Tom Schrette and Alan Cash

Tom Schrette and Alan Cash

Dear Tom and Alan:

I got a letter from Covered California a month or so ago.

They told me that as of Dec. 31, our Anthem Blue Cross plan would be no more.

When I go online to get a quote for my husband and myself, everything seems so much higher and it gets complicated because I definitely have to have a PPO with lower deductibles, etc., and my husband just wants the cheapest Kaiser plan he can get.

Can you help?

Oh, P.S., we also got a letter saying if we didn’t act by Dec. 15, they would move us to something they choose. Too late now!

They put us both on one of the more expensive Kaiser plans because it is “most like what we had.” It isn’t!

Are we still able to get the plans we wanted or do we have to wait until next year?


Tom: All is well, Limbo.

As you know by now, the deadline was extended to Dec 22.

However, that was only a concern if you were shooting for a Jan. 1 effective date.

For everyone who didn’t meet the first cutoff date, the next one will be prior to Jan. 15 for a Feb. 1 effective date; prior to Feb. 15 for a March 1 effective date.

Also, Covered California has told all of us that the real “drop dead” date is Jan. 31.

After that, we truly are in “limbo” until the next open enrollment period.

Unless, of course, if Covered California decides to change the date and extend it some more.

In the first year of the Affordable Care Act, I seem to remember that they were accepting applications into April.

Al: Here’s a concrete example of what can be done: just today (Dec. 15), with the help of a very knowledgeable representative at Covered California, I was able to enroll a couple for a Jan. 1 effective date. She will be on Blue Shield Silver PPO, he’ll be on Kaiser Bronze.

They are both in their 40s, no children, and, because of huge expenses, earn less than $50,000 per year.

For a household of two, they must get less than $64,080 to qualify for a subsidy.

Since the Blue Cross “orphans” were automatically moved to Kaiser, they would both have been put on a Kaiser Silver plan for somewhere north of $600 per month.

The wife was delighted to be able to enroll in Blue Shield Silver PPO because she has been seeing specialists all over the place and none of them are with Kaiser.

Her new rate is $282 per month, with a tax credit each month of $554. Her husband is similarly pleased because he will be paying $1 per month for his Kaiser Bronze plan. His monthly subsidy is $383.

We don’t know what’s going to happen with the Affordable Care Act. But for now, California is supporting its part in the health insurance exchange.

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Submit questions to schrette@gmail.com or alancash@gmail.com.