August 26, 2010
UPDATE ON THOSE INSURED UNDER INDEMNITY PLANS: INDEPENDENCE BLUE CROSS TO INTRODUCE NEW LINE OF PRODUCTS EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2011—COVERAGE OPTIONS WILL CHANGE
Effective with renewals that take place on January 1, 2011, Independence Blue Cross (IBC) will no longer offer the current HMO, POS, and PPO products under which groups with 100 or fewer employees are now insured. This will impact most Association members who have their coverage through IBC. Existing customers will not be able to renew their current plans. All insureds will have to select a new plan from IBC’s new product line (Blue Solutions), which will include new HMO, POS and PPO options. At renewal, a recommended option(s) will be provided to customers that are most like their current option (s). If a customer does not make a benefit election, IBC will automatically default the existing coverage(s) to the recommended option(s).
There will be a total of 25 different new options available to groups comprised from firms that have less than 51 employees. The number of plan options which may be offered will be determined by the total number of employees that a firm has. All the new plans include those benefits mandated by recent Health Care Reform legislation including coverage for dependent children up to the age of 26.
In order to address your questions and concerns regarding these changes that have been mandated by IBC, the Association will be keeping you informed through various ways about the new products. You will receive ongoing additional information from USI Affinity, the Association’s broker. By now, you should have received your first e-mail communication from USI Affinity announcing the coverage changes. In addition, on or about August 23, 2010, IBC sent a letter directly to each insured outlining the changes and elimination of the old plans.
Your health insurance choice for 2011 will take more time and consideration as you examine the available options. On September 7, 2010 at 8:30 A.M. at the Association offices, 11th Floor, 1101 Market Street, the Association will hold an open meeting with representatives of USI to explain in detail the information that they have received, how it will impact the insureds and what the open enrollment process will entail for 2011 (click here to register). This program will be repeated at 8:30 A.M. on Tuesday, September 28, 2010 again at the Association’s 11th Floor conference center (Click here to register). A free continental breakfast will be provided at both sessions.
Solo practitioners, actively practicing law and currently insured, will not lose coverage. Unless covered under grandfathered traditional indemnity plans, they will however, have to choose from the new Blue Solutions offerings.
On Wednesday, August 25, 2010 we were able to confirm that those members, including solo practitioners, covered under the grandfathered traditional indemnity plans will be able to continue that indemnity coverage for 2011. This will however, be subject to the underwriting guidelines that impact the number of plans that can be offered depending on group size.
For members with questions about these changes, a special number has been set up for you to communicate directly with USI Affinity. You may call 1-800-265-2876 and press prompt #4.
At this time we are taking steps to educate our members about this development. No decisions about which new coverage you will pick has to be made at this point. Those decisions will have to be made once actual rates for each plan are made available by IBC, sometime during the end of October. However, because both the Association and USI Affinity recognize how important health care coverage is to both you and your employees, the Association in a coordinated effort with USI Affinity will be keeping you apprised of all developments as we learn about them.