Last week I explained how early renewal at the end of 2013 might be a good option for some people who have individual health insurance. If you’re happy with your coverage and aren’t going to qualify for a subsidy in the Colorado exchange, keeping your existing plan for most of 2014 might be a good way to save some money on premiums. This is especially true for people who prefer very high deductibles, as those plans are generally not ACA compliant and thus will not be available for purchase after the end of 2013. But if your carrier allows it, you can keep your current policy until it renews in 2014, and switch to an ACA compliant plan at that time. For people with plans that renew late in the year, this could mean keeping a lower-cost, higher deductible policy for most of 2014. If you’ll be eligible for a premium subsidy, it’s definitely worth your time to compare a subsidized exchange plan with what you have now. But if you’re happy with your coverage and you’re going to be paying full price for an ACA compliant plan, check with your carrier to see about keeping your current plan in 2014.
Keep in mind that each Colorado health insurance carrier is doing things a little differently in terms of 2013 renewals heading into 2014. It’s important to check with your carrier to make sure you’re aware of what steps you need to take – don’t assume that your plan will automatically renew – or automatically not renew. The Colorado Division of Insurance has left a lot of leeway for carriers to determine their own protocol for renewals going into 2014. There is no state requirement that existing policies be cancelled as of the end of 2013, although some carriers have opted for that as a default. All plans must be ACA-compliant by January 1, 2015. So when your policy renews in 2014, you will have to transition to an ACA compliant plan. But the date of that renewal can be anytime from January to December.
Here’s a brief summary of what we have heard so far from some of the main carriers in Colorado. This is subject to change, so check with us or your carrier before you make a decision.
Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield: The default is for your plan to just keep its current renewal date and continue unchanged until that date in 2014. But Anthem is also offering insureds an option to renew early in December 2013, and keep their existing policy until December 2014. If you do nothing, your policy will renew in 2014 at the same time that it has always renewed.
Cigna: The default is for an early renewal in December (with a prorated rate increase depending on how long it has been since your 2013 renewal), which would allow insureds to keep their plan until December 2014. But insureds will also have an option to maintain their existing renewal date and just keep their plan until its regular renewal date in 2014. If you do nothing, your plan will transition to a December effective date.
Humana: All members with individual policies must contact Humana before the end of the year, as the default is for existing plans to be terminated as of December 31, 2013 (members would then have to enroll in a new plan during open enrollment, which continues through March 31, 2014). If you don’t want your Humana policy to be terminated at the end of this year, you have an option to change your renewal date to December 31, 2013 and your plan will remain in force until December 31, 2014. Humana will also allow members to switch to an ACA-compliant Humana plan as of January 1, 2014. Both of these options require the insured to contact Humana in order to avoid having the existing policy terminated at the end of 2013.
Kaiser Permanente: All individual plans that Kaiser offers are ending as of January 1, 2014. If you wish to keep a Kaiser plan, you will be transitioning to an ACA-compliant plan as of January 1, 2014.
Rocky Mountain Health Plans (RMHP): All individual plans that RMHP offers will be discontinued as of December 31, 2013. Members who wish to remain with RMHP can elect a new ACA-compliant RMHP before December 15, 2013 and their new plan will be effective January 1, 2014.
United HealthOne (Golden Rule): The default is for insureds to keep the same benefits as well as avoid price increases associated with new healthcare reform benefits until December 30, 2014, or choose a health care reform plan during open enrollment this year or next. In order to switch to an ACA compliant plan in January 2014, insureds must contact Golden Rule.