In March 2014, the federal government announced that insurance carriers, with the consent of their state insurance commissioner, could offer individuals the option to renew existing, pre-2014 plans. The Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner has confirmed that Pennsylvania insurers have the option to do so.
After careful analysis, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield has decided to offer Community Blue PPO plan members the right to renew their pre-2014 plans in western Pennsylvania. This decision will impact approximately 2,000 members.
In addition, Highmark has decided to offer members in its existing grandfathered, medically underwritten individual plans the option to renew and continue coverage in these plans in 2015. These plans include:
- Keystone Blue
- Complete Care
However, this means that the following Highmark plans will end Dec. 31, 2014:
- Advance Blue
- Direct Blue
- Simply Blue
- PPO Blue
Members enrolled in these non-renewing medically underwritten plans will need to enroll in a new plan by Dec. 15, 2014 to ensure they have coverage effective Jan. 1, 2015.
Notifications will be sent to members with Keystone Blue, Complete Care and Community Blue PPO plans to let them know that their coverage will be renewed.
Members enrolled in the discontinued medically underwritten plans were notified last year that their plans were being discontinued. They will receive an additional letter the week of Sept. 22, 2014 reminding them that their current plan will be ending on Dec. 31, 2014, and they will need to choose a new plan during the upcoming open enrollment period. Also included in this letter will be directions for how they can request a free 2015 Health Insurance Planning Guide, which covers:
- What they need to know before they start to shop for a new plan
- How they may be able to save money with financial assistance
- When they need to act to avoid a lapse in coverage
The letter also directs them to contact their producer to set up an appointment for the upcoming 2015 open enrollment period.
A future letter will specifically state that they need to enroll in the new plan by Dec. 15, 2014 to avoid any gap in coverage.
The member letters and 2015 Health Insurance Planning Guide will be shared with you in the near future.
New tool coming Nov. 15, 2014
A new quoting tool will be available on Nov. 15, 2014 on the Highmark producer portal. This tool will enable you to quickly pull quotes for existing individual members. With this tool, you can assist your clients whose plans are not renewing by helping them find and enroll in a plan that meets their needs.