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Posts Tagged ‘UnitedHealthcare’

Medicare Advantage Plans Cleared To Go Beyond Medical Coverage — Even Groceries

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

The Washington Post reports:

“Air conditioners for people with asthma, healthy groceries, rides to medical appointments and home-delivered meals may be among the new benefits added to Medicare Advantage coverage when new federal rules take effect next year.

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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.

Blue Cross Blue Shield won’t credit Land of Lincoln members for deductibles

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

The Chicago Tribune reports:

“A large insurer on Illinois’ Obamacare exchange has decided not to credit former Land of Lincoln members for money they’ve already paid toward their deductibles despite a request from the state to consider doing so.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois has decided it cannot waive deductible or out-of-pocket costs for Land of Lincoln members who may join Blue Cross in October, said Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois spokeswoman Dana Holmes on Monday.

(more…)

Illinois insurers seek premium increases of up to 45%

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

The Chicago Sun Times reports:

“Health insurance premiums for Illinois residents who buy coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace could increase by as much as 45 percent according to proposals submitted by insurers and made public Monday.

The leading insurer on Illinois’ exchange, Blue Cross Blue Shield, is proposing increases for 2017 ranging from 23 percent to 45 percent for individual health care plans, according to proposals posted by Healthcare.gov. Another insurer, Coventry Health Care of Illinois, proposed rate increases as high as 21 percent.

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UnitedHealthcare launches a smaller, ‘very, very different’ insurer

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Star Tribune Business reports:

” UnitedHealthcare is facing competition this year in Atlanta and Chicago from a new name in health insurance — a carrier that’s actually one of its subsidiaries.

For the first time, individual shoppers are buying coverage from Harken Health, a company with about 100 employees based at an office on the UnitedHealthcare corporate campus in Minnetonka.

Harken is being run as an independent entity, executives said, with a distinct approach to selling coverage. Subscribers receive unlimited access to primary care, without copays, if they visit a health center owned by Harken Health.

“It’s like an automobile company that makes a brand of car, and then with better luck or worse luck they also make a Saturn,” said Roger Feldman, a health insurance expert at the University of Minnesota.

(more…)

Obamacare Encounters Another Bump in the Road

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

According to News Max Finance:

” Well, the hammer has fallen: The largest health insurer in the U.S. has started pulling out of select Obamacare exchanges.

Five months ago UnitedHealth, which had been singing sunny songs to investors about its bright future on the exchanges, abruptly began crooning the blues. In an earnings call barely a month after executives assured investors that all was going swimmingly, they confessed that they were losing a ton of money on their Obamacare policies and described a pattern that sounded as if consumers were gaming the system — signing up for a few months, using a ton of services, and then canceling their policies. If this continued, they said, they would have no choice but to pull out of the exchange business. (more…)

IRS Grants Extension for 6055 and 6056 Reporting

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

According to United Healthcare, Broker Connection Special Edition:

“On Dec. 28, 2015, the IRS announced that it is granting an automatic extension for the 2015 information returns required of insurers, employers and certain other providers of Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) under Section 6055 and 6056 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC).

Coverage providers that need more time now have until March 31 to get Form 1095 to individuals and until June 30 to electronically file with the IRS. For providers not filing electronically, the deadline is May 31, 2016. (more…)

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