News & Updates
Beginning January 1, 2014, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will dramatically change the types of small group plans offered and how their premiums are calculated. Group rates will no longer be based on claims experience and health status, which could mean significant premium changes for some small employers. Determining how much and for whom can take some time.
At Anthem, they’re ready with an advanced renewal option designed just for Small Group employers. Advanced renewal gives small groups the opportunity to move their health plan’s anniversary date to the fourth quarter of 2013. In addition to giving employers the opportunity to keep the plan they’re familiar with, advanced renewal provides you and your small group clients the time you need to evaluate all the options under the new PPACA guidelines.
The Advanced Renewal Flyer has more information and is great to share with your Small Group customers.
Here are some FAQs we can share with you about Anthem’s California Small Group advanced renewals:
What is advanced renewal? Advanced renewal is an option Anthem is making available to Small Group employers in advance of coming health care reform. This option allows Small Group employers to modify their current renewal cycle, moving their renewal from the month of their Original Effective Date (OED) to December 1, 2013.
Why is Anthem allowing employers to change their renewal date? Anthem understands that the initial onset of health care reform will generate many questions for employers. The advanced renewal option allows interested employers and their brokers the time to navigate the changes brought on by health care reform and figure out the best plan and cost options.
Who is eligible? Any Small Group that covers 2-49 employees.
How will brokers access group’s advanced renewal quotes? Anthem will be providing early renewal quotes for ALL California small groups in the near future. In order for you to access your group’s advanced renewal quotes, you’ll need to register for eRenewals, Anthem's online tool for accessing California small group renewal packages. Once early renewal quotes are available, they’ll send you an email alert so that you can retrieve quotes for your group(s). You can register for eRenewals online by going to the AgentAccess site at www.anthem.com/ca and selecting the “New Online Renewal” link under the Small Group Highlights section.
Once you’re registered, not only will you be able to access advanced renewal quotes, but you’ll also receive all of your group’s renewal materials electronically. With eRenewals, you’ll get your renewal materials approximately one week sooner than those sent by mail and you’ll save a tree. We’ll send you an email alert when your renewal packages are ready, then you go to the AgentAccess site and on the home page, you can either click on the red “My Group Renewals” link under “Quick Links” in the left hand navigation or select “My Group Renewal” from the Small Group pull down tab at the top of the page to access your materials. Employers and Brokers can also access their quotes by contacting Customer Service at 800-627-8797 or Broker Support at 800-678-4466.
How will employers be notified about the advanced renewal option? While Anthem anticipates the broker to be the main point of contact with the group for notification, there will be a message on each employer’s bill letting them know to reach out to their broker for more information. Additionally, some employers may receive a letter notifying them of their options.
Can new groups that enroll with Anthem in any month during 2013 opt to early renew? Yes.
If a group opts for advanced renewal, will their rates change? At the time of advanced renewal, small group rates will be reevaluated as they would on the original effective date. These new rates will be guaranteed for 12 months from the date of early renewal.
Can employers also request to change their plans at the time of their early renewal? Yes. The requested anniversary month will now be considered the group’s open enrollment period. These plan changes will be processed as a separate request, following the normal procedures for plan change requests at a group renewal.
If a group opts for advanced renewal, will their Risk Adjustment Factor (RAF) be changed? No. Anthem will not be adjusting RAFs as part of an employer’s opt-in for advanced renewal. However, as with any renewal, employers can request a RAF review at time of anniversary, which could result in a subsequent change.
Once the renewal date has changed, will the group renew again based on the original effective date month? No. After adopting advanced renewal, the renewal will be processed on the new renewal month going forward.
Is Anthem providing a quote comparison showing a group’s current vs. advanced renewal rate on their active plans? Yes.
Is advanced renewal the right choice for all Small Group employers? Not every group will benefit from changing their anniversary date. Because this option requires a change to your group’s plan year, you should discuss this option with your client and the group’s legal or tax advisor before choosing it.
Are there any rules employers should be aware of when considering advanced renewal? Because adopting advanced renewal requires a group to change its plan year, groups should discuss this option with their legal and/or tax advisor before choosing it. The IRS has set forth criteria for when a group may change its plan year. For example, if your employer group coverage covers less than 50 employees, but the employer employs more than 49 full time equivalent employees, the employer may be subject to health care “shared responsibility” taxes that cannot be delayed by changing the plan year.
What if the employer does not wish to change the renewal date? No action is necessary. The group will renew on the regular cycle (month of the original effective date) to the 2014 health plans. Information will be provided in the group’s 2014 renewal packet.
For groups with medical and specialty coverage from Anthem, will a group’s specialty products (dental, vision, life) advance renew with the group’s medical plan or stay on the old renewal cycle? All products (medical and specialty) under a specific group ID will early renew on the requested medical anniversary month. In addition, groups with Dental Prime and Dental Complete coverage will also see those plans advance renew.
Will specialty products receive rate changes if renewed early? Possibly. Groups would be offered Anthem's latest rates for small group plans at the time of their renewal. In addition, factor-rated dental plans and composite-rated life plans will be re-calculated based on the census information on the date the anniversary month is changed.
Will Dental Prime and Dental Complete plans be allowed to change their renewal month? Yes, the Dental Prime and Dental Complete plans have a separate group ID number, which should be included on the Opt In Form.
Will specialty-only groups be allowed to make an anniversary month change? Yes, using the same opt-in form.
Can employees also request to change their plans? Yes, the requested anniversary month will now be considered the group’s open enrollment period. These plan changes will be processed as a separate request.
When will a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) need to be provided to members? The standard open enrollment SBC guidelines apply. The employer is responsible for supplying SBCs to members 30 days prior to the new anniversary month and seven business days from the date of the request, if a plan change is requested.
Will updated ID cards and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) be sent? Employees will only receive updated ID cards and EOCs if they modify their plans at the time of early renewal.
How will employees be notified the employer has changed the anniversary month? It will be the employer’s responsibility to notify members of the change.
Anthem will have additional information on early renewals in the near future, including how to process groups, quoting and more so stay tuned.