Grandmothered plans and the HIX experience

Update on keeping your old policy

The Idaho Dept. of Insurance just issued guidance to carriers regarding “grandmothered” plans – the option to extend 2013 plans beyond normal renewal in 2014. If your plan renews later than Oct 1, 2014, then it can not be renewed again. Oct 1 or before, it can.

So the question is cost. DOI’s guidance is for a streamlined rate request (carriers to the DOI), which could make it harder for the carriers to justify a large hike. Some carriers won’t go for that. Remember – it is the carrier’s option to offer to renew again in 2014.  Congress is scrambling to change the law to make this quasi remedy legal.

If you have:

Blue Cross of Idaho

BCI WILL renew pre-2014 plans in 2014 (through Oct 1). So, it is possible you could have your pre-2014 plan up to its renewal date in 2015; for some, all the way through Sep 2015.


PS will NOT renew pre-2014 plans in 2014. So, say your SmartHealth plan normally renews June 1. Then by May 15, 2014 you will have needed to have chosen a new Qualified Health Plan for June 1. If you make no selection, then the carrier will default you into the lowest price plan. They will have tried contacting you 4x before they do that, though.

Regence BlueShield of Idaho

RBSI announced details on renewal of pre-2014 plans.

“Individual customers who are renewing in January, February, or March of 2014 and who received discontinuation notices from Regence can now keep their current plans. These members will receive a letter from us explaining the change and their options for coverage.”

See or check your mail next week for details.

Exchange Update

All of the following is if you need to (no sane person wants to) enroll on the Health Insurance Exchange (HIX).  Remember, if you anticipate your 2014 income being close to 400% FPL or above, then apply direct with the carrier.  Let’s compare the experiences –

Direct: 10 minutes

HIX: 60-90 minutes when working, broadcasting personal financial data, gathering income records to submit by March 31 to prove your income, errors, frustration, even more frustrating “tech no-support.”

In either case, please credit the broker who helped you.

Ok, so you need to access subsidies.  Here we go!

Remember to
1) Gather your info and have selected your plan ahead of time.  Download the paper application as a reference. A broker can save you a boatload of time on helping you make an informed decision.
2) Register on the HIX – again, only if you expect to qualify for subsidies.
3) Set aside 60-90 minutes and log in. Although you don’t have to complete it in one session, why risk it if it’s still working?
4) Credit the broker who saved you time and gave you insight. It takes 30 seconds and adds nothing to your cost.  In my case you’d need:

Name – Garth Hassel

FFM userID – ghassel

NPN – 10064627

The HIX gives you one chance to enter it.  If you continue without entering the broker info, the HIX won’t let you go back.  Thank you in advance.
5) Download/print your subsidy eligibility determination. This will include your application ID number.
6) 2-3 business days later, call your carrier to arrange payment of your first month’s premium. You will need your application ID number. Verify your selection and premium.

If the HIX is glitching then try, try again

Logic says that if the web site is not working, then use the phone or mail. Long story short, the web site is the only way to go – at 3:00 a.m. if necessary.

The government has set new lows for logic, unhelpful support, and even willful disregard for the licensed and certified brokers they so desperately need to make the PPACA successful.  Please don’t ask them to wield more control over the doctors….

Do not to wait until the last day (now Dec 23rd).

A couple days after you enroll on the HIX, contact the carrier to see if they actually received it and if the info is accurate.

The carrier won’t mail your policy or begin your coverage until you pay the first month’s premium. Print your payment coupon and mail a check. [Many people will pay a minority of the premium, so the carrier will be waiting on the government to pay the bulk of it. The carriers bear the risk of the subsidies, not the government].

Enrolling on the HIX after Dec 23rd kicks your effective date out to Feb 1.

Enrolling after Jan 15 will kick it out to Mar 1.

When the HIX spits out a determination on your estimated eligibility for tax credits, it will instruct you to provide further documentation by March 31, 2014.  Remember to do this! Download the pdf.  There is supposed to be a document upload button, but it seems to depend on the time of day as to whether that function appears on screen.

Question for you:  A 59 year old applicant had spent a few months in the Army when he was 18.  The HIX says he must provide documentation that he does not have any form of veterans health care.  Think about it.  He has to prove to the government what he is not receiving from the government.  Can any of you explain this?  Are you ready for this?