Covered California Open Enrollment Begins Nov. 1st

Things to know about Covered California Open Enrollment – 2016

  • The open enrollment period for Covered California and all other individual health plans in California starts on November 1st and ends January 31st It is important to know that if you sign up after December 15th your plan will not start until February 1st and if you sign up after January 15th your plan will not start until March 1st.
  • Update your Consent for Verification. Part of an application for Covered California requires you to give consent for electronic verification for some of your personal information such as income, immigration status, and incarceration status. You can choose to give consent for 1-5 years. Depending on how many years you chose when you enrolled you may have to re-certify by December 15th or YOU WILL LOSE YOUR TAX CREDITS. This is easily done through your Covered California account online or by calling the member services line at (800) 300-1506. The best option is to call your agent as they can re-certify for you.
  • Throughout California the average premium increase in 2017 will be 13.2%. In Butte County Anthem Blue Cross will increase on average 10.5% and Blue Shield will increase on average 22.3%. Most people will not actually notice the premium increase because their tax credits will increase as well.
  • Anthem Blue Cross has decided to eliminate their PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plans and replace them with EPO (Exclusive Provider Organization) plans. THIS IS A HUGE CHANGE. This means Blue Cross members that are on EPO plans will no longer be able to get coverage outside of the Blue Cross network. They must see Anthem providers or they will pay full price.
  • Blue Shield of California will be the only insurance company offering PPO plans in Butte County for 2017. Blue Shield is also the only insurance company being offered in Butte County via the SHOP (Small Group Exchange). This is good news for many small businesses as it may allow them to offer Blue Shield PPO plans and qualify for a business tax credit.
  • Starting in 2017 most Covered California members will be assigned to a Primary Care Physician. If your plan is a PPO or EPO the assignment of a Primary Care Physician does not affect your ability to see the provider that you want. According to Covered California this is designed to match people with physicians that are currently accepting new member’s but has no bearing on the physicians they can actually use. So if you have received a notice from Covered California letting you know that you have been assigned to a new physician please be aware that it means absolutely nothing!
  • In 2016 dental & vision coverage were added as an option to Covered California. The dental options are not very robust and can be expensive for what you get in return for services. The vision plans through VSP are reasonably priced and offer a very good benefit. I would encourage you to ask an agent about both.