This week, Blue Cross Blue Shield of AZ (BCBSAZ) unveiled their new proposed plan and premium information for individuals and families in 2016.
There are many changes, and many customers will be required to take action to avoid losing coverage at the end of the year. We are prepared to assist these customers with this process as early as September 9th.
Although BCBSAZ will be sending written notification to all affected members in the coming months, we wanted to provide the information in advance to help better prepare these customers for this year’s renewal.
These are the most important changes to know for 2016:
- Metal level plans (Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze) are considered ACA-compliant plans, since these were plans purchased and effective from January 2014 to now.
- In 2015, these plans included three networks: Statewide PPO, Alliance HMO, and Select HMO. For 2016, BCBSAZ will only offer the two HMO networks in Maricopa County…the Statewide PPO plan is being deleted. If you have an ACA-compliant plan with the Statewide PPO network, either purchased through the federal marketplace or directly from BCBSAZ, you MUST select a new plan by December 15th to avoid losing coverage on January 1st. Customers living in all other counties will have access to the Statewide PPO network, as well as another regional network. Note: the HMO plans do NOT require a primary care physician assignment, NOR do they require a referral to see a specialist. However, it is important to check the list to make sure desired doctors participate in the network or else they are not covered.
- The BlueEssential & Copay Complete plans have been deleted, so these customers will need to move to a new plan, as well.
- For customers on a plan with either the Alliance or Select network, BCBSAZ will automatically enroll in the next closest available plan available for 2016. This does not preclude you from changing your plan during open enrollment (November 1 – January 31), so contact our office if alternative choices are desired.
- BCBSAZ ACA-compliant plans experienced an average rate increase of 21.4%.
2. Grandmothered Plans are those plans purchased and effective between 2010-2013, and will include the word ‘Plus’ in the name of the plan.
- All of these plans are being renewed without any changes to benefits or to the PPO network.
- The average rate increase on these plans is 21.2%, however, the new rate will be guaranteed until April 30, 2017. This will lock in the rates for a full 16 months.
- Despite the increase, these plans continue to offer greater premium savings over the ACA-compliant plans. Most customers in these plans will want to keep what they have.
- Nothing is required to keep these plans, but customers still have the ability to either 1) change the deductible to lower the premium, or 2) consider moving to an ACA-plan during open enrollment (November 1 – January 31) if desired. If a member moves away from a Grandmothered plan, they cannot get it back later. We are able to assist with customers with this evaluation.
- BCBSAZ will be sending a letter to each affected customer on October 12th.
3. New Dental Plan
- BCBSAZ is now offering their group BluePreferred Dental plans to individuals and families.
- Contact our office if interested in private PPO dental coverage from BCBSAZ
We suspect there will be many changes in 2016 from all of our carrier partners. We know there will be many questions, and we are here to answer them. Please keep in mind that this is an extremely high-volume time of the year, so time is of the essence…the sooner you take action, the smoother the process will go for you.
Thank you to all 266 of our individual BCBSAZ customers. We look forward to serving you during this time of change.