Open enrollment for Covered California is up and running.
It’s had an emphatic beginning. In its few two weeks, there were over 48,000 sign-ups. That up to 9,000 then this time last year. Part of this increase could be from the significant amount of money that is being spent on advertising for Covered California. The marketing budget is said to be around $45 million. All of the money is being poured into TV commercial spots and radio advertisements. There has also been about $100,000 spent on murals being painted across the state, many of which do not have anything to do with health insurance coverage.
This comes in stark contrast to the federal budget for health care.
Last year the budget for healthcare.gov was 100 million dollars, this year they have $10 million. The Trump administration has made it very clear that they want to get rid of Obamacare and even though their attempts on Capitol Hill have not yet led to any changes, they have slashed the advertising budget. California is one of 11 states that runs its health insurance exchange.
However, not everyone is a fan of how California is spending their massive budget.
“It’s a waste of taxpayer money,” said Sally Pipes, the president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco; “All of this money being used on murals and bus tours and TV ads, etc., it’s not going to change the number of enrollees that much. It would be better to save money and reduce taxes so that people have a lower tax burden.” Admittedly, we would not mind seeing these funds go to help with premiums. However, that does not seem to be the course at this time.
If you are looking for a health insurance plan that provides the care you require at a price that will not overwhelm you, please speak to us at Bernardini & Donovan. We would love to help you find the plan that will fit all your needs. We are experts in health care and can help you.
Did you know… about the 80/20 rule?
We realize that many people may have health care but don’t know how the systems work or what their premiums are going to each month. We understand that life is busy and that you may not have all the time in the world to research and learn an argumentatively complex system of health care insurance and providers. So we thought that we would start a new series of posts focused on “Did you know…” With this blog, we will be looking at the 80/20 rule.
Did you know… that health insurance companies are required to spend a mandated amount on your healthcare? Insurance Companies are mandated to $.85 of every dollar on your Health Care.
This 80/20 rule is also referred to as Medical Loss Provision Ratio in the Affordable Care Act. The rule states for 80% of premiums collected must be spent on health care or on improving actions for the person. The other 20% can go to administrative needs of the medical insurance company such as marketing or other financial needs. These numbers specifically apply to individual and small group markets. If you are part of a large group market, then the numbers change to 85% and 15% of healthcare and administrative needs respectively. The thought process with this rule is to ensure greater transparency within insurance companies so we can truly see where the money is going. If an insurance company does not spend the 80 to 85% of premiums toward healthcare, then they are required to provide a rebate for the portion that was not spent. This rebate looks at the entire corporation and their spending and not just on one individual’s health care expenditures. Are you someone who has received this kind of rebate in the past? If so you know that the rebates usually come in the form of a check to the individual, are applied as a credit to their account or are reflected in the rates of the following year of insurance. Or if you are part of a small or large group then the rebate is given to your employer who passes it along to their employees. We hope that this “Did you know” blog was helpful. If you have any more questions about the Medical Loss Provision Ratio, please feel free to call and ask us.
Health Insurance Special Enrollment Period
If you missed out on signing up for health insurance during open enrollment, do not worry! The Federal government has recently announced that they are opening a special enrollment period for those who were not able to sign up for health insurance during open enrollment. This special enrollment period runs from March 15th to April 30th and is the last time that you will be able to sign up for health insurance coverage for 2015. While this special enrollment period only applies to the 37 states that are covered through the federal marketplace, state-run exchanges are expected to follow.
In order to qualify for the special enrollment period, people will have to prove that they only became aware of the tax penalty for not having health insurance when they were filing their taxes. While the special enrollment period will not reverse the fine for not having health care, it will give people a chance to get the right health care plan for their needs.
Under the Affordable Care Act, everyone is required to have a health insurance plan, or face a financial penalty. However, many people were not aware of the penalty for not having health insurance until they started filling out their tax return for 2014.
The government also recently accounted that the wrong information to help calculate whether they received too much or too little of a subsidy for last year was sent out to 800,000 people. People who have been affected should have already been notified by phone or email, and need to wait to file their taxes until they receive a new 1095-A form, which was sent out in early March.
For all of your health insurance needs and to ensure that you have the right amount of health care under Covered California, contact Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services in Redlands, California.
Forgot To Sign Up For Health Insurance? Special Enrollment Period Is Now Open!
It is not too late to sign up for health insurance! Even though the open enrollment period ended on February 15th, Covered California and the Federal government are offering a new special enrollment period for those who were not able to sign up for health care coverage during open enrollment.
In order to qualify for the special enrollment period, you must prove that you were not aware of the tax penalty for not having health insurance in 2014, or that you may now be facing a penalty for not having health insurance during the beginning of 2015. The special enrollment period opened on March 15th, and will stay open until April 30th to give people the chance to sign up for health coverage.
It is important to keep in mind that while you now have a chance to sign up for health coverage if you are not already enrolled in a plan, the special enrollment period will not get rid of any penalties that you already have to pay. To attest that you did not know about the penalty for not having coverage, you must select “Informed of Tax Penalty Risk” on the drop down menu on the Covered California website.
In addition to the special enrollment period, there are other qualifying life events that may help to qualify you for a special enrollment period. Some of the most common qualifying life events include getting married or divorced, having or adopting a child, or moving to a state that does not offer the same health care plan that you are currently enrolled in.
For all of your health insurance needs and to ensure that you have the right amount of protection, contact the health insurance professionals at Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services in Redlands, California.
2014 is quickly coming to a close! The middle of November has passed, which means we are in the midst of open enrollment season. If you have not already taken the time to evaluate your current, and future health care needs, now is the time to do so. Knowing what you do and do not need in a health plan will make the selection process much easier.
In order to secure your new health plan, you need to make sure you meet the appropriate deadlines. You are only allowed to go 3 months with a gap in your coverage before you will be ordered to pay an expensive fine. In order to avoid this, and save yourself some time and money, familiarize yourself with these important dates:
- Open enrollment 2015 officially begins on November 15th of 2014.
- The final day to enroll for a health plan that will kick in on January 1st, 2015 is December 31st, 2014.
- All health plans purchased through the 2014 Marketplace will cease to be effective beginning December 31st, 2014.
- January 1st, 2015 is the first date that new health coverage can begin.
- Open enrollment 2015 will close on February 15th, 2015.
Make sure that you do not miss any of these crucial deadlines. Do not take the risk of being under or uninsured for any amount of time. You will surely regret it when you are in the face of a health care-related emergency!
The best way to navigate the 2015 Marketplace is to first contact a Certified Covered California Broker. These individuals have the knowledge and experience necessary to guide you through the complex, and often confusing world of health care. They can dispense quality advice that will make choosing the right plan for you much easier. Certified Covered California Brokers can even find ways to save you money! Please contact Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services to speak with a licensed agent today!
Being a first-time health care policy owner can be stressful, and confusing! What happens if you select a health plan, and then decide that you wish to change it? Are you out of luck, or is there something you can do? We are here to help answer your questions like these! Here are a few pieces of enlightening health care information:
- You are allowed to change your plan, as long as it falls within the open enrollment window, which spans from November 15th, 2014 to February 15th, 2015.
- There may be an overlap period where you will live with your previously selected health care plan before your second choice plan kicks in. It is smart to discuss this time period with an insurance agent who specializes in health care.
- To change your health plan during the open enrollment period, your first step should be to log into your online marketplace account.
- Next, you should navigate through the “My Plans and Programs” section, to the “End/Terminate All Coverage” tab. Click “Eligibility & Appeals”, then “Continue to Enrollment” where you are welcome to compare and contrast different health plans that you are eligible for.
- Pay attention to the start date of your policy once you reach a decision.
- If you have troubles with the process, you should get in contact with one of our certified Covered California agents here at Bernardini & Donovan’s Insurance Services to help you find the right plan for you!
We hope this information has eased your mind if you think you may want to change your plan before the enrollment period is over. If you have health care questions that need answers, please get in touch with the skilled insurance agents at Bernadini & Donovan Insurance, located in Redlands! We are an experienced insurance agency who cannot wait to fulfill all of your healthcare needs!
With November on our tails, we will soon be consumed with thoughts of health coverage. The time has come to sit down, and critically evaluate our current and future health care needs. Finding the right coverage is an art of sorts. You want to make sure you can afford the plan, but that the plan will do its job in keeping you adequately covered. In order to master this art, you will need to team up with a health insurance agent. Here are just a few of the many reasons why this is a good idea:
- The open enrollment process is only a couple of years old. While many adjustments have been made to make online enrollment less challenging, it is not a guarantee that all individuals will not run into technical difficulties. A certified Covered California agent here at Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services is well versed in the process, and can help you overcome any speed bumps you may encounter.
- Many individuals take less than 15 minutes to evaluate their options for a plan, and settle before thoroughly understanding how their decision could affect their life. An agent will not let you make this hasty, and unwise decision.
- Health insurance agents have years of experience with health care, and are familiar with scenarios where an individual’s coverage was not enough. They can use this expertise to guide you in the right direction, and ensure you are not taking any risks.
You need a certified and experienced insurance agent to guide you through the process. Their assistance can help you to avoid overpaying for your plan, or having to settle for less coverage than you need. Never sacrifice coverage for price when collaborating with an agent! Please reach out to the experienced insurance professionals at Bernadini & Donovan Insurance for any assistance you may need.