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.

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.

ID Theft protection now available for Blue Shield Medicare Supplement plan members

In 2015, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association announced its commitment to making identity protection services available to its customers nationwide. We are pleased to share that we now offer credit monitoring and repair services at no cost to eligible Blue Shield Medicare Supplement plan members and their dependents effective May 2, 2016.

To administer our new identity protection offering, we’ve selected AllClear ID, a leader in customer security. Your Blue Shield Medicare Supplement plan customers can access AllClear Identity repair by calling (855) 904-5733, Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and a representative will help restore their identity. To do so, your customers will need to provide their name, Social Security number and date of birth.

This offering is available to Medicare Supplement plan members and their covered dependents for as long as they have a Blue Shield of California health policy in effect. Due to current laws and regulations, Blue Shield Federal Employee Programs (FEP) and Medicare Advantage HMO plan (MA-PD) and Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) members are not eligible to enroll in this new offering.

For added protection, Blue Shield Medicare Supplement plan members can opt in to receive AllClear ID Credit Monitoring at blueshieldca.allclearid.com. The service includes credit monitoring, a $1 million identity theft insurance policy and child protection for dependents under 18 years of age.

Medicare and Social Security Trustees Warn of Shortfalls

Below is an article discussing the financial state of Medicare and Social Security. There is a pending rate increase in Medicare premiums.

Medicare and Social Security Trustees Warn of Shortfalls

By ROBERT PEARJUNE 22, 2016 New York Times

Carolyn W. Colvin, the acting commissioner of Social Security, during a news conference in Washington on Wednesday. Credit Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration said Wednesday that the financial outlook for Medicare’s hospital insurance trust fund had deteriorated slightly in the last year and that Social Security still faced serious long-term financial problems.

The report, from the trustees of the two programs, could inject a note of fiscal reality into a presidential campaign that has given scant attention to the government’s fiscal challenges as the population ages. Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has proposed increasing Social Security benefits and allowing people age 55 to 64 to “buy into” Medicare, while Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, has repeatedly said he would not cut either program.

Under existing law, the trustees said Wednesday, Medicare’s hospital trust fund would be depleted in 2028, two years earlier than projected in last year’s report.

In addition, they said, the Social Security trust funds for old-age benefits and disability insurance, taken together, could be depleted in 2034, the same year projected in last year’s report. Tax collections would then be sufficient to pay about three-fourths of promised benefits through 2090, they said.

Social Security and Medicare account for about 40 percent of all federal spending.

Obama administration officials often say the Affordable Care Act has slowed the growth of health spending, compared with estimates made just before the law was adopted in 2010.

But the trustees said Wednesday that the short-term financial outlook for Medicare had worsened in the last year because of changes in their assumptions and expectations. Medicare actuaries now expect higher use of inpatient hospital services, as well as lower projected improvements in workers’ productivity and lower payroll tax revenue, as a result of slower growth in wages in the next few years.

In their report, the trustees — four administration officials — said that the costs of Medicare and Social Security would grow faster than the economy through the mid-2030s because of the aging of the baby boom generation. As for Medicare, they said, “growth in expenditures per beneficiary exceeds growth in per capita gross domestic product over this time period.”

The projected growth in Medicare spending will not immediately set off automatic cuts in the program under a controversial provision of the Affordable Care Act that generally requires such cuts when spending is expected to exceed certain benchmarks. However, such cuts could be required in a few years under the trustees’ forecast.

President Obama told an audience in Elkhart, Ind., this month that Social Security should paid for “by asking the wealthiest Americans to contribute a little bit more.” Credit Zach Gibson/The New York Times

Under current projections, they said, the automatic cuts could take effect for the first time in 2019.

Medicare now spends an average of nearly $13,000 per beneficiary, and this figure is expected to exceed $16,000 in five years, the report said.

“High-cost drugs are a major driver of Medicare spending growth,” said Andrew M. Slavitt, the acting administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Such projections in years past have prompted leaders in both parties to at least broach the idea of benefit cuts or tax increases for entitlement programs.

By contrast, President Obama said in Elkhart, Ind., this month that Social Security should be made “more generous,” and that “we could start paying for it by asking the wealthiest Americans to contribute a little bit more.”

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said Wednesday that he saw no contradiction there. The two objectives — ensuring the solvency of Social Security and increasing benefits — are “not at all inconsistent” if they are discussed in the context of “a broader conversation” about taxes and benefits, he said.

The report predicts that Social Security will provide a modest cost-of-living adjustment, increasing benefits by two-tenths of 1 percent next year. But, it warned of a “substantial increase” in Medicare premiums in 2017 for about 30 percent of beneficiaries. Under assumptions in the report, the standard premium, now $121.80 a month, would rise to $149, and the change could be announced just weeks before Election Day on Nov. 8.

Congress took action last year to shore up Social Security’s disability insurance trust fund, but the report says the legislation was a short-term fix. The law postponed the projected depletion of the disability trust fund by seven years, to 2023, Mr. Lew said.

Like other Democrats, Mr. Lew said the report showed the “positive impact” of the Affordable Care Act. Since the health law was signed, he said, “increases in health care costs have slowed substantially.”

Carolyn W. Colvin, the acting commissioner of Social Security, said Americans should begin a serious discussion of how to close the “future financing gap” in Social Security. Sixty million people now receive Social Security benefits totaling more than $74 billion each month. The number of Social Security beneficiaries is expected to reach 76 million by 2025.

Healthcare part of retirement planning

This article appears in the Los Angeles Times Personal Finance Section dated May 29, 2016.

The discussion is about saving for healthcare, both Medicare and Long Term Care during retirement.

Dear Liz: You’ve been writing about how much to save for retirement, including how much of our incomes we should aim to replace with our savings. Two more reasons to shoot for a higher replacement rate are the possibilities that medical needs will be higher the older one becomes (even with Medicare and a supplemental plan) and that long term care will take a huge bite out of savings if one self-insures for this. My wife and I took these into account when we saved as much as we could afford during our working years.

Answer: Many people erroneously believe that Medicare will take care of their healthcare costs in retirement. In reality, Medicare generally pays for about 60% of typical healthcare services, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Fidelity Investments estimates that the typical couple at age 65 can expect to spend $245,000 on healthcare throughout retirement. That figure doesn’t include the costs of nursing homes or long-term care, which also aren’t typically covered by Medicare. Saving for these expenses was a smart move.

Medicare and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

The requirement that everyone have ACA compliant health insurance or be penalized does not affect Medicare recipients, however, if you are a Medicare recipient, you must still notify the Internal Revenue Service that you had coverage.

Please be certain that line 61 of the 1040 form is checked, indicating that you had a full year of coverage.

Blue Shield of California Medicare Supplements

Blue Shield is migrating all Medicare Supplement enrollees to a new computer system. By the end of 2015 you will receive a letter from Blue Shield with a new ID card and subscriber number. It is very important to give your new ID card to all your medical providers. Please shred your old ID card.

If claims are processed with the old ID number they will not be recognized by Blue Shield which will result in a denial of the claim which must be reprocessed.

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 

My Clients Evaluate My Agency- Thank You!

Names of my clients have been removed for privacy.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

Changes to Blue Shield of California Medicare Supplement Plans

Approximately 11,500 Medicare Supplement subscribers in open and closed plans were migrated to our new back-end claims system on July 1, 2015. If you have Medicare Supplement clients who are billed quarterly in January, April, July, and October, they were part of this migration and have received a series of communications explaining changes to their Blue Shield member ID cards, subscriber and group plan numbers, bill format, and billing payment address.

New ID card
Members who were migrated on July 1, 2015 have been mailed a new ID card that features new subscriber and group numbers. Please remind your clients that they need to present this new ID card on their next visit to their physician after July 1, to ensure that their new subscriber number is updated in provider records.

New billing statement
Migrated members will also receive a new billing statement with an improved format that will make it easier to read and find important information.

Their first new bill will be delayed, arriving approximately one to two weeks after its regular due date. Our standard 30-day grace period for payment will extend from the date on the first new bill. Billing will resume its regular schedule on their next billing cycle.

If a member uses their bank’s online bill-pay option or another automated payment option to pay their bill each month, they will need to notify their bank about their new subscriber number and bill payment address (found on the new billing statement) to ensure that their payment is applied to their new Blue Shield account rather than the old one.

Here is the migration schedule for the remainder of Medicare Supplement plan members:

  • September 1, 2015 migration includes those who are billed monthly and those billed quarterly in March, June, September, and December. This is our largest group; we will be migrating approximately 133,000 members.
  • November 1, 2015 migration includes those who are billed quarterly in February, May, August, and November. This group will include the remaining members – approximately 7,100.

Please visit our Medicare Supplement plan webpage to learn more about these changes and download related FAQs and member materials.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your Blue Shield representative.

 

 
   
 
 
  Two new hospitals added to the Blue Shield Medicare 65 Plus network
   

Effective July 1, 2015, Community Memorial Hospital of San Buenaventura and Ojai Valley Community Hospital are part of the Blue Shield 65 Plus network.

 

 

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The Dennis L. David Insurance Agency | Long Term Care Insurance, Los Angeles Medical Insurance, Anthem Blue Cross Healthcare Insurance, Whole & Term Life Insurance Policies, Cigna, Disability Insurance, Blue Shield of CA, Group Health Plans, Aetna, Group Medical Insurance, Skilled Nursing Insurance, Medicare Supplement Insurance, Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans, In-Home Care, Disabled Work Insurance, Disability Benefits, Culver City Health & Life Insurance, Family & Individual Health Insurance, Health Care Reform & Affordable Care Act Assistance, Obamacare, Covered CA Health Insurance, Health Plans, Kaiser Insurance, Genworth Life, John Hancock Life, Culver City Long Term Care & Disability, Employee Benefits, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Marina Del Rey, West Los Angeles, Los Angeles, El Segundo, Sherman Oaks, Encino, Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles County CA, California

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