Column 15: Rollout of Covered California

Yes, this is the big week, roll out of Covered California, our state's newest health insurance marketplace.  What do we know at the time of my deadline?

First, Covered California is one of many places you can buy insurance.  Commercial products will continue to be available direct from insurance companies.  As of this writing the regulators have not approved new benefits for many of the commercial carriers' 2014 plans. Technically, they haven't approved the rates being offered in the Exchange either.   That is why we agents are currently unable to compare Commercial and Exchange plans. I cannot stress enough how important it is to look at the provider networks when they are actually released. Since the Blue Shield product is an EPO, Exclusive Provider Organization plan, that means that should you receive care at a Non- Participating provider you will receive NO benefits.

If you are insured by Anthem, you may recall last year when Anthem sent letters about new rates and the state came back and said they were not acceptable. All new information had to be sent out.  It was a lot of fun for all of us.  The insurance companies are not going to jump the gun and publish information without final approval.  We are told it should come in the next two weeks.

"Soon to be" certified agents just received our contracts on Tuesday.  We are still waiting for our writing numbers and materials to actually enroll folks in the plans.  As I understand it many Certified  Enrollment Counselors are in the same situation and they aren't ready to enroll.  So we are all in a bit of a holding pattern.  Current access is mostly limited to the website: www.coveredca.com.

I don't think that is all bad.  I am not sure I want to be the "beta tester" for the system.  I am hoping a few kinks will be worked out before we meet with our clients.

When the time comes, agents will need something new when writing a Covered California products.  You will have to provide ID as follows before we can start the application.  The proof of identity must have a photograph of the individual or other identifying information about the individual - such as name, age, sex, height, weight, eye color, or address. The following are acceptable:

 

 Driver's license issued by state or territory

 Identification card issued by the federal, state, or local government, including a U.S. passport

 Native American Tribal document

 School identification card

 U.S. military card or draft record

 Military dependent's identification card

 U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner card

 

If an individual cannot show one of the documents listed above, they must show two other forms of identification.

 

 

In the interim, should you decide to go it alone and enroll at Coveredca.com, we were given some tips about user ID's when you are online.

·         User IDs must be at least eight (8) characters, alpha-numeric and not case-sensitive.

·         If you forget your password, you may reset it, by correctly answering the security questions you selected and answered.

·         You may be prompted to enter six (6) characters when resetting passwords. However, passwords less than eight (8) characters are not accepted by the system. Passwords must be alpha-numeric with one alpha character, one numeric character, and no special characters. Passwords are case-sensitive.

·         If you are locked out of your account due to entering an incorrect password, forgot your user name or any other reason, wait 15 minutes and try again. If your account is still locked, call the Covered California Service Center at 1 (800) 300-1506 for assistance.

 

Covered Shasta is a group of local stakeholders that are working to coordinate outreach efforts in our area.  At present they are discussing doing some enrollment events where individuals could come to a common location and meet with a Counselor or a licensed insurance agent and possibly actually enroll at the site.  Target dates are November and January.  You can learn more about the group at www.coveredshasta.com.