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2017 Health Options

2017 Health Options

Here is the actual notification that we mailed to all of our health insurance policyholders this past week notifying them of their 2017 Health Options.  Please read carefully and if you have insurance through one of the companies listed below, depending on which state you live in, the information may vary.  Check with your agent or carrier direct if you are not our customer.

To:  All Health Insurance Policy Holders in various states – All Carriers
From:  Your General Agent Bonny Allbright & Staff at Freedom Benefit Solutions

It’s that time of year again to figure out your best options for Health Insurance coverage for 2017.  Unfortunately, we do not have near the options we had last year.

  • Several companies are not offering coverage at all for 2017
  • Some have limited their coverage to a few specific areas.
  • Everything has gone to HMO coverage. PPO’s are basically non-existent!
  • More doctors are accepting the HMO’s, but finding doctors is still a challenge
  • We are seeing an average of 30% – 42% rate increases for 2017
  • Several companies are discontinuing 2016 policies and you must enroll in another plan

Listed on the next page is what Action you will need to take with different companies, depending on who your coverage is with.  Most of them are discontinuing 2016 coverage and you must select another plan or option for 2017 coverage.

 (This information does not pertain to Group coverage thru an employer or Medicare policies).

The last page is showing some alternative options for Health Coverage in 2017 that may be a solution for some of our customers.  We will be ready to answer your questions and help you with any of your options.

Please call or email for alternative options for 2017:
 936-756-6199 or info@fbsagency.com

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY, YOU MUST TAKE ACTION.

 

United Health Care

You must take Action! UHC Has pulled all ACA plans off the market for 2017.  The exception is:  Short Term and Medicare plans.   For 2017, you must enroll in other coverage with another company, if you have a health plan with UHC other than a Short Term or Medicare plan.  Call us or go to 2017HealthOptions.com for plan info.

Humana

You must take Action! Discontinuance of all plans.  For 2017 you must enroll in new coverage.  Call us or go to 2017HealthOptions.com for plan info.

Aetna

You must take Action!     Discontinuance of all plans.  For 2017 you must enroll in new coverage.  Call us or go to 2017HealthOptions.com for plan info.

Scott & White

You must take Action! Your 2016 plans will end and you must enroll in a new plan either with Scott & White, or with another company. Call us for plan info.  Scott & White will only offer Bronze Plans for 2017 and their coverage area is primarily thru out Central Texas and some areas around Dallas – Ft Worth area.

Memorial Herman

You must take Action! Your 2016 plan will end and you must enroll in new coverage for 2017. Call us for plan info.

Cigna

You must take Action! 2016 ACA plans are ending.  For 2017 you must enroll in new coverage.  “Does Not” apply to Grandfathered plans. Call us for plan info.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas

NO ACTION REQUIRED, unless making a plan change or updating your subsidy. FYI…the Producer number in your Renewal letter is “not” our direct number…the Correct number is (877) 740-8683.  BCBS is the “only” carrier, who will continue to offer plans in every county in Texas.  If you have current coverage with BCBS you will be auto-enrolled into a like 2017 plan.  Grandfathered plans will not be affected by this.

We suggest “not” contacting BCBS direct, but rather call us, your agent, at (936) 756-6199 or toll free (877)740-8683.  Last year several of our customers received incorrect information by calling direct.  There were payment issues, policies being cancelled, and some lost coverage completely.  We tried to help, but we were no longer their agent and they had to fix their own problems.

Going direct DOES NOT save you money.  Having a personal agent/broker is free.  When you have an issue we can be most helpful to you in getting it resolved without you having to be on hold those 2 – 3 hours with inexperienced customer service reps, who have difficulty solving any issues.  By having a broker, you receive personalized attention with any issues that come up in the future.  We will take care of your issues in much less time than any of the customer service reps can.

If you do call BCBS direct, please make sure you get the name of the person you talked to and tell them your agent is:  Freedom Benefit Solutions / Bonny Allbright.

It would be very helpful if you could let us know if you made a change “directly”, so we can make sure your change is processed and in effect.

For Your Specific 2017 Options go to:
www.2017HealthOptions.com

Group Insurance

  • Good for Small Business Owners
  • Must have at least two people with one being a W-2 employee
  • PPO’s still available on Group Policy
  • Rates will be about the same maybe a little less

Short Term Insurance

  • Coverage for up to a year at a time.
  • Major/Medical – Utilizes a PPO network – Some plans include doctor and prescription co-pays
  • Must be healthy – No Pre-existing conditions. **Guarantee Issue plans available.
  • Rates about 50% less than ACA plans
  • Not ACA qualified, so you may be subject to Penalty, but your overall savings will be less

Sharing Ministry Plans

  • They are not regulated by the state, so there are no guarantees
  • Must adhere to living a strict Biblical lifestyle (no smoking, no drinking, etc)
  • Membership can be cancelled anytime and sharing of medical costs can be refused.
  • No Pre-existing conditions are covered
  • Exempt from ACA rules and regulations, including the Penalty.
  • Cost considerably less than ACA plans.
  • We can enroll you, but will make sure you know pros and cons before taking this option.

ACA Health Insurance Plans

  • This is the standard Health Insurance coverage most of you have been on for years.
  • Guaranteed Issue – Full Coverage – Subsidy qualified – ACA qualified

Thank You for allowing us to be your agent and please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your insurance now and in the future.

BCBS PPO ACA

BCBS of TX PPO Members

Urgent ALL BCBS of TX PPO Members must read the following notification just released by BCBS of Texas.  This Notice affects all members who have an ACA (Affordable Care Act) PPO plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas.

As of December 31, 2015, BCBS of TX will no longer be offering their PPO insurance plans for the individual under 65 block of business going forward.  This means if you currently have one of the new ACA plans purchased after Jan 1, 2014, and it is a PPO, it will no longer be offered for 2016.   This means you must change plans for 2016!

According to BCBSTX, they have filed a new product that should give members a flexible choice.  Bottom line, their PPO network for new ACA plans is going away.  The 2016 plans are currently not available, but as soon as they are released, we will be contacting you.  You can count on us to make sure you see all options available to you, from All Insurers and that we will make this transition as smooth as possible for you.

According to BCBSTX, the reason for this is because for the past 2 years, they have been the only insurer offering individual PPO plans in all TX markets and due to anti-selection, they find the PPO product is unsustainable at an affordable price.  The will continue to offer other plan options in all 254 counties, on and off the Marketplace.

There are about 367,000 members who will have their PPO plan discontinued in 2016.  If this is you, click here.

There are about 148,000 members who are in a Grandfathered PPO plan who WILL NOT have their plan discontinued and will be able to continue to use the Blue Choice PPO network.

This does not affect Employer Group customers or Medicare members.

The Blue Advantage HMO Network will remain and BCBSTX is working to expand the number of providers in that Network.

According to BCBSTX, they paid out $400 million more in claims than it collected in premiums in 2014. Losses that high are unsustainable, and they must adjust offerings, as most of the other insurers have done also, in order to be sustainable in the new market reality.

As a Broker, who represents all the major Health Insurers, we are seeing many changes taking place in this entire market, which can have major effects on many consumers!  According to different Insurance News publications, it appears that Aetna is in the process of acquiring Humana and Anthem in the process of acquiring Cigna.  Acquisitions like this, mean less Insurers in the market, less competition, thereby creating less choices for our customers.  We realize this is not good for anyone, but we will help you find the best products that are available in the market.

Remember…A Broker works for YOU….not the Insurance Company!  It is ultimately our ONLY goal to make sure you have the plan that fits your needs best.  There are more things to take into consideration when choosing a plan, other than just the cost.  Many people found this out this year!

You will never pay more for your premium by working with a Broker, than you do by going direct with the Insurance company or by going direct to the Marketplace.

To shop for 2016 plans now, click here.

 

how to pay bcbs online

How To Pay BCBS of Texas

Need to know How to pay BCBS of Texas Insurance?

They now have four very convenient ways to make your payment now.  You choose which one works best for you.

Regardless of what method you choose, each month you will receive a bill for your premium. You must make a payment in order to use your insurance. If your payment is not current, your coverage may be denied at the doctor.  Your first premium must be paid before you can start using your benefits.

Check/Money Order

Pay your premium by mail with a personal check, cashier’s check or money order. To do so, be sure you:

  • Make the check payable to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.
  • Write your account/member ID number on your check, cashier’s check or money order.
  • Include the payment coupon that was sent to you with your bill.
  • Send your payment at least 5 business days in advance of the payment due date to ensure timely posting to your account.
  • Mail your payment to the address on your bill.

Bank Draft

  • Call the OrbiPay®* payment line toll-free at 844-642-9414. Please have your member ID number, bank routing number and bank account number ready.
  • Make a one-time payment by bank draft through the OrbiPay’s secure website .
  • Set up recurring electronic funds transfer (EFT) by calling Customer Service toll free at 888-697-0683.

Cash

Credit or Debit Card

  • Make a one-time payment over the phone by calling the BillMatrix Automated Payment Center at 866-654-8569 and enter the necessary information when prompted to make your payment. You will need your 9-digit Member ID number found on your ID card.
  • Log in to your Blue Access for Members account and look for the Billing and Payments section. Click the Pay with Credit Card button to be redirected to a secure website for submitting payment by card.

* Orbipay is the secure payment processing system offered by Alacriti Payments, LLC. BCBSTX has contracted with Alacriti to process ACH/electronic check payments.

† BillMatrix is the secure payment processing system offered by Fiserv. BCBSTX has contracted with Fiserv to process payments with debit, credit and pre-paid debit cards.

**NOTE:  If you have already enrolled for coverage beginning January 1, 2016, you have until January 31, 2016 to make your first payment before your policy is cancelled.  You will not be able to use your coverage until your first payment is posted.

texas member fraud alert

FRAUD Alert from BCBS of Texas

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas just issued a FRAUD ALERT to their members.   BCBS members have received phone calls from people saying that they work for Blue Cross and Blue Shield. These callers have asked for personal information, and we believe the calls are part of a health insurance scam. If you are a BCBS member, you will be receiving an email letting you know how to spot fraudulent calls.

Be Smart.  Another organization:  Houston Vietnamese Service Agency Detects, Warns Clients about ACA Scam.  Learn more about how to protect yourself in this second of six Be Scam Smart articles

If you have any questions, or feel the call you receive is not legit, hang up and call your agent or BCBS directly.