About Jay Norris

Jay operates a health insurance brokerage in Colorado, where he helps individuals and small groups obtain and maintain health insurance coverage.
Complimenting his work as a health insurance broker, Jay is also a data analyst working to create visualizations that are easily understood by consumers and other stakeholders in Colorado’s health insurance market.

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Recent posts by Jay Norris
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Wild Wild West of Electronic Medical Records

This article was sent to us through our contact form from “Sandra” as an entry is our open mic/guest blogger category. Sandra is not a client of ours, but says she found our guest blogger category while researching her situation and would like her opinions published. We kept Sandra’s requested title for the post and […]

Best Health Insurance Companies In Colorado

We recently got a call from a client who mentioned that he had done a Google search for the “best health insurance companies in Colorado” and his concern was that Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield was not on the top ten list that he said came up as the first search result.  We were a […]

Kaiser Will Soon Be Available In Northern Colorado

[…] The new Kaiser facilities will be in Fort Collins at Harmony and Ziegler, and in Loveland at I-25 and Hwy 34. For hospital services, Kaiser is partnering with Banner Health and members will be able to use McKee Medical Center in Loveland and North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley. The medical offices in Fort Collins and Loveland will offer a wide range of services (primary care, lab work, pharmacy, and x-rays, and mammograms will be available at the Loveland office), and are expected to begin providing care by the fall of 2012. A medical office is projected to open in Greeley by 2014. Between now and then however, northern Colorado Kaiser members will be able to see doctors at the Fort Collins and Loveland offices, as well as physicians on the Banner Health network.

Kaiser is planning to offer group coverage to employers in northern Colorado by October 1, 2012. Individual and family coverage should be available sometime next year.

IRS 2013 HSA Contribution Limits

The IRS announced that the 2013 HSA contribution limit for an individual would increase by $150, from $3,100 to $3,250. The family contribution limit is increasing from $6,250 to $6,450 (+$200).

The maximum annual out-of-pocket increased as well. The individual out of pocket maximum is going from $6,050 to $6,250. The family out of pocket maximum is increasing from $12,100 to $12,500.

The minimum deductible on an HSA qualified plan also increases from $1,200 to $1,250 for individuals and increases from $2,400 to $2,500 for families.

What are the 2012 HSA Contribution Limits?

According to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, OTC drugs may be reimbursed only if there is a prescription.

Non-medical withdrawals from an HSA are taxable income and subject to a tax penalty, which increased from 10% in 2010 to 20% in 2011 and remains the same for 2013.

Exception to the IRS tax penalty for non-medical withdrawals:
The tax penalty does not apply if the withdrawal is made after you:
1) Attain age 65;
2) Become totally and permanently disabled; or
3) Die.

More details and research about HSAs and HSA qualified plans.

Despite IT Problems, Report Gives Colorado High Marks On Exchange Progress

[…] On the upside, the Urban Institute report gives Colorado props for making good overall progress on setting up the health benefits exchange. Despite the political hot seat that health care reform has been for the past few years, Colorado lawmakers managed to work together to create the framework for our health benefits exchange last year. We have a board of directors in place and the state is moving forward as fast as possible to get things in place for the exchange to be up and running in 2014. A lot is still unknown with regards to the future of the ACA, since the Supreme Court still has to issue their ruling in June regarding the legality of the individual mandate. But if the ACA remains in place and the health insurance exchanges become reality across the country, it’s safe to say that Colorado will be ahead of the curve in terms of getting the bugs ironed out.

The Urban Institute report notes that Colorado had a head start on a lot of the reform issues thanks to the 2008 Blue Ribbon Commission Report. Remember back when that was the big news in health care reform in Colorado? Before health care reform became such a divisive topic across the country, Colorado was working to come up with solutions to many of the problems with our health care system. Some of the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission are very similar to the new guidelines in the ACA, and Colorado had been taking active steps for the past four years to implement the Blue Ribbon recommendations. If the ACA remains in place, it should be a bit easier for Colorado to make the necessary transitions over the next few years, thanks to the progress the state has already made on its own.

Health Wonk Bloggers Think The Supreme Court Will Rule In Favor Of The ACA

[…] When I browsed around on most of the mainstream media regarding the Supreme Court and the ACA, I kept seeing predictions that the Court will ultimately find the individual mandate unconstitutional and either strike down that part of the law or return the whole ACA back to congress for a re-do (based on perceived negativity towards the law on the part of the Justices). But interestingly enough, all three blog posts in the HWR that dealt with this issue had the opposite opinion (and of course, at this point, all we can do is speculate and have opinions – nobody really knows how the Court will rule). They all take the position that the court is likely to rule in favor of the ACA and the individual mandate, or at least that the reports saying that the mandate is doomed are greatly exaggerated.

Sage’s article also notes that the Justices seem to be well aware of the problem of adverse selection (an issue that we’ve written about numerous times – guaranteed issue without a mandate either results in significant adverse selection or exorbitant health insurance premiums and few options for coverage). This is one of the major concerns that arises if we talk about doing away with the individual mandate, so it’s good that the Supreme Court is taking it into consideration (Sage notes that the lower courts didn’t seem to do so).

Now we just have to wait three months to see who’s right.

Colorado Child-Only Open Enrollment Details For January 2012

The next open enrollment for child-only policies is almost here, so I thought it might be helpful to provide some specific details in terms of what policies are available and what parents should expect when submitting child-only applications next month.

The first open enrollment window in 2012 will be the month of January. Applications for child-only policies have to be submitted between January 1 and January 31. Application not submitted by the end of January will have to wait and re-submit in July, which is the second open-enrollment period of the year. For most carriers, each child in a family will have to have a separate application.

All eligible child-only applications submitted during the open enrollment period are guaranteed issue, so the child cannot be refused coverage. However, the applications are still medically underwritten and the rate can be increased by up to 200% based on the child’s medical history (so if the standard price is $100, the policy could actually be assigned a rate of $300, which is equal to a 200% rate increase).

Colorado Senate Bill 128 requires all Colorado health insurance carriers that offer coverage for adults to also offer child-only plans during the two annual open enrollment windows. But the bill does not require carriers to provide guaranteed issue coverage for children who are eligible for health insurance from another source (other than a high risk pool like CoverColorado or GettingUSCovered – see the bottom of page 4).

Most Colorado carriers have selected one or two plan designs that will be available for child-only applications next month. To give you an idea of what is available in Colorado for child-only coverage, we’re providing information here regarding child-only options from six of the top individual health insurance carriers in the state. […]

Access To A Mini-Med Group Plan Does Not Prevent CoverColorado Enrollment

[…] The person I spoke with at CoverColorado checked with a supervisor and then told me that mini-meds are an exception to CoverColorado’s rule banning eligibility for people who have access to group health insurance. In order to qualify, the applicant has to provide the usual proof of eligibility along with proof that their employer’s group health plan is a mini-med. This can be the declarations page from the policy or marketing materials for the plan (which now have to include language indicating that the plan has been granted a waiver by HHS and does not meet the minimum benefit requirements defined by the PPACA).

Hopefully this will clarify things for others in a similar situation. Normally, access to a group health insurance policy (even if it’s one you don’t like or your doctor isn’t on the network, etc.) makes a person ineligible for CoverColorado. But if that group plan happens to be a mini-med and you also meet the other eligibility criteria for CoverColorado, you can submit an application to CoverColorado.

Kaiser Permanente Announces Plans to Add Coverage in Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley

Yesterday, Kaiser Permanente filed for approval with the Colorado Division of Insurance to offer health care coverage in Northern Colorado beginning in late 2012. This expansion will include new Kaiser Permanente medical offices in Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley, a contracted network of community providers and an exclusive hospital agreement with Banner Health hospitals and physicians. Technically, people in Loveland zip codes can already get coverage with Kaiser, but the closest facilities are in Longmont.

We don’t know yet if this expansion will include coverage for employer group as well as individual/family plans. For example, Kaiser has coverage in Colorado Springs, but only for employer groups. Individual/family coverage for Kaiser is limited to the south Denver metro area up through […]

Kaiser Permanente Colorado Gets Top NCOA Ranking

Kaiser Permanente Colorado is the highest-rated private health insurance plan in Colorado and one of the top-ranked private health plans (#6) in the nation for clinical performance and effectiveness, as well as member satisfaction, according to new rankings by the independent, non-profit National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).
Kaiser is one of the top 10 plans in the nation in 36 of the 40 health outcome measures, recognizing high quality clinical care

Walgreens Leaving Express Scripts Network

If you’re insured through Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield or another carrier using the Express Scripts network, Walgreens will be leaving the network on January 1, 2012. Express Scripts just posted on their website:
“At Express Scripts, we’re committed to keeping your prescription drugs affordable and accessible. That’s why we negotiate cost-competitive agreements […]”
Express Scripts is sorry that Walgreens did what they did and has expressed sincere regret about the situation:
“We regret any inconvenience that Walgreens’ actions have caused you. If you have any questions, please call us at 1.877.885.3409.”

Accepting Grand Rounds Submissions

We’re honored to be hosting the next Medical Grand Rounds on October 4th, our fourth time to host! Grand Rounds is a weekly gathering of the best health and medical articles written by doctors, nurses, students, patients, and others in health care related professions.

IRS 2012 HSA Contribution Limits

The IRS announced that the contribution limit for an individual would increase by $50 in 2012, from $3,050 to $3,100. The family contribution limit is increasing from $6,150 to $6,250 (+$100).

The maximum annual out-of-pocket increased as well. The individual out of pocket maximum is going from $5,950 to $6,050. The family out of pocket maximum is increasing from $11,900 to $12,100.

The minimum deductible on an HSA qualified plan remained the same, $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for families.

For more details about HSAs and HSA qualified plans, visit our HSA page.

Facebook Poll: Will the health care reform bill (PPACA) get repealed before 2014?

Do you think health care reform will get repealed? Answer the Facebook poll here:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=question&id=10150229980216181

United HealthOne Finally Changes Initial Charge Protocol

Good news for those applying to United HealthOne:
Beginning with applications received on March 24, 2011, the processing of credit card or EFT payment will not take place until the application is approved and issued.
It’s about time. It was tough to explain to clients “and yeah, they’re going to charge you before they’ve even made a decision.”

Aetna Withdrawing from Colorado Individual Health Insurance Market

Aetna no longer offers health insurance plans for individuals, families and the self employed plans in Colorado.  Their explanation: After reviewing our portfolio of Individual health insurance plans in Colorado, we determined we can no longer meet the needs of our customers while remaining competitive in the individual health insurance market. While this decision was not […]

Cavalcade of Risk #122 Is Up

David Williams has done a great job with the latest Cavalcade of Risk. Take a minute to stop by and check it out.

United HealthOne Plans Available in Colorado on January 13th

United Health has notified us that they’re ahead of schedule and will have rates, plan descriptions and applications ready by January 13th.  Quotes and applications for United Health medical can be done here.  Quotes and applications for dental and vision can be done here.

Humana 2011 Rates Are Official

Clients in Colorado can now get quotes and apply for HumanaOne with effective dates of 1/1/2011 or later.  Remember, these will include maternity coverage as a base benefit.  Existing members with an Enhanced, Copay, HSA, or Value plan will receive these benefit changes at the time of their renewal. For clients who have an Autograph, […]

Cigna 2011 Rates Are Live

Cigna is quoting 2011 rates on their online quote tool. And our quote comparison engine is being updated right now and will be quoting Cigna soon. Click through to the article for links.

Anthem Blue Cross, Assurant, and Rocky Mountain Quoting 2011 Plans and Rates

Anyone looking to compare plans with 2011 rates can start with Anthem BCBS, Assurant, and Rocky Mountain Health Plans (get quotes here).  These will include maternity coverage. More coming this week….

Last Day To Submit Cigna and Aetna applications for 2010 rates

Make sure to get Cigna and Aetna applications in if you want 2010 rates. Cigna has specified 10pm MST as the deadline. For the online applications, click through to the post for the links[…]

Grand Rounds Submissions

We’re honored to be hosting the next Medical Grand Rounds on November 30th. Grand Rounds is a weekly gathering of the best health and medical articles written by doctors, nurses, students, patients, and others in health care related professions.

Please submit your favorite articles to Louise at louisen78 [at] gmail [dot] com before 10:00pm MST of November 29, 2010.

Please include the authors name, article title, url, and a brief description of the article.

This week, enjoy the first Grand Rounds to ever be hosted on Facebook by Amanda Brown DVM

Amendment 63 Defeated In Colorado Despite False Advertising

Three states had ballot initiatives this week that attempted to outlaw the mandate in the PPACA that requires everyone to have health insurance starting in 2014. Colorado was the only state that did not approve the measure. Voters in Colorado defeated Amendment 63, which would have made it illegal for the state of Colorado to force people to buy health insurance. Even if it had been approved by voters, it would have been a symbolic measure, as the mandate requiring all of us to have health insurance coverage as of 2014 is a federal law, and thus supersedes state laws. […]

IMG Europe Wins Award

IMG Europe just won Best International PMI Provider at the Health Insurance Awards 2010. IMG Europe is a subsidiary of International Medical Group Inc. – one of the most popular travel insurance benefits providers […]