Statewide PPO Plans Discontinued for Individual / Families in 2016

October 14, 2015

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Maricopa County, AZ ~ Blue Cross® Blue Shield® of AZ (BCBSAZ) has announced the Statewide PPO network will be discontinued at the end of 2015 for all Non-Grandfathered Individual & Family plans.  In Maricopa County, BCBSAZ will offer two exclusive HMO networks only, Alliance and Select.

Although open enrollment doesn’t begin until November 1st this year, there are a few things you can do to prepare if you are one of the many members required to make a new plan selection for 2016:

  1. Check the new networks to find out which network has the doctors you desire, if any.
  2. If you do not find your desired doctors on either the Select or Alliance network, you will want to check available networks from other insurance companies.
  3. If you purchased your insurance directly from BCBSAZ, your agent can help you make a plan change with them now.
  4. If you purchased your insurance on the Marketplace, you can reapply here (After November 1st)

Auto-renewal WILL NOT be available for all plans, which means some members will be required to select a new health plan by December 15th to avoid a lapse in coverage.  You can view the 2016 plan options with BCBSAZ here.

If you travel out of state on a regular basis, you will most likely want to select a carrier and plan with a PPO network.

L & A Services is prepared and certified to assist with 2016 health plan selections and enrollment on or off the federal marketplace under National Producer Number 6747133.

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BCBSAZ 2016 Individual/Family Plan Renewal

August 27, 2015

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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:

  1. 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.

//BR


BCBSAZ Announces Oct 2015 Rates for Individual Grandfathered Health Plans

July 28, 2015

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) recently mailed individual grandfathered renewal letters.  Individual members with Suite A grandfathered plans with October 2015 renewal dates will be the first to receive their letters and renewal information.

The rate increase for these plans will be 18.5% (average, not including age adjustments.)  Some affected members will be able to increase their deductible within their product to help mitigate the rate increase, however they cannot move to a different grandfathered plan. BCBSAZ is discontinuing the BluePreferred Original individual product effective December 31, 2015.

For Members with Plans Continuing in 2016

Though they will have the option to renew their current plan, some members may consider switching to a non-grandfathered individual plan. Before doing so, they should be aware of the benefits grandfathered plans offer.  Grandfathered plans provide access to a large network of providers, out-of-state coverage, and, in most cases, lower monthly premiums than those found with a non-grandfathered plans.

For Members with Plans Scheduled to be Discontinued

Members enrolled in BluePreferred Original can stay in their plans until December 31, 2015. While this only affects a small number of members, these members must select a new plan by December 15th to ensure a January 1, 2016 effective date.

All Affordable Care Act compliant plans renew on January 1st.  This year, open enrollment for every individual begins on November 1st, and ends on January 31st. Watch for more information on renewal communications, including those to members enrolled in grandmothered and non-grandfathered plans, coming soon.

If you have any questions or help considering your options, please contact your insurance broker, L & A Services at 602-996-6010.