Most Covered California plans will be more expensive next year, up 12.5 percent on average in
--Health Net, whose enrollee numbers have dwindled to 570, will lower rates 10 percent.
The increases come on top of 2017 increases that averaged 28.6 percent in
"Change is the new normal," veteran
Only two people from
Local residents checking the rate book must look for Region 9, where
In late August, premiums could go up another 12.4 percent on average for silver plans if Covered California deems that is necessary to address uncertainty over federal funding that reduces deductibles and co-pay for 650,000 Californians. A silver plan covers 70 percent of the annual health care cost, with a
This year, 58 percent of those who signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act qualified for these cost reductions, but these subsidies were the subject of a lawsuit by
A federal judge ruled in 2016 to end the subsidies, but the Obama administration appealed. If the Trump administration dropped the appeal and
"They're not a player in our area," said Fugitt-Hetrick said of
"That made it extremely unattractive," she said.
Neither was she surprised Kaiser got 17 percent of Covered California enrollment so quickly.
"Kaiser held down the rates," she said. "All the healthy people went there. People who have a relationship with a doctor or a chronic disease are more likely to pay hundreds of dollars to stay (with their doctor)."
As a health maintenance organization, Kaiser does not cover out-of-network care, which cuts costs, and in the county, Kaiser provides hospital care at one location,
"It's like they've left without leaving (the market)," said Fugitt-Hetrick.
She recommended people read up and make a choice between
If that plan is not a fit for you, and you pick another, the deductible you've paid does not roll over and that money is gone, she added.
At Tuesday's Covered California seminar, agents were asked how the program could improve.
Fugitt-Hetrick was pleased a software update allows agents working at an agency to follow up on clients who call and have forgotten their agent's name.
However, she said, another software update asking details on income source is problematic for people with more than one job, sending people to
REGION 9 RATE CHANGES
Insurer 2018 rate Surcharge
Blue Shield PPO Up 10-23% 8%
Blue Shield HMO Up 8-24% 8%
Kaiser HMO Up 3-7% 15%
Health Net EPO Down 10% 13%
Source: Covered California
Blue Shield PPO: 6,010
Kaiser HMO: 4,700
Health Net EPO: 570
Source: Covered California
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