March 30, 2014 |
After months of head counts for Obamacare, it is the medical bills that will start to matter now. Even before enrollment closes Monday, California has far exceeded its initial goals for signing up people under the Affordable Care Act. Although the sheer volume of 1.1 million policyholders is impressive for a brand new government program, the number of sicker patients is what's likely to draw the most attention. How sick they are and the size of their medical bills will be front and center in the weeks to come as insurers begin drawing up next year's insurance rates, which will become public this summer.
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 19, 2014 |
The gig: As chief executive of Blue Shield of California, Paul Markovich leads one of the country's largest nonprofit health insurers, and he is a major player in the state's rollout of Obamacare. Dakota days: Markovich, 46, grew up in Grand Forks, N.D., the son of two professors at the University of North Dakota. His father taught political science, and his mother lectured on economics and finance. Much of his childhood was spent skating at the local hockey rink. His first jobs included serving as a hockey camp counselor and refereeing youth hockey games.
January 15, 2014 |
Amid further delays for consumers, California's two largest health insurers extended payment deadlines once more for people who signed up for Jan. 1 coverage through the Covered California exchange. Anthem Blue Cross, a unit of industry giant WellPoint Inc., said it is giving new enrollees until Jan. 31 to pay their first month's premium. Kaiser Permanente, the state's largest HMO, extended the deadline to Jan. 22. Wednesday remains the official deadline for other policies purchased through the Covered California exchange, but its 11 insurers are free to grant extra time, and customers are urged to check with their specific health plan.
January 7, 2014 |
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones criticized Blue Shield of California for an "unreasonable" rate hike affecting about 81,000 individual policyholders. Tuesday, Jones said the nonprofit health insurer's 10% average increase effective Jan. 1 was excessive. But he and other state officials don't have the authority to reject changes in premiums. Jones said the latest rate hike amounted to an average increase of 32% over a two-year period. "We have heard from Californians time and time again about how painful it is to pay these rate increases," Jones said.