Archive for the ‘Cigna health insurance’ Category

Blue Cross Blue Shield Will Offer Exchange Plans in All Florida Counties

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Florida’s health insurance exchange will open for business on October 1 of this year, with plans taking effect next January 1.  The health insurance exchanges will offer more coverage options to Americans who couldn’t afford health insurance before.  That is the idea at least.  Florida Blue’s Joe Gregor does believe that consumers will have more affordable options and less difficulty finding health insurance when the Affordable Care Act takes full effect.  According to the Orlando Sentinel’s “More details emerge on Florida health insurance exchange,” Marni Jameson said that we now know how many insurers will offer plans in each Florida county.  It’s actually not as many as you might expect, with some counties only having one insurer offering plans.  Blue Cross Blue Shield will be the lone insurer in some of the more rural counties, but they assure Floridians that their prices reflect expected competition and not the fact that they are the sole option in some places.

Ten insurance companies were federally approved to offer plans in Florida, some in one county and some in many of Florida’s 67 counties.  Aetna Life Insurance Company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, Cigna Health & Life Insurance Company, Coventry Health Care of Florida Inc., Florida Health Care Plan Inc., Health First Health Plans, Health First Insurance Company, Health Options Inc., Humana Medical Plan Inc., and Molina Health Care of Florida Inc. are the ten approved companies.  Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida will be the only insurance company offering affordable coverage in all 67 counties.  The big counties in South Florida like Miami-Dade and Broward will have nine different choices, but which insurers are operating in which counties has yet to be released.  Palm Beach county residents will have eight insurance choices and most Central Florida counties have five or six different options from which to choose.

Each insurance company will offer different tiers of plans that will range from bronze to platinum.  The lower plans will obviously offer less coverage than the highest plans, but you can choose what you need for the price you will be able to afford.  The government is offering credits to Americans with certain income levels to help pay for the cost of their mandated health insurance.  In order to receive any government help with health insurance though, you have to choose from the federally approved plans.  In 21 counties in Florida, Blue Cross Blue Shield or Florida Blue as they operate in the state, will be the only insurance exchange option.  Other counties will have more choices.  But each county will have at least one insurance company operating in it, something that some state have not yet been able to accomplish.  If you live in Florida and are looking to purchase health insurance through the new exchange soon, you should have some affordable options for coverage.

Buying Health Insurance From a Storefront

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

I must say that I’m really intrigued by the concept of store fronts where they sell health insurance.  According to The San Francisco Chronicle’s “Health care coverage sold in stores,” Alex Nussbaum says that UnitedHealth Group is one of the driving forces behind this change in the industry.  As the largest medical insurer in the United States, UnitedHealth Group is trying out this retail plan in anticipation of the health care changes taking place in 2014.  When the individual health insurance mandate goes into effect, there could be 85 million people comparing plans as they shop in public and private health insurance exchanges.  Those Americans account for nearly $600 billion in spending power.

UnitedHealth has already opened 8 retail health insurance stores in the U.S., mostly for helping current customers now, but hopefully to bring new business in as well.  Their storefront locations are located from New York to Los Angeles.  The company has also made 16 mall locations throughout the central U.S. permanent retail shops.  Opening retail storefronts is a way for health insurance companies to get their name out there and let potential customers know how much help they can offer when they can walk in just as they do to their bank.

Highmark, Inc. of Pennsylvania has already opened 9 storefronts, while Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida has 11 places for customers to get health insurance information.  Experts point out that these retail stores have to provide valuable services to their customers and potential customers in order to gain any significant business from the storefronts.  They can’t just be a marketing tool; they have to add value and really help consumers.  Answer questions that no one else can, give discounts not available elsewhere, and really help consumers figure out how the new health care laws affect them and their health insurance.  But many people appreciate all of the extras offered in addition to information.  Some storefronts offer blood pressure and other health checks or are attached to medical care facilities.  Others have translators for many languages and toys to keep children occupied while parents get information on anything from healthy eating to health insurance quotes.  Next time you are walking down the street and see a health insurance storefront, you may want to stop in and check it out.

CIGNA Health Insurance Rates Increasing 44% in Arizona

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Federal regulators have taken over some of Arizona’s health insurance rate increase reviews.  Any health insurance company requesting a rate increase of 10% or more will be subject to a review from the federal government now.  This information comes from Ken Alltucker of The Republic’s article, “Arizona health-insurance companies targeted.”  “Unreasonable” was the term used by the federal government for Trustmark Life Insurance Co.’s requested health insurance rate increase of 13%.  If you compare health insurance quotes in Arizona, many companies are increasing them without following the federal requirements that 80-85% of collected money be spent on medical costs.

Thirty-two other health insurance companies in Arizona will be reviewed by federal regulators as well, with requested increases between 14-44%.  CIGNA health insurance of Arizona has a proposed rate increase of 44% for its small business plan.  Their individual health insurance plan has a proposed rate increase of 21%.  A company spokesperson says that these plans have been losing money for multiple years.  Insurance companies in Arizona are pushing the state’s Department of Insurance to increase their regulations so that the federal government backs off.

Trustmark’s review has already been completed and they have been told by the Department of Health and Human Services to refund consumers or give a reason for not doing so.  Their proposed 13% increase for a small group insurance plan is actually an 18.1% increase once you account for another increase Trustmark had within the last year.  DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius points out that the company is using too much money for administrative expenses and not enough on paying for medical care.  The Affordable Care Act stresses the importance of this expense ratio.  The government regulators plan to review the remaining Arizona plans soon.

Health Insurance Rates Only Part of Customer Satisfaction

Friday, April 29th, 2011

map PAPennsylvania health plans ranked higher in customer satisfaction than the national average in J.D. Power & Associates’ U.S. Member Health Insurance Plan Study.  According to “UPMC, Geisinger, Highmark lead Pa. customer satisfaction rankings” by Bob Graham of Insurance & Financial Advisor, UPMC Health Plan ranked the highest in Pennsylvania.  While health insurance rates are important to consumers, this study also looked at the coverage and benefits, customer service, communications, information, provider choice, claims processing, statements given, and the approval process.  UPMC scored 744 out of 1,000, well above the national average of 696 and significantly higher than Pennsylvania’s average of 714.

Geisinger Health Plan and Highmark BlueCross BlueShield followed UPMC in Pennsylvania’s rankings with scores of 737 and 735, respectively.  Capital Blue Cross and Independence BlueCross also scored higher than the state’s average.  Although Pennsylvania’s scores went down slightly in 2011, compared to 2010, four of the seventeen other regions surveyed saw much more significant declines.  Some of the insurance companies that scored lower than average in Pennsylvania were Highmark Blue Shield, CIGNA, HealthAmerica/HealthAssurance, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Aetna, and UnitedHealthcare.  Of the 34,000 insurance plan members surveyed, 2,684 were in Pennsylvania.

Cigna & Other Insurers Defend Changes

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Some insurers who previously offered child-only insurance policies no longer plan to offer such policies now that President Obama’s health care reform bill requires children with pre-existing conditions to be covered as well.  This information comes from The Washington Post’s “Some insurers to halt new child-only policies” by N.C. Aizenman.  Cigna health insurance, WellPoint, and CoventryOne are three companies under fire from advocacy groups for making these changes.  Customers who already have child-only policies will be able to maintain those and children with pre-existing conditions will not have a problem being included in new family policies.

Health Care for America Now’s Ethan Rome says that it is immoral and appalling for these large companies to take away one of the consumer’s most anticipated changes from the health care bill.  The insurers who have decided to drop their child-only plans say that so many companies either don’t offer them or have taken them away that to keep the plan offerings would not allow them to remain competitive.  They argue that they couldn’t offer their customers the value they previously had and that their company could be compromised.

The Department of Health and Human Services is disappointed because insurance trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans supported the law and said that insurers would comply in a letter last March.  AHIP points out that children with pre-existing conditions will still be covered under family plans and worries that parents would wait until their children were extremely sick to purchase child-only plans if the option were there.  In 2014 when all Americans will be required to maintain health insurance and adults with pre-existing conditions will always be covered as well, everything may be shaken up again.  Poor children with pre-existing conditions have Medicaid and CHIP to cover them and those children who are not poor can get coverage through high-risk health insurance pools.  Some states even have laws that will prevent insurers from halting sales of new child-only plans.

Golden Rule Health Insurance Watches Battle

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

courtroomTwenty states are fighting mad over President Obama’s health care reform.  With Florida being the largest and the most likely to bring its fight to the U.S. Supreme Court, all political eyes are on the southern state.  This information comes from the NPR story and article “States Lay Out Battle Lines In Health Care Suits” by Carrie Johnson.  Insurance Companies like Golden Rule Health Insurance will watch these battles unfold to see if the outcome will effect the changes they expected in the federal health policies.  In 2014 all Americans will be required to carry some form of health insurance.  While this could be a good thing for health insurers, they also have a lot of new rules to follow from the government and are getting a hard time over their rising insurance rates.

The states who have filed lawsuits seem to run right along political lines.  Democrats tend to agree with the President’s health care reform while Republicans tend to argue against it.  Those in opposition believe that the government it overreaching its boundaries into people’s lives and the health care industry.  They think that it is against the constitution to force these requirements and policies on American citizens and insurers like Cigna Health Insurance.  Opponents don’t think the government has the right to regulate people’s inactivity, so they are most angered about the individual mandate requiring the purchase of health insurance.  Obama’s administration argues that states don’t have to follow the new rules if they opt out of federal money for programs like Medicare, but state governments say that is hardly a good solution.  We’ll be following this political health care battle.

Cigna Health Insurance Limits Networks

Monday, July 26th, 2010

The newest option for health insurers is plans with limited networks.  Companies like Cigna health insurance, Aetna, Wellpoint, and UnitedHealth Group are offering limited-choice plans to cut costs, according to “Health insurers promoting limited-choice plans to keep costs down.”  The article, by Reed Abelson of The New York Times, says that while you will have fewer choices when it comes to doctors and hospitals, you will also pay a lower premium and save money with these limited-choice plans.  Big cities like New York, San Diego, and Chicago have already had the plans tested and they are popular with small businesses as well as larger ones.

Both insurers and consultants are confident that even more businesses and individuals will see the benefits offered by these limited-choice plans.  Company premiums will be reduced by as much as 15%, which is important in a time where money is one of the biggest concerns facing individuals and businesses.  For those who want to keep their doctors or hospitals that aren’t covered in the limited networks, they will have to pay extra or make the decision to change.  Many Americans who were previously uninsured will be helped by these lower premiums because they don’t have a doctor to leave; they’ll be able to choose from their limited list to seek treatment.

Smaller companies like Aultcare health insurance stand to gain a lot by offering limited-choice plans.  The plans eliminate so-called “Gucci doctors” charging more for perceived better care.  Employees will have to pay out of pocket to see such doctors if they choose a limited network option.  Some employees offered the option of lower premiums for limited choices aren’t interested, so they continue to pay their higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs to keep their large network.  These limited-choice plans appear to work so that insurance companies can remain affordable to consumers looking to save wherever they can.