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Covered California Deadline Extended

Important Message About Open Enrollment Covered California has extended deadline thru February 6 Applicants must use Certified Agents (like us) to enroll after January 31st. Enrollment via coveredca.com no longer available. San Diego based agency with knowledge of all major networks and carriers in Caliifornia. HOW TO ENROLL: Check your pricing and plan availability using the Covered California Shop & Compare Tool Call us to enroll at (858) 376-7606 Information Regarding Covered California: Record-setting numbers of people trying to sign up for Covered California™ health insurance plans overwhelmed the system on January 31, the final day of open enrollment, prompting the exchange to allow consumers who had trouble enrolling by the deadline to work with a Certified Insurance Agent to finish their application by February 6.  Because of the staggering demands on the system, Covered California announced the following policy this afternoon: Consumers who were unable to create an online account or start their online application because of technical difficulties can contact a Covered California Certified Insurance Agent  to explain that they attempted to get through on January 31 and experienced difficulties. Those consumers will have until 11:59 p.m. February to work with the Certified Insurance Agent to complete their application and choose a plan.  Consumers who created an online account and completed the first page of the application by 11:59 p.m. January 31, 2016, will be able to complete their application for the open-enrollment period, either by themselves online or with the help of a Certified Insurance Agent. Consumers must complete the application and select a plan by 11:59 p.m. February 6, 2016. Those enrollees will receive coverage effective March 1, 2016.  Certified Insurance Agents who are...

Small Business Disability Insurance

Higher Volumes Result in Lower Costs Sometimes putting your employees first benefits you, them and your bottom line. Sophia Parker was a 46-year-old accountant and a small business owner with two clerical employees. When she decided she needed income protection, she found protecting her employees’ paychecks as well as hers had multiple benefits. When Sophia called a disability insurance agent about an individual policy for herself, he quoted her the following: Disabling Definition: Own-Occupation Benefit Amount: $4,000 per month Elimination Period: 90 days Benefit Period: To age 65 Policy Features: Non-cancelable, Residual, COLA riders Annual Premium: $4,829 Sophia understood the value of the disability policy and its worth, but it seemed expensive at $13.23 a day. With her budget, she wanted to spend about $10 a day. So, Sophia spoke with her agent again. The solution the agent proposed was surprising. He found a way to trim nearly $2,000 off the annual premium, saving Sophia $1,762 per year. Most would think Sophia had to give up some disability income protection features, extend the elimination period or shorten the benefit period in order to lower the cost of her premium. But that was not the case. Instead, the agent suggested that Sophia add her two employees to the disability insurance policy. By adding her employees, she could keep the exact same coverage and give her employees some benefits by taking advantage of multi-life discounts. Under the new disability insurance policy, Sophia’s employees were protected by a disability policy featuring a $600 per month benefit, a 365-day elimination period and a two-year benefit period. So what was the cost of covering...

Obamacare Qualifying Events

Special enrollment notes on Affordable Care Act compatible plans courtesy of Cigna: The 2014 Open Enrollment period is coming to an end on March 31st. After that period, the Special Enrollment Period begins. The Special Enrollment Period runs from April 1st through December 31stand it allows a consumer, who experiences a qualifying event to enroll in a new health insurance plan or make changes to an existing one. A consumer has 60 days from the date of a qualifying event, including the date of the qualifying event, to apply for coverage or make a change to an existing plan. The 15th of the month is the cutoff date for a 1st of the following month effective date (see below for exceptions to this effective date). For your convenience, a full list of qualifying events is below. An important note to be aware of: for three of the qualifying events, a paper application may be necessary for enrollment. The reason for this is the effective date may or may not be available in our quoting system. These three qualifying events are: The birth or adoption of a baby/child – a paper application must be submitted to enroll.  If the customer is adding a newborn, the effective date will be the actual birth date. If the customer is adding a child due to adoption, the effective date is the actual placement date of the adoption. Marriage – the earliest effective date is the first day of the following month. If the customer submits the request after the 15th of the month, the request must be done with a paper application. If the request is submitted prior to the 15th, then it can be done electronically. Remember, the...

Health Insurance Squeeze

California Middle Class Feels Health Insurance Squeeze Sacramento Bee by Christopher Cadelago and Phillip Reese – March 8, 2014: Dawn and Nick LaPolla of Fair Oaks are solidly middle class, and they aren’t uninsured. Yet their required switch to a new health insurance plan under federal changes puts them at a financial crossroads. If they earn less than $94,200 a year, the family of four’s preferred plan through the California health exchange would cost about $750 a month. But if they make even slightly more, they’ll pay about $1,040. That’s because they would exceed the threshold to qualify for federal subsidies. Their current high-deductible plan, which expires in two months, costs $573 a month. Unlike wealthier state residents who more easily can afford the new, often more comprehensive plans, or lower-income people aided by government subsidies, the LaPollas are part of a sizable segment of Californians slowly coming to grips with dedicating a greater percentage of their income to new policies. “It’s completely unfair,” said Dawn LaPolla, 40. “Wouldn’t you consider us still part of that struggling group? We’re not buying yachts. We’re not going on trips every year. We’re not putting our kids in private schools. We’re not buying Fendi bags. We’re still unsure whether we will be able to pay our mortgage.” For the vast majority of residents, the Covered California subsidy isn’t an issue. Low-income residents receive health insurance through Medi-Cal. Millions of others have insurance subsidized by their employer. Through the exchange, subsidies are available for those making up to four times the federal poverty level. Eighty-six percent of those enrolling are getting some form...

Covered California Deadline Is Here

Kaiser Health News by Michelle Andrews – People who got off to a rough start with Obamacare or have yet to pick a plan still have options— but only if they move quickly before the open enrollment period ends on March 31. Those who were unable to sign up for a marketplace plan because of the glitches with federal or state websites can receive retroactive coverage to the date they originally applied, as well as retroactive premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies, the federal government announced in late February. In addition, some people who gave up on enrolling through their state’s balky marketplace and instead, bought a plan outside the exchange, may be able to switch to a marketplace plan and qualify for retroactive subsidies. The guidance leaves it up to individual states to decide whether they want to offer these options. The federal marketplace has its own process in place to bump back the effective coverage date for people who encountered those problems, says an official at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “This [guidance] raises more questions than it answers,” says Sabrina Corlette, project director at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms. “From a consumer perspective, it says nothing about what difficulties you have to have had to qualify or what documentation you have to show.” In addition to difficulties enrolling, some consumers have been tripped up by inaccurate or incomplete information posted online about the benefits or providers available in a particular plan. They, too, may get some relief. According to federal guidance released in early February, if enrollees encounter “benefit display errors,” such...

California SHOP News and Notes

Courtesy of Health Net Pulse: Several provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) affect small businesses, their employees, and families. Currently, smaller businesses are less likely to offer health insurance coverage to their employees than larger companies: 57% of small businesses with 50 or fewer workers offered health benefits to employees in 2011, compared to 92% of businesses with 51 to 100 workers, and 97% of businesses with 101 or more workers. Who is eligible? Beginning in 2014, small employers (up to 50 employees/100 beginning in 2016) can apply to participate in SHOP. Employer groups can enter SHOP at any time SHOP-participating employers must make coverage available to all full-time employees Small Employer Group tax credit eligibility Tax credit for small employers who provide coverage through SHOP (available for 2-year period) Must have 25 or fewer employees Average employee wages must be under $50,000 Employer must contribute at least 50% toward the premium The SHOP Enrollment Process Employer Enrollment Can enroll any time during the year The SHOP can establish minimum participation standards and can limit enrollment of plans that do not meet these standards to Nov. 15–Dec. 15 of each year (in SHOP, the exchange establishes its rules) Employee Open Enrollment Yearly open enrollment period, based on the plan year, as usual Special Enrollment Employees who have certain qualifying events occur (e.g., birth, death of spouse, loss of job) will have a special enrollment period that lasts 30 days from date of qualifying...
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