Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Renewals vs "Grandma"

A couple of weeks ago, Anthem sent me a list of my clients whose plans renew this December. These are so-called "grandmothered" plans, but because Anthem chose not to participate in the expanded transition program, no changes can be made to them: my clients' only choice is to keep them or ditch them.

So I put together a brief (but informative) email explaining this, and sent it to the folks to whom it applied:

"Good morning!

As you know, there have been (and continue to be) a lot of changes with health insurance. Your current Anthem plan is "grandmothered;" that is, you may keep it as-is, or we can shop it around.

Your current rate is: $xxx
Your December renewal rate: $xxx

Based on recent experience, don't expect great results from shopping for a new plan (sorry!): your current plan doesn't meet all of the new ACA mandated requirements, but a new plan would (and I'm seeing some pretty horrendous rates on those). If you're interested in checking that out, here's a link to our (private) Exchange - it does NOT go to the .gov site:


There, you can see if you're eligible for a subsidy and get quotes for different plans. Of course, I'm always happy to run those for you if you'd prefer (or even just walk you through).

Thank you so much for the opportunity to be of service!

As you might imagine, I've had quite a few replies: folks are generally pleased to have been kept in the loop, and most have asked me to see what else is available. Curiously, only one or two seem to be eligible for a subsidy, but we can't get those rates yet.

In the meantime, we started ...

Wait, what do you mean "we can't get those rates yet?" It's less than two weeks until Open Enrollment starts, and the carriers haven't figured out what they're going to charge? How can that be?

Have you not been paying attention? We reported a month ago that carriers were enjoined by Our Betters in DC
© from disclosing Exchange-related testing results, which of course would include details such as rates. Makes sense, really: after all, we have to hide the site in order to learn what's in it.


As I was saying, I began running quotes for my December renewals, and (as expected) they weren't pretty. By way of example:

Client 1 - HSA plan, current rate $241, renewal rate $276, comparable ACA-compliant plan $540

Client 2 - HSA plan, current rate $355, renewal rate $432, comparable ACA-compliant plan $1,020

[ed: Almost all my clients are in HSA-compliant plans. Funny, that]

The point is, there don't seem to be any attractive options for these folks; their best bet is to stay put, at least for the nonce. I'll add that I see no reason to be optimistic about the January 1 rates - when they're finally released.
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