consumers to pay less than $75 a month next year, even with the rate increase, Jonathan Gold, a spokesman for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement.

Five insurers will offer off-exchange PPO plans next year in different parts of the state. In all, 14 insurers will offer plans off the exchange. Consumers typically can buy off-exchange insurance through brokers or through insurance companies directly.

Oftentimes, insurers are more inclined to offer plans off the exchange because they may believe they’ll get healthier customers, said Larry Levitt, a senior vice president for special initiatives at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Most consumers, he said, are most concerned about making sure insurance plans’ networks include their doctors and that their monthly premiums aren’t too high. “It means consumers have to shop around carefully, as options are changing,” he said.

What will you see on Obamacare exchange for 2017? Details start to emerge

Monday, October 31st, 2016

The Chicago Tribune reports:

“Though full details won’t be released until later this month, some information is starting to trickle out about what Illinois residents will and won’t find when they shop for health insurance on the state’s Affordable Care Act exchange.


Premiums see big jump in 2014

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Benefits Pro reports:

“How much are consumers actually paying for insurance now that Obamacare is here?

That’s what private exchange operator eHealth wanted to find out. And with its new research, it found unless you have subsidies, health insurance on the individual market is much more expensive under PPACA.

On Wednesday it launched the eHealth Price Index, “the first and only tool of its kind that tracks on a daily basis the average monthly cost of individual and family health insurance for plans based on applications submitted nationwide through eHealth,” the company said.


Obamacare data suggest Blues’ low-price strategy is working

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Chicago Health Care Daily reports:

“The parent company of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois appears to be reaping the benefits of setting the premiums for its plans lower than other carriers on the federal health insurance exchange. (more…)

For Blue Cross of Illinois, more is more on health exchange

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Crain’s Chicago Business reports:

“Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois is aggressively pricing its health plans on the new insurance exchange, according to a Crain’s analysis, as the state’s dominant insurer makes a bold grab for more marketshare.

Average monthly premiums charged by the division of Chicago-based Health Care Service Corp. are consistently the lowest or near the lowest across a range of plans and types of beneficiaries for Chicago-area plans that Crain’s examined. Blue Cross is already the largest insurer in the state, with about 70 percent of the market.


New health insurance choices under Obamacare

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

CBS News reports:
“For many American workers Oct. 1 marks the beginning of open enrollment, when employees make benefits elections for the coming year. This is the time to make new choices or confirm existing elections on the menu of your company’s health insurance options and other benefits.
But this year, Oct. 1 also marks the beginning of open enrollment for health insurance coverage through the new Health Insurance Marketplace, formerly known as the health insurance exchange. This marketplace is required to be available by this date in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. This adds yet another layer of complexity for individuals as they sort out which health insurance plan is best in 2014.


Out-Of-Pocket Costs For Drugs Will Increase Under ACA

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Insurance News Net reports:

“A new analysis from HealthPocket of early health insurance rate filings finds that consumers who choose the lower cost Bronze Plans and Silver Plans under the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) will likely be paying more for prescription drugs than they do now.

Compared to comparable existing individual and family plan copays and coinsurance costs, consumers with prescription drug coverage can expect to pay an average of 34 percent more out of pocket for these medications if trends continue.


Kaiser Analysis Estimates Cost-Sharing for Bronze Plans Under Health Reform

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Kaiser Foundation reports:

“The least expensive health plan that most Americans would be required to purchase in 2014 under the so-called ³individual mandate² would provide coverage largely for catastrophic medical expenses, finds a new Kaiser Family Foundation study. The study is available at:


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