April 6, 2014 |
Now that open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act is over for this year, healthcare consumers can begin to put their insurance policies to work. For many, it may be a challenge. A year ago, Norm Wilkinson, 61, retired after 35 years as a Teamster and signed on to a retiree health plan. He figured he'd enjoy the same comprehensive coverage he'd had for years, but soon learned that prescription drugs weren't covered. "I did not get a prescription drug plan with it, and that was the big killer," said Wilkinson, a resident of Whittier.
March 10, 2014 |
For the seventh consecutive year, Kaiser Permanente ranked highest in customer satisfaction for health insurance among California policyholders, according to ratings firm J.D. Power & Associates. But two other major rivals -- Blue Shield of California and Anthem Blue Cross -- scored the lowest on member satisfaction among seven California health plans. In its annual survey, J.D. Power surveyed more than 34,000 customers of 136 commercial health plans in December and January in 18 regions across the country.
February 20, 2014 |
Insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross stretched its lead over rival Blue Shield of California in the state's healthcare-coverage exchange, new data show. Anthem signed up 223,630 people through Jan. 31, or 31% of California's exchange market as part of the healthcare law. Anthem is a unit of Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc., the nation's second-largest health insurer. San Francisco insurer Blue Shield of California trails Anthem with a 29% share or 213,646 enrollees. Kaiser Permanente, the state's biggest HMO, is third with 131,448 exchange customers, an 18% share.
January 31, 2014 |
Insurance companies, bless their hearts, seem determined to remind us why we need the Affordable Care Act. The latest example comes from Anthem Blue Cross, which has just hit 306,000 customers in California with premium increases of up to 25%. As reported by my colleague Chad Terhune , the increases average 16% and are scheduled to kick in April 1, unless the state Department of Insurance jawbones Anthem into backing down. Here's the kicker: No one can blame these increases on the mandates of the Affordable Care Act, a popular argument among critics of the act. That's because the increases are for grandfathered policies exempt from the act. "It's a rich irony," says Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access, a leading California consumer advocacy group.
January 30, 2014 |
Thousands of Anthem Blue Cross individual customers with older insurance policies untouched by Obamacare are getting some jarring news: Their premiums are going up as much as 25%. These increases, 16% on average, are slated to go into effect April 1 for up to 306,000 people - unless California regulators persuade the state's largest for-profit health insurer to back down. Amid the fury last fall over canceled health policies, consumer advocates and state officials warned people that holding onto grandfathered policies purchased before the federal healthcare law was enacted in 2010 wouldn't shield them from significant rate hikes.
January 29, 2014 |
Health insurance giant WellPoint Inc. has signed up 500,000 people for Obamacare policies across the country, and it struck an upbeat tone about early enrollment trends under the healthcare law. WellPoint, which runs Anthem Blue Cross plans in California and 13 other states, said new enrollees tend to be older than current customers but that enrollment is in line with its projections and pricing for the new policies. "We do feel good about what we've seen in the exchanges so far," WellPoint Chief Executive Joseph Swedish said Wednesday during an earnings conference call with analysts and investors.