2017 Renewal of Individual and Family Medical Plans

Insurance companies are mailing renewal information for individual and family policies, both benefit and premium changes. Some of the benefit changes are positive, some are not but most of these changes are dictated by The Affordable Care Act (ACA) commonly referred to as Obamacare. In most cases the premium increases are very substantial. I do not have complete rates for all the insurance companies as of yet.

Changes for 2017 cannot be made until November 1st for an effective date of January 1, 2017.

The individual health insurance market is shrinking. I will be setting phone appointments to begin on November to review plans. I strongly encourage that you to contact me. If you want to set a phone appointment with me, please respond to this e mail now and I will send you dates and times as options beginning in November.

Before your phone appointment, I will need to know the exact spelling of the names of doctors you want to continue to see, including their zip code. I will also need the exact spelling of any medications you need and the dosage.

If you believe you may be eligible for a subsidy through Covered California, I need to know your Estimated Modified Adjusted Gross Income for 2017. If you do not report a 2017 amount, I cannot complete a Covered California application as it will not be accepted into their system. I would encourage you to have a discussion with your tax professional. I need this information at the time of a phone appointment.

Some Grandfathered plans will be discontinued in 2017, we need to discuss replacement of those plans.

2017 Individual and Family Medical Plans Require a Primary Care Physician

Beginning January 1, 2017 all individual and family health plans in California will require that members select a Primary Care Physician (PCP) or have one recommended by their health plan.

The terminology used in this case is confusing. A PCP has historically been a physician who is associated with an HMO which limits your choice. This is not the case in this instance.

You must choose a general physician who is in the network of your insurance company. If you do not choose a physician the insurance company will assign one to you. I know that at least one company will review your claims history in order to assign a physician that you have seen in the past.

YOU DO NOT EVER NEED TO SEE THE PHYSICIAN CHOSEN

YOU CAN CHANGE THE PHYSICIAN AT ANY TIME

The thought behind this is that if one is attached to a name of a physician, it is less likely that one will go to Urgent Care or the Emergency Room. An office visit or a phone call supposedly will lower health care spending.

In Summary, choose a physician or have one chosen for you.

2017 Open Enrollment for Covered California Individual and Family Plans

Although no official date has been sent as of yet, this is what is expected from Covered California:

You will receive information from Covered California asking you to update information that will include but not limited to:

 

change in modified adjusted gross income- this requires a discussion with your tax professional

change of address

change in marital status

change in the number of dependents in your house hold

please respond to all Covered California requests

Changes might require a new application.

If there are no changes and your income listed on your Covered California application will remain the same for 2017, your policy will passively renew unless you decide to make a change, for example, enroll with a different insurance company.

 

This year there will be premium increases, changes in benefits which are influenced by Affordable Care Act rules and changes that have been made as a result of insurance company decisions.

Keep in mind that your 2016 subsidy has been based on the Modified Adjusted Gross Income that was listed on your Covered California application. Covered California will issue you an IRS form 1095 A to be filed with your 2016 tax return which will then be reconciled with your income. You may receive a tax credit or debit depending on your actual income.

Covered California has not determined when Open Enrollment will begin. In all likelihood it will be November 1st. As soon as I know the exact date I will send you an e mail. I will be setting up phone appointments to begin during Open Enrollment. If you would like to review your policy please let me know.

Remember, your 2016 subsidy is related to your 2016 Modified Adjusted Gross Income. Covered California will send you a 1095 A IRS form to be filed with your taxes. Your subsidy will be adjusted with your taxes depending on whether your income is more or less than what was reported on the enrollment application with Covered California.

Open Enrollment for 2017 Individual and Family Medical Plans

Open Enrollment begins on November 1, 2016 for an effective date of January 1, 2017.

Your insurance company may have sent you the renewal rate for your plan, however, rates in their entirety have not been published and are not available.

You cannot take any action until November 1st.

During the middle of October, send me an e mail to set up a phone appointment between November 1st and December 15th.

Rate Increases for 2017 Medical Insurance Plans

There will be a significant rate increase for 2017 plans. The reasons given are the end of funding that was available in the first three years to offset rates, the rise in specialty medication and claims from those who enroll during Special Enrollment Periods.

In regard to the specialty medication, sometimes pharmaceutical companies are raising prices of medications when the need for a medication increases. Newer specialty medications can approach $100,000 per course of treatment and/or per year.

Below is the press release from Covered California on July 19, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California unveiled its rates for 2017 on Tuesday and announced that some health insurance plans will be expanding into new areas throughout the state to compete for consumers in California.

The statewide weighted average change will be 13.2 percent, up from approximately four percent in each of the last two years. However, most consumers will see a much smaller increase — or pay less next year — if they switch to another plan.

“Shopping is going to be more important this year than ever before,” Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said. “Almost 80 percent of our consumers will either be able to pay less than they are paying now, or see their rates go up by no more than 5 percent, if they shop and buy the lowest-cost plan at their same benefit level. That’s the power of shopping.”

Lee said the opportunities to shop and save show that California has succeeded in building a competitive marketplace for health insurance, with rate increases that are still below trends in the individual market before the Affordable Care Act was passed.

“This is a new era of health care, where the consumer is in the driver’s seat with the power to look easily for a better deal, and where subsidies help absorb the impact of rate changes,” Lee said. “These options did not exist before the Affordable Care Act.”

Some consumers who choose to keep their plan will see a significant increase in their premium for 2017, while others will see a more modest increase, depending on where they live and what insurance plan they have. Consumers will begin receiving notices in October, when they will have an opportunity to review their new rates and change plans for their 2017 health coverage.

For many of those insured, the bulk of the premium increase will be absorbed by the subsidy paid by the government to help enrollees buy health insurance. Approximately 90 percent of Covered California enrollees get help to pay for their premiums. The average subsidy covers roughly 77 percent of the consumer’s monthly premium, and while premiums will rise, the subsidies will rise as well.

“Even though the average rate increase is larger this year than the last two years, the three-year average increase is 7 percent — substantially better than rate trends before the Affordable Care Act was enacted,” Lee said.

Lee said the average rate increase reflects the cost of medical care for consumers, not excessive profit.

“Under the new rules of the Affordable Care Act, insurers face strict limits on the amount of profit they can make selling health insurance,” Lee said. “So, while all plans are experiencing different cost pressures, we can be confident their rate increases are directly linked to health care costs, not administration or profit, which averaged 1.5 percent across our contracted plans.”

For consumers who get a tax credit to lower their costs — which is about 90 percent of those who sign up through Covered California — the amount they pay is impacted not only by the premium choice, but by changes in their tax credit. While the average rate increase is higher than past years, Covered California’s risk mix — the ratio of consumers who are healthy vs. sick — remains one of the best in the nation according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (https://www.cms.gov/CCIIO/Programs-and-Initiatives/Premium-Stabilization-Programs/index.html).

Other reasons for rate increases include:
A one-year adjustment due to the end of a funding mechanism in the Affordable Care Act known as reinsurance, which was designed to moderate rate increases during the first three years when exchanges were being established. The American Academy of Actuaries estimates this will add between 4 percent and 7 percent to premiums for 2017.
Special enrollment by some consumers who may be enrolling in health insurance only after they become sick or need care, which seems to have had a significant impact on rates for two insurance plans.
The rising cost of health care, especially specialty drugs.
Pent-up demand for health care now being accessed by those who were locked out of the health care system before the Affordable Care Act was enacted.
Lee said Covered California is working to address some of these issues on multiple fronts. The exchange is aggressively marketing to attract healthy consumers year-round, and it is working to ensure special enrollment is available only to those who meet qualifying circumstances. It is also sampling the special enrollment population to better understand how to make any further improvements needed.

“We work hard to build a robust exchange that drives competition by attracting as many consumers as possible,” Lee said. “Now, consistent with the vision of the Affordable Care Act, we will redouble our efforts to make sure our consumers and potential consumers understand the importance of signing up during open enrollment and remaining covered throughout the year.”

Lee said Covered California’s 11 health insurers are competing across the state for its 1.4 million members.

“The sheer number of enrollees and their overall health means consumers in the individual market are benefiting from competition,” Lee said.

Below is the complete list of the companies selected for the 2017 exchange:
Anthem Blue Cross of California
Blue Shield of California
Chinese Community Health Plan
Health Net
Kaiser Permanente
L.A. Care Health Plan
Molina Healthcare
Oscar Health Plan of California
Sharp Health Plan
Valley Health Plan
Western Health Advantage
Rate details by pricing regions can be found in “Covered California’s Health Insurance Companies and Plan Rates for 2017,” posted online at:http://coveredca.com/news/pdfs/CoveredCA-2017-rate-booklet.pdf

The preliminary rates are subject to a 60-day public comment period and regulatory review by the California Department of Managed Health Care. In addition, the California Department of Insurance will review Health Net’s EPO.

Some insurance carriers will be increasing their coverage areas in 2017:
Oscar will be entering the market in San Francisco, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.
Molina will expand into Orange County.
Kaiser will be available in Santa Cruz County.
With the expansion of its current carriers, almost all consumers (92.6 percent) will be able to choose from three or more carriers, and all will have at least two to select from.

In addition, more than 93 percent of hospitals in California will be available through at least one Covered California health insurance company in 2017, and 74 percent will be available in three or more plans.

Covered California also is improving its patient-centered benefit designs by increasing a consumer’s access to care by reducing the number of services that are subject to a consumer’s deductible.

Starting in 2017, consumers in Silver 70 plans will save as much as $55 on an urgent care visit and $10 on a primary care visit. In addition, consumers in Silver, Gold and Platinum plans will pay a flat copay for emergency room visits without having to satisfy a deductible, which could save them thousands of dollars.

These improvements build on features already in place that ensure most outpatient services in Silver, Gold and Platinum plans are not subject to a deductible, including primary care visits, specialist visits, lab tests, X-rays and imaging. In addition, some Enhanced Silver plans have little or no deductible and very low copays, such as $3 for an office visit. Even consumers in Covered California’s most affordable Bronze plans are allowed to see their doctor or a specialist three times before the visits are subject to the deductible.

In addition, the contract with health insurers for 2017 ensures consumers select or are provisionally assigned a primary care physician within 60 days of effectuation so they have an established source of care.

“Health care reform isn’t just about making insurance affordable, it’s about doing things to make it easier for consumers to get the right care at the right time,” Lee said.

In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that California’s uninsured rate had fallen to 8.1 percent at the end of 2015, down from 17 percent at the end of 2013, right before the Affordable Care Act began offering coverage.

“We can all be very proud of the extraordinary gains we have made in reducing California’s uninsured rate to a historic low,” Lee said.

About Covered California
Covered California is the state’s marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Covered California, in partnership with the California Department of Health Care Services, helps individuals determine whether they are eligible for premium assistance that is available on a sliding-scale basis to reduce insurance costs or whether they are eligible for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Small businesses can purchase competitively priced health insurance plans and offer their employees the ability to choose from an array of plans and may qualify for federal tax credits.

Covered California is an independent part of the state government whose job is to make the new market work for California’s consumers. It is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the Governor and the Legislature. For more information about Covered California, please visit www.CoveredCA.com.

This article is from the Los Angeles Times date July 20, 2016

California Obamacare rates to jump

Premiums are set to go up an average of 13.2% next year. Rising medical costs are one reason, officials say.

BY MELODY PETERSEN AND NOAM N. LEVEY

Premiums for Californians’ Obamacare health coverage will rise an average of 13.2% next year — more than three times the increase of the last two years and a jump that is bound to stir debate in an election year.

The big increases come after two years in which California officials had boasted that the program helped insure hundreds of thousands people in the state while keeping costs moderately in check.

Premiums in the insurance program called Covered California rose just 4% in 2016 after rising 4.2% in 2015 — the first year that exchange officials negotiated with insurers. The program insures 1.4 million Californians.

On Tuesday, officials blamed next year’s premium hikes in the program on rising costs of medical care, including expensive specialty drugs and the end of a mechanism that held down rates for the first three years of Obamacare.

Two of the state’s biggest insurers — Blue Shield of California and Anthem Inc. — asked for the biggest hikes. Blue Shield’s premiums will jump an average of more than 19%, according to officials, and Anthem’s rates will rise more than 16%.

For consumers, the effect will depend on whether they get taxpayer-supported subsidies for their premiums and whether they are willing to switch to less-expensive plans that may come with higher co-pays and deductibles. Changing plans could also mean a new network of physicians, which could be disruptive to care for those with chronic conditions.

The rates vary significantly by region and insurer. Los Angeles and the rest of southwest Los Angeles County will see an average increase of almost 14%.

Blue Shield’s preferred provider organization rate in Los Angeles, chosen by 21% of those using the exchange, is increasing by an average of 19.5%. For a 40-year-old single person making $17,820 to $23,760, choosing a silver level plan, the monthly rate currently is $122, while the government pays Blue Shield $196. Next year that same person would pay $170, while the government would chip in $211 a month.

“We’re paying more for less,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog in Santa Monica. “Insurers are limiting access to doctors and hospitals while also demanding a higher price.”

Horacio Chavez, 34, of Boyle Heights said he made less than $25,000 last year as an education coordinator at a youth center. He currently pays a $100 premium for a Covered California plan that he uses for an annual checkup and a safety net in case of emergencies.

“I do want healthcare — I want the peace of mind that if anything happens to me that there’s some kind of coverage,” Chavez said. But “a 13% hike … that’s going to affect people.”

He said he’s already barely making ends meet trying to pay his rent, student loans from the University of Chicago, car payments and his health insurance premium.

“I’m already living check to check,” Chavez said.

Covered California officials defended the system Tuesday, saying that the competition among insurers offering coverage on the exchange was working to keep rates lower than they otherwise would be.

“California has a very competitive marketplace,” said Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California.

Obamacare has significantly reduced the number of uninsured Californians. Since the state’s health insurance exchange began offering coverage in 2014, the share of Californians without health insurance has fallen from 17% at the end of 2013 to 8.1% at the end of last year, according to officials.

Rates are expected to jump in other states too, although complete details won’t be available until later this year.

An analysis of 14 metro areas that have already announced their 2017 premiums found an average jump of 11%. The changes ranged from a decrease of 14% in Providence, R.I., to an increase of 26% in Portland, Ore., according to the analysis by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

The federal healthcare-  .gov   exchange provides insurance under the Affordable Care Act in 38 states. California and a few other states operate their own exchanges.

Around the country, several insurers, including giant UnitedHealth, have stopped selling health plans on the exchanges, and a number of new nonprofit health insurance co-ops have gone out of business.

Those decisions have fueled charges from the law’s critics that Obamacare isn’t working.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, is pushing a number of specific steps to ease price pressure on consumers, including allowing Americans ages 55 to 64 to buy into Medicare.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has argued the health law should be repealed.

The health law’s next enrollment period begins a week before election day.

The state and federal health insurance exchanges provide coverage to about 12 million people nationally, representing just a fraction of the nation’s total insurance market. The vast majority of Americans — more than 250 million people — are in health plans purchased through an employer or provided by a government plan such as Medicare or Medicaid.

But the exchanges are a pillar of the Affordable Care Act’s program for guaranteeing Americans’ insurance coverage. And monthly premiums have become a closely watched barometer of how the law is performing.

Covered California’s Lee told the House Ways and Means Committee on July 12 that 2017 would be “a transitional year” for Obamacare, with rates seeing “significant adjustments” across the nation.

He said one reason for the increase was the end of a program designed to keep rates down during the insurance exchange’s first three years. The program had assessed a fee on all health insurers and then redistributed those funds among carriers whose members had the highest medical expenses, Lee said.

Lee added that some insurers had also not charged enough in the first two years because they didn’t have full data on the medical costs or health status of those signing up. Now they’re adjusting to account for those higher costs.

Mia Campitelli, a Blue Shield spokeswoman, said Tuesday that the insurer’s average 19.9% premium increase was “driven by our members using more healthcare services than we expected,” as well as the phaseout of the federal mechanism that had kept rates down in the law’s early years.

Anthem spokesman Darrel Ng said: “Factors such as increased use of medical services and added costs of drugs and medical therapies put upward pressure on rates and underscore the additional work that needs to be done to moderate the growth in healthcare costs.”

The financial pain for most Californians getting insurance through the exchange will be muted because 90% get taxpayer assistance to cover the premiums.

Americans making less than four times the federal poverty level — about $47,000 for a single adult or $97,000 for a family of four — qualify for the assistance.

Nonetheless, Americans who make too much to qualify for subsidies are likely to feel the brunt of the higher premiums. That will probably increase pressure on the new president — Democrat or Republican — to review the exchanges in 2017 for ways to make health plans more affordable.

A year ago, Lee wrote an op-ed in The Times saying that Covered California’s power in negotiating with insurers was allowing Obamacare to work in the state.

“We now have the full picture in California, where we are proving that health insurance exchanges can keep prices in check,” he wrote.

Though the Affordable Care Act has improved care for millions of Americans — for example, insurance companies can no longer set lifetime limits on care or exclude anyone because of a preexisting condition — the 6-year-old law contains few controls on overall costs.

Spending on the country’s medical system averages more than $10,000 for every American, according to statistics released by the Obama administration this month, far higher than any other nation. melody.petersen

@ latimes.com   noam.levey@latimes.com   Times staff writer Soumya Karlamangla contributed to this report.

RICH PEDRONCELLI Associated Press

“CALIFORNIA has a very competitive marketplace,” said Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California. Above, Lee discusses the program last year.

IRS Form 1095

The Affordable Care Act requires that everyone been enrolled in a qualified health plan or a penalty will be assessed at your tax filing. The method used to verify your enrollment is with a 1095 tax form. The form is to be mailed to all enrollees in a qualified health plan and submitted with your tax filing for IRS confirmation.

If you are receiving a subsidy through Covered California, the subsidized premium will be included on the 1095. The IRS will verify that the income reported on your Covered California application matches your actual income. If your income is less than what is listed on the application, you will receive an additional credit. If the income is more, you will be required to pay back a calculated amount.

Most insurance companies have sent out the 1095 to enrollees. If you have not received yours, it should arrive soon. Please review the form for its accuracy in terms of premium paid and subsidy allowed.

The above pertains to the 2015 tax year.

The companies that offered policies through my agency in 2015 were:
Anthem Blue Cross

Blue Shield of California

Cigna

Assurant Health

Aetna

United Health Care

Health Net

Kaiser

 

Covered California Subsidies for 2016

Covered California has sent letters to Exchange customers who are receiving subsidies. The letter was sent on August 14th and advises clients who receive subsidies that they must give their consent for Covered CA to verify income and family size to determine their subsidy for their health plan in 2016. Members must provide their consent by either;

1. Calling Covered CA at 1-800-300-1506 options 1, 2, 0 for a live body

OR
2. Logging into your CoveredCA.com account and following the instructions in the letter.
If members do not provide the necessary information to Covered CA by the 9/30/15 deadline, subsidy will end on 12/31/15.

The companies that I represent that participate in Covered California are Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, Health Net and Kaiser.

Medicare Plans to Pay Doctors for Counseling on End of Life

This article is taken from the Los Angeles Times, dated July 9, 2015

Proposal to plan for life’s end

BY NOAM N. LEVEY

WASHINGTON — Six years after end-of-life planning nearly derailed development of the Affordable Care Act amid charges of “death panels,” the Obama administration has revived a proposal to reimburse physicians for talking with Medicare patients about how they want to be cared for as they near death.

The proposal, contained in Medicare regulations unveiled Wednesday, comes amid growing public discussion about medical care that better reflects patients’ wishes as they age.

The American Medical Assn. has recommended the Medicare billing change.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ proposal would not require patients to sign any order or even to talk with their physicians about end-of-life care. Rather, it would allow medical providers to bill Medicare for “advance care planning” if a patient wants to have the discussion. noam.levey@latimes.com 

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I can’t say enough great things about Dennis and his expertise. He has a plethora of knowledge in this industry and with the most complicated and confusing changes within the health insurance world, it’s nice to know he keeps up with this information. I always feel reassured when I deal with him and I know he places my family and I in the best plans in a customized fashion. We are blessed to know him and call him our insurance agent! He knows his stuff so you don’t have to! That makes my life easier for me, and I’m deeply grateful.

Dennis is a true professional. I highly recommend using Dennis. He is easily accessible and very knowledgable. He helped guide us into the right health insurance for my entire family and helped me get a refund from another insurance company that owed us money. Thanks again Dennis!

I have been with Dennis for years. His service is second to none. I always get well informed and detailed information on how to make the best decisions for insurance that is cost effective for the coverage I need. He is available when I have questions and gives updates about changes in insurance programs. Nice to have an agent that keeps me current. I highly recommend Dennis.

Dennis David has helped me enroll employees in health insurance plans, has walked me through Affordable Care, and just recently held my (electronic) hand as I waded through the medicare system and enrolled in supplementary insurance. He is thoughtful, he makes sure I understand what I’m doing, he keeps me updated on changes. I absolutely trust him and I would — and have — recommend him to my friends.

Dennis advised us of our options and carefully explained the pros and cons of the different choices. We have excellent personal health insurance coverage and have been able to maintain the same policy for years. We were so pleased that we asked him to find insurance for my company. He looks at different options and price compares for us every year. We made the right decision in choosing Dennis!

Dennis is amazing! He is very knowledgeable and always up to date on the healthcare industry. He’s helped me in so many ways. I always check with him, first, before I make any decision on health insurance!

I have known Dennis for over 30 years, we met while colleagues in an Insurance Firm, and have remained steadfast friends ever since. Dennis’s work ethics have never changed, honest, truthful, responsible and accountable. He takes care of his clients, understanding their needs, always offering guidance with such kindness, which in today’s marketplace, is not easy to find. When my time came for a Long Term Health Policy, Dennis gave me options, explaining the differences in coverages and costs. A financial planner recently took a look at my policy and was so impressed with its detail, thank you Dennis. When time came for retirement and entering the Medicare world, Dennis was so very thorough in every aspect of all the Plans. I felt very taken care of and secure, thank you Dennis The insurance world is very lucky to have Dennis David with his expertise and caring ways, he will not disappoint.

Dennis David has been my insurance agent for many years. He is very helpful and knows his stuff. He is always well prepared when it comes time for me to make insurance decisions and he offers me different choices, so I can make informed decisions. I highly recommend Denis David for all insurance needs.

I found my experience with Mr. David to be an example of true expertise. He was patient and really listened to my concerns and got right to the heart of what I needed for my family. His efficient communication really assisted me in trusting the whole insurance process and made it simple not complicated. All of my questions were answered swiftly and I knew that I was in good hands, thank you again!

I have used Dennis David’s services for over 20 years and been extraordinarily satisfied with EVERYTHING! Not once has he disappointed me or not been able to help me with questions or issues. I have recommended him to all of my friends, most of them self-employed over this time period and they are all still with him. Dennis is not only proficient in his profession but he is really kind and compassionate. There is nothing at all that I have been reticent to tell him.

Dennis is very attentive and knowledgable. We have done business with him for many years and he always gets back to us in a timely and efficient manner. I am very happy we found someone we can trust and work with!

 

I had the great good fortune of working with Mr. David, just this past year. During the most confusing and high pressure time the Affordable Care Act proposed. He not only was he exceedingly professional, knowledgeable he made the process smooth and very comprehensible for a novice like me. With his guidance I feel confident that I choose the best health care plan for my budget and my needs. I have used it twice now with no surprises. I would highly recommend Mr. David’s services to anyone; businesses and individuals a like, he is very approachable, quick to respond and has many avenues of access one of which is his website.

I have bought insurance from Dennis – Health, Life and Liability – over 20 years. Insurance can be complex and Dennis is always able to explain what is important and he is able to help me make the right decision. I value his advice and look forward to continuing to do business with the Dennis David Agency

We are using Dennis for closee to 20 years. We admire his knowledge, and his devvotion to his customers. Dnnis is always there when you need him, is esponsee time is fantastic. His proffeesionlism is a 10.

Dennis is the most professional and knowledgable insurance broker I have ever known. He makes it a point to stay informed with the latest changes in the industry that effects me. He is exceptional in staying in good contact with me. His very high ethical standards are apparent at all times.

I have been very happy dealing with insurance companies because I have Dennis David to help me. I have had an awesome experience with Dennis L. David insurance company. Every time there is an issue or a billing error, they instantly attend to it and take care of it for me. I would recommend this company to everybody.

I have worked with Dennis for many years and as an Insurance Broker his knowledge and service is second to none! He provides his clients with competitive products to meet all of their insurance needs. For Dennis, helping clients is his priority!

I have worked with Dennis David for over 15 years. He always takes care of me and my needs. Now he also takes care of members of my family. Dennis has been especially wonderful during the changes in our healthcare system. I mean, who can figure it out? I am grateful to have him to explain it all. I am well taken care of.

I have worked with a number of insurance agents through the years, but without a doubt, this agency has been by far the best. Dennis David, in particular, is exceptional in his knowledge and expertise, and when he doesn’t know the answer, he researches it and in a timely manner reconnects with you. There is a true conscientiousness and concern for the client. As for me, with the dramatic and sweeping changes that occurred in health insurance, I felt very unclear as to what direction I should take. He was able to significantly help me sort through the morass of choices, and help land an insurance plan that was the best fit for me. I very much appreciated his guidance and I learned later that his suggestions were offered irrespective of the commission he could potentially receive. I highly recommend this agency.

Health insurance concerns can be difficult to navigate at times. Whenever I call Dennis he has always created time to patiently explain all aspects of my insurance plan. He collects all the information and addresses the pros and cons to answer my specific questions which I truly appreciate! He is wonderful to work with and I highly recommend him!

I have known Dennis David for many years and he is the most professional and honest insurance agent. I highly recommend his services for all of your insurance needs.

“Dennis has worked with my family for years. He’s consistent and reliable along with being very nice and easy to work with! Insurance can be complicated and costly, it’s of so much value have someone like Dennis on your side during the process. I would recommend him time and time again! I’m grateful to have him on my team. I always feel like my needs are met and that I’ve accomplished what I wanted after our phone meetings. He’s also great on email which is a plus for me!”

– Lucy F.
“Dennis is very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful when it comes to sorting through the confusing world of insurance. I highly recommendation Dennis.”
Hi Dennis, I wanted to let you know that of May 1, 2016  I need to cancel our insurance with Anthem Blue Cross. I would like to thank you again for all your help at a time we had no idea what we were going to do. You walked us through every option and helped us make the best choice and decision for our family. I don’t know what we would have done with out you. Thank you again for always being there to help with our many questions.
Thank you so much Dennis for your dedication in helping us.

Insurance premiums spark new front in Obamacare war

In this the second year of implementation of the Affordable Care Act, premiums have not stabilized but it is probably an unreasonable expectation of the giant upheaval in a the health insurance system. The coming years will be the litmus test, hopefully the trend of large rate increases will turn around.

Below is an article from the Washington Examiner, date July 6, 2015.

Republicans target big increases as evidence that healthcare law isn’t working

Insurance premiums have quickly become a new front in the Obamacare fight, with opponents pouncing on big increases and supporters and experts countering the increases won’t be so bad.

The fight started last month when insurers were required to disclose estimated 2016 rates of 10 percent or more for Obamacare customers. Some figures grabbed headlines, especially with certain insurers calling for 50 to 70 percent increases.

The premium spikes vary by state and insurer. For instance, some plans in Florida are actually proposing reduced premiums, but 13 plans want rate increases of 10 percent or more, including Time Insurance Co.’s 63 percent hike.

Republicans say the higher rates are evidence that the law is hurting Americans and not lowering healthcare costs.

“The whole point of Obamacare was to make health care more affordable. But premiums aren’t going down; they’re going up — way up,” said Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, in a recent hearing.

“The model we’re on in the Affordable Care Act is not sustainable,” said Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., at the same hearing.

This is the first time since Obamacare’s passage that insurers can look at a full year’s worth of claims data and calculate premiums, Rep. Pete Roskam, R-Ill., said at the hearing. He added that the premium spikes are not growing pains.

“The law created a number of temporary programs to pay out billions in taxpayer funds during the first few years to lower costs seen by individuals and to protect big insurance companies against financial losses,” he said. “But those programs are beginning to phase out, and as the government is slowly taking off the training wheels, Obamacare is looking pretty wobbly.”

Supporters counter that any increases aren’t finalized and will have a modest impact overall.

“We have just the bad news,” said Kathy Hempstead, who directs coverage issues for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

One analysis found that Obamacare customers as a whole may only see a modest increase.

The research firm Avalere looked at proposed rate filings in seven states and the District of Columbia. The average premiums for silver plans, the second cheapest option and a popular choice for Obamacare enrollees, will increase nearly 6 percent, Avalere said.

Avalere also noted that the low-cost silver plan options are likely to be smaller than the silver plan as a whole. Premiums for the lowest- and second-lowest silver plans in the seven states and D.C. will increase on average 4.5 percent and 1 percent.

A separate analysis from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation found that in 11 major cities the cost of a regular silver plan would be on average 4.4 percent higher in 2016 than this year.

Premiums must be finalized by October. That way customers facing a high premium can choose a different plan during the next open enrollment this fall.

Another reason why the rates could change is states need to conduct reviews themselves.

Obamacare requires states to report on any premium increase trends and recommend whether certain plans should be excluded from the exchanges, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.

In 2011, the federal government started to work with states to strengthen or alter their rate review programs. If a state doesn’t have the resources to conduct the required review, the Department of Health and Human Services will do it, the National Conference on State Legislatures said.

“The carriers really have to be able to explain their rates, and that is part of the point of the whole medical loss-ratio regulations,” Hempstead said.

The medical loss ratio is another new regulation installed under Obamacare. It requires insurers to devote 85 percent of the cost of a premium on medical care and the other 15 percent on administrative costs.

The ratio ensures that insurers don’t devote too much of their costs to overhead.

Amid the rhetoric over the premium increases are certain trends that could affect the insurance market as a whole.

Many Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers kept premiums in marketplaces comparatively low with small increases from year to year, but that varies considerably across the country, according to a study of trends for market place plans done by the foundation and the left-leaning think tank Urban Institute.

The report looked at the cheapest silver plans in 30 states. Some insurance companies were reluctant to enter the Obamacare marketplaces in 2014 and when they did the plans were more expensive.

However, the report projects insurers will lower premiums to keep prices low to attract enough customers buying insurance through the Obamacare marketplaces.

But for opponents of Obamacare, the proposed increases represent a long-standing criticism about the law’s ability to battle healthcare costs, which was levied even before the exchanges opened in 2014.

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