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Individual Rate Action and Response

Feb 17, 2010


March 1, 2010 Rate Action Postponement 

Anthem takes seriously their commitment of ensuring that their members have access to quality health care and they deeply value the partnership with their Broker community. 

Many of you have seen and heard about the recent media coverage of our March 1, 2010 rate adjustments for some Individual medical plans. Anthem Blue Cross understands that the recent news may make it difficult to have conversations with your clients. They know that you and your clients have questions.

Anthem Blue Cross wants to make sure that you have the facts and are informed.

Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company has agreed to a request by the California Department of Insurance to postpone their March 1, 2010 rates to May 1, 2010, pending an additional third-party review. The review will be conducted by Axene Health Partners, LLC, retained by the California Department of Insurance. While they have already conducted an independent third-party review, they welcome the additional scrutiny by the commissioner and are confident that their rates will continue to reflect anticipated medical costs and are established consistent with actuarial principles and state law. In order to avoid confusion, they are also delaying the implementation of the rate increases for individual medical plans offered by Anthem Blue Cross.

In an effort to make sure that you and your clients continue to be kept up-to-date, the following steps have been taken:

o      Brian Sassi Response to Secretary Sebelius

o      Brian Sassi Press Release: Rate Action Postponement Announcement

o        Sample of the Member Letter

o       Detailed Q and A with Talking Points for Agents

o        Pre-Recorded Message: Calls to Member

o       Official Agent Notification/Letter

In the letter to be mailed to your clients this week, Anthem Blue Cross will provide details about how the postponement of their March 1, 2010 rates will impact their premiums at this time.

The following points below outline the contents of the letter:

As mentioned above, you and your clients will also begin to receive a pre-recorded message from Anthem, which provides further explanation and information detailing specifics of the March 1, 2010 Rate Action postponement and next steps. That message will also be posted to the secure agent site for future reference.

What will my clients need to do?

The steps noted above will be automatically processed for your clients and there is nothing that they will need to do right now.

What if my clients have already changed or canceled their coverage?

It is important to note that Anthem encourages your clients to wait until May 1, 2010 before making any plan changes. Your clients will receive a letter which provides them with information on what they need to do if they have already changed or canceled their coverage and would like to be reinstated to their prior coverage.

Or you can e-mail Anthem with reinstatement requests on behalf of your clients at agent.support@wellpoint.com. Normal reinstatement fees will be waived.

What is Anthem doing to assist in retaining your clients?

Clearly, Anthem understands that these increases create a challenge for many of your clients. However, it is important to know that your clients often have a choice of coverage. To assist your clients, Anthem offers a team of licensed Health Plan Advisors for those members who call Anthem directly. You will of course continue to be the broker of record for your clients.

These advisors are dedicated to assisting members find something to meet the balance between their coverage needs and their budget especially in these challenging economic times.

Will my new clients experience an initial 12-month rate guarantee?

Yes. New members have an initial 12-month rate guarantee. For new members with effective dates of May 1, 2010 or before, Anthem will use premiums that were approved prior to the March 1, 2010 rates. They will not experience any changes due to the postponement of the March 1, 2010 Rate Action.

Also, clients with effective dates May 1, 2010 or after will receive the new rates effective May 1, 2010.

Will these changes affect commissions?

When appropriate, commissions are currently being adjusted according to the pre March 2010 rates. You may see a commission adjustment if you have clients who will receive a refund. Final commission adjustments for the May 1, 2010 Rate Action will reflect after your clients have made their May 1, 2010 plan selections.

When will PlanFinder, the Tonik website, Quotit and Norvax have the 2009 rates re-loaded?

At this time, Anthem is working to re-load their pre March, 2010 rates on their quoting systems, until their rates become effective on May 1, 2010. 

Do the Rate Action Client Reports and Policy Detail Listing in AgentServices show the current March 2009 rates or the March 2010 rates?

Currently, the March 2010 rates have been loaded to the Rate Action Client Reports and Policy Detail Listing in AgentServices. However, they are sending letters to each of your clients explaining that they will keep their March 2009 rate until the rates become effective on May 1, 2010. It is Anthem's intent to update the Rate Action Client Reports and Policy Detail Listing once new rates become effective.

Will the 2009 Agent Rate Guide be re-posted?

Yes, Anthem will post the 2009 Agent Rate Guide to the new March 1, 2010 Rate Action Postponement page. The new page can be found at the landing page of our secure agent site at anthem.com/ca.

Does this rate postponement also affect benefit changes planned for March 1, 2010?

No, planned Benefit Changes will occur as planned and are not affected.

Will Anthem provide additional talking points to agents?

Yes. When you go online to anthem.com/ca and log in to the secure broker site, you will find the following materials, which includes a Q and A document:

o       Brian Sassi Response to Secretary Sebelius

o       Brian Sassi Press Release: Rate Action Postponement Announcement

o       Sample of the Member Letter

o       Detailed Q and A with Talking Points for Agents

o       Pre-Recorded Message: Calls to Member

o       Official Agent Notification/Letter


 

Anthem Blue Cross understands that there is a lot of recent news that you will want to share with your clients. It is their hope that the above information has equipped you with enough updates to address your questions as well as questions from your clients.

It is important to Anthem that you have full knowledge of recent developments and they will be providing you up-to-date information as it becomes available. Please continue to check the secure broker site for periodic updates.
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