Tag Archives: individual health insurance

PPO, HMO, EPO

Obamacare 2016

Today more than ever, people need help when buying insurance.  Some say they want Obamacare, some say they don’t want Obamacare.  Here is the skinny on Obamacare.

Plan Benefits

Obamacare is not an actual plan.  Obama made the laws and it has been coined “Obamacare”, but you still get the insurance directly from the insurance companies, however if you buy it ON EXCHANGE through healthcare.gov then you may qualify for a subsidy or a reduced premium.  In addition, when you buy on the exchange you have a longer time to pay your premiums than if you buy OFF EXCHANGE.  Therefore, THAT is why a lot of the doctors are not taking Obamacare/ON EXCHANGE plans because in theory, you could use the 3 month grace period to pay your premiums and still get care during that time.  The doctors could get stuck with treating you and never getting paid by the insurance company, or getting paid 3 mos later.  THAT is why they don’t want to take it.  Problem is, most of the companies sell the same plans ON and OFF EXCHANGE so the doctors have no idea if the person has 3 mos extra to pay or not — so they are all saying we won’t take any insurance!!!  Can you see what is going on now?

The benefits of the plans are still great, the problem this year is who will take the insurance you buy.  So make sure you look up your doctor to see if they are in network or not.

Networks

This year the networks are the key to everything.  Instead of shopping benefits, you are essentially shopping networks of providers.  A lot of companies have done away with offering PPOs entirely and are only offering EPOs and HMOs.  Again, there is nothing wrong with the benefits of either of these plans, in fact the benefits of an HMO are typically better than a PPO, however you are restricted to a certain network of doctors and those doctors are not the doctors you have seen for 20+ years.  The reason for that is, on an HMO the doctors in essence get paid less each time they see a patient than if they were to file the claim through a PPO.  In addition, there is a whole lot more paperwork to keep up with when filing a claim on an HMO too.  So a lot of the doctors who have been in business for a long time, don’t want to change how they do things (with good reason).  Therefore, the result is, you have newer “hungrier” doctors on the HMO networks.  The doctors possibly fresh out of medical school or the ones still trying to build their practice.  This doesn’t make them bad doctors, again, just not the doctors you have seen for 20+ years.

Changes

So because of all the changes within the Affordable Care Act, ACA for short, a lot of doctors are getting out of the practice.  This year, you will probably have to change doctors and will have to pay more for your insurance so be prepared.  If you decide to go without insurance entirely, there is a penalty, and it did increase for 2016.  Be aware of all of your options, and it is still FREE to have an agent help you.  They are still the most knowledgeable resources available.

What is a PPO HMO POS EPO

Is it an acronym city or the abbreviations you put behind your name! Health insurance plans are categorized by a few main ways: PPO, HMO, POS, and EPO.

Depending on which plan you buy, depends on if your care is covered when you see a network provider or any doctor. In addition, you may have larger deductible or coinsurance, and/or you may have to get a referral if you want to see a provider out of network

PPO (Preferred Provider Organizations)

PPOs give you the choice of seeing providers in network or out-of-network. You pay less if you use in network providers. You’ll pay more if you want to go out of network for doctors, providers, and hospitals. You may have higher out-of-pocket costs too. If you have a PPO plan, you can visit any doctor without a referral.

POS (Point-of-Service)

POS plans let you go to both in-network and out-of-network providers. With a POS plan, you will have to choose a PCP or primary care doctor from a list of participating providers in network. Your PCP will refer you to other in network providers as needed. If you choose to go to an out-of-network provider, you’ll need a referral and you may pay higher out-of-pocket costs.

HMO (Health Maintenance Organizations)

HMO plans usually require you to seek care from in network providers who work for or contract with the HMO. An HMO generally doesn’t cover or has limited coverage if you go out-of-network except in an emergency. If you choose to see a doctor or facility that isn’t in the HMO network, you may have to pay the full cost. Like the POS plans, HMO members usually have a PCP and must get a referral to see a specialist.

EPO (Exclusive Provider Organizations)

EPOs are much like the HMO in that they generally have coverage only if you see a provider in the EPO network (except in an emergency). Health plans generally can’t require higher copayments or coinsurance if you get emergency care from an out-of-network hospital, no matter what type of plan you have. However, providers may bill you for some additional costs.

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.

 

Short Term and Travel Insurance for Summer

Summer is coming, and you may need Short Term or Travel Insurance. Many people aren’t aware that they very limited ,or often no benefits, under their Individual or Group Health Insurance if they travel outside the US. We offer many affordable options that cover medical treatment, with additional features like emergency medical evacuation, political evacuation, and extreme sports. We have also recently helped several families that needed Short Term Insurance in the US. This has happened when children had to have proof of Insurance for things like Summer Camp. While the children didn’t qualify for a Special Enrollment Period for traditional Health Insurance, they were able to get the Short Term proof of coverage as soon as the next day, and that was enough to get them into camp. If you or someone you know may need Short Term or Travel Insurance this Summer, just call 877-740-8683, or visit www.freedomfreequote.com , to get a free quote today.

June is National Safety Month-Do you have Accident Coverage?

The National Safety Council says the annual cost of injuries in the US is $753 billion. This includes medical costs, lost wages, and damages. Each year 1 in 8 people will receive medical care due to a non-fatal injury, and accidents are the cause of 33% of all ER visits. Workers comp does a good job of covering accidents at work, but 70% of accidents occur outside the workplace. While most people have Health Insurance, we have found that one of the biggest gaps in both Group and Individual policies, even with the new Health Care Reform, is the ER deductible and co-pay. You can obtain an affordable Accident Policy that helps with these costs for as little as 50 cents a day. Give us a call at 877-740-8683, or visit www.freedomfreequote.com , for a free quote today.