Yes, the state exchange did open today but as usual they have been running behind on getting all the information out to people including us agents. We just got Blue Shield and Anthem in and off-exchange plans last week and are going over them to learn all of the plans. EVERYTHING is changing—plan benefits, names of plans, networks and of course rates. The good news is that people have all the way until December 15th to sign up for the January 1st start date so this week does not really mean a lot in the big picture of things. There is definitely a rush of advertising and buzz but I think it is more important to really take time to understand what plan you would be signing up for and what doctors and hospitals are in the network because the state exchanges are going to have limited networks—ie: about a third smaller than the current Anthem and Blue Shield PPO and HMO networks and of course the affordability of all the plans.
So to make sure your doctors and hospital that you prefer are in the networks can you please email me your doctors names and either their phone number or city where their office resides? Also can you tell me what your adjusted gross income was on line 37 of your 2012 tax return because that is what will determine if you qualify for any federal subsidies in the State Exchange? If you do NOT qualify for a subsidy it is better to have one of the plans out of the exchange because you not only get the same benefits at a similar price but a larger network and the current wisdom is saying that the state exchange plans because of the subsidies will attract a lot of the very sick people and so their claims experience over the next year or two will sky rocket and so will their rates.
As you can see there are a lot of considerations so people should not just rush into the exchange just because it is open. We can place people in the exchange or out of the exchange plans depending on which fits our clients’ needs best. If you call or go online to the state exchange they will only tell you about the state exchange plans not any of the multitude of plans that are available off-Exchange. We should have a pretty good handle on all the information by next week which is plenty of time before December 15th—two months from now.
The Affordable Care Act is scheduled to take effect on January 1st 2014. We will begin to sign up current clients and all new clients starting on October 1st, 2013.
To calculate your expected health care cost and to see if you are available for a subsidy, check out this cost calculator. http://www.coveredca.com/calculating_the_cost.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Sitelinks&utm_term=Cost+Calculator&gclid=COiBiMTam7kCFc57QgodFxUApA