Californians can expect a few changes this year when they’re purchasing a 2018 plan. Luckily, we’re here to break down all the information and provide the latest details so you can make an informed decision.
The Open Enrollment Period
This year, the 2018 Open Enrollment Period (OEP) for residents of California will begin on November 1, 2017, and end on January 31, 2018. So, state residents have precisely 92 days to shop around for a plan through the state-based exchange. California’s OEP differs from the rest of the country, as the majority of states use the federally facilitated marketplace.
A New 25% Surcharge
For the past few months, there have been several rumors in the media indicating that California will introduce new measures to counter the possibility that Congress won’t fully commit to cost-sharing reduction payments. Now, that may sound like a mouthful, but remain calm and let’s dissect the details.
Cost-sharing reduction payments (also abbreviated as CSRs) play a pivotal role in keeping Obamacare plans affordable. It’s primarily federal money siphoned from Capitol Hill to various insurance companies across the country that fall under the umbrella of the Affordable Care Act. This money partially pays for the cost of premiums, which results in savings for millions of Americans each year. Although, in recent months, President Donald Trump has made repeated threats to cut off these crucial CSR payments, creating an environment of uncertainty in the insurance sector.
Covered California has reacted by establishing a 25 percent CSR surcharge on both their gold and silver plans. Now, this may seem reactionary, but this increase safeguards several insurance companies if the federal government suddenly pulls the cord on these CSR payments in the upcoming year.
Certain Providers Pulling Out
According to newly released information, Anthem Blue Cross will be pulling out of 16 regions across the state. This will affect roughly 300,000 individuals, which include those who were planning to purchase coverage outside of the Open Enrollment Period. There is some good news though, as Anthem has stated it will continue to operate within the following regions; The Northern Counties, Santa Clara County, and the Central Valley. Meanwhile, Health Net will be leaving northern and central California, where Anthem primarily operates.
On the flip side, some carriers are increasing their coverage. According to recent data, Oscar is expected to expand to Northeast Los Angeles, while Blue Shield will reach Contra Costa, Alameda, Ventura, Marin, and San Luis Obispo.
Do You Have Questions?
We understand this subject is incredibly dense and complicated, so if you have any remaining questions, feel free to call one of our agents here at Affordable California. We can explain all of the information above in great detail and answer all of your pending queries. Phone us today at (800) 788-2197.