As it gets closer to the 2018 Open Enrollment Period, although subsidies are still unknown, news about healthcare reform comes out almost every week! In early August, Anthem Blue Cross announced that they were withdrawing from 16 of California’s 19 pricing regions, which means that those insured under Anthem would have to switch plans (Click here for more information).

This week, another well-known health insurance company, Blue Shield, announced that they were discontinuing several health plans. Individuals who will be affected by this change include:

  1. Blue Shield Silver Seven 3750 PPO Plan— it has a co-pay of $7 to see a doctor and $35 to see a specialist. The great prices and benefits attracted a lot of individuals from the Chinese community to enroll in this plan. However, by the end of 2017, this plan will be discontinued and no longer be available. If you do not switch plans, you will automatically be enrolled in a high deductible plan of a few thousand dollars, which means you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket until you reach that limit, and your benefits will drop like no other.
  2. Blue Shield PPO Grandfathered Plans—if you enrolled in Blue Shield prior to March 23, 2010 and have never switched plans, your health insurance will be discontinued and no longer available by the end of 2017. Make sure to apply for a new plan during Open Enrollment Period. If you do not enroll in a new health plan, you will not have health coverage in 2018.KCAL Insurance Agency’s health insurance experts would like to remind everyone to take advantage of the upcoming Open Enrollment Period (from November 1, 2017 to January 31, 2018) to change plans. This can help you avoid any issues or complications in the future—especially to those who visit the doctor often.

2018 Prediction… PPO = the “Pretty Pricey Option” vs HMO = the More Popular Option?

2018 rates are increasing, on top of the fact that everyone is turning a year older, and some plans have an increase of more than 60%. With the premium increase of the PPO plan, many people may not be able to afford the plan in 2018. Based on Covered California’s latest release, KCAL predicts that the top three health insurance companies in the Chinese community will come out to be Health Net HMO, Blue Shield HMO, and Kaiser Permanente HMO, in no particular order.

The following is a prediction of 2018 premiums of various Silver plans in both LA and Orange County—the first is for someone who is around age 25 and the second is for someone who is around age 40, for reference only.

For many individuals in the Chinese community, the three biggest factors to consider when choosing a health plan include its cost, quality, and ease of communication, which includes the doctors’ ability to speak Chinese. In 2018, the Blue Shield HMO and Health Net HMO both have doctors who can speak Chinese. In terms of cost, these two are in the top three plans with the lowest premiums. On the other hand, Blue Shield PPO’s premiums are noted to be a bit too high. Kaiser Permanente, the only five-star rated medical center in California, has affordable prices as well as quality care and services. It’s the top choice for those who are looking for quality care without having to deal with referrals and long wait times.

KCAL Insurance Agency has provided quality care and services to the Chinese community for more than 30 years. We especially want to remind everyone that Open Enrollment Period is coming up—starting on November 1st!  If you want to make adjustments to your plan, Open Enrollment is the time to do so. It’s still possible to keep the rate change within 3.3%!  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our health department at 626-333-1111. 2018 health insurance rates have not been released yet, so if you would like to stay updated, follow us on WeChat (WeChat ID: KCAL3331111)—the number one place to receive the latest health insurance updates!