The 2017 Open Enrollment period is upon us, starting November 1, 216 and ends January 31, 2017. Everyone has been anxiously awaiting for the rates to be released and to find out if your existing plan will be available in 2017 or if you will need to yet again, enroll in a new plan. We have also been waiting to learn the information and delve through this year’s options to review with all of you, only to find out that the insurance companies will no longer be utilizing agents for their individual health plans.
This is not news we are happy to hear, nor do we take lightly. We were unable to certify with the carriers this year to learn the ins and outs of the plans and therefore cannot advise you on specifics or help with enrollments to the plans. We value the relationships we have built with each and everyone of you and want to give you the tools needed to evaluate these options on your own.
As most of you are aware, you have the ability to enroll on the marketplace or go directly to the carriers. The main difference is on the marketplace, you may be eligible for premium tax credits to lower your monthly premiums. To evaluate this option, go to www.healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596. You can complete your application for eligibility and then continue to enroll in a plan.
The insurance companies available will be: Highmark Blue Shield, Capital Blue Cross, Geisinger & possibly one plan with Aenta, depending on where you are located.
For carrier contact information CLICK HERE
Highmark Blue Shield – www.highmarkblueshield.com You are able to shop for plans, search for providers and search for covered medications. It appears that most of Highmark’s plans have a dual network, with both enhanced providers and Standard providers. When looking at the benefits, you will see two different levels of coverage, depending on the provider you see. Don’t be fooled by the initial deductible….make sure to evaluate the benefits at both levels and find where your providers fall. When you search providers, you must search based on a plan name. When you find a plan benefit you are interested, search by plan name. It will ask if it is a Community Blue Plan. You may need to say yes to this to find your plan name. When the system finds the provider, it will show Enhanced Provider or Standard provider.
Capital Blue Cross – www.capbluecross.com You are able to shop for plans and search for providers from the home page. For those of you who currently have an off marketplace Capital Plan, you will be rolled into one of these plans. Capital will be (if they haven’t already) notifying you which plan you will be rolled to. If you feel this is the best option for you, you do not need to do anything as you will be automatically enrolled. Capital is offering two PPO options, no dual networks, and one HMO plan.
Geisinger – as far as we can see, they are offering 2 HMO options. We would feel this would not be a good value and there would be issues with the network. Keep in mind, Hershey providers are out of network and with an HMO, you have no out of network coverage.
Aetna – is offering one plan off the marketplace, but only in certain areas. Lancaster and Berks county do not appear to have a plan available.
Bottom line – there are not a variety of options to choose from and rates will be significantly higher over last year. Attached is a sheet with all resources and contact information for each company: Phone #’s, fax numbers, store locators and websites. Use this to evaluate and find the best option for you and your family members.
Unfortunately, we cannot answer detailed questions about any aspect of the plans nor can we assist with enrollments. Please direct questions to the carriers or to the marketplace and they will have licensed, certified agents available to assist.
Thank you for your past business.