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Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
Old 07-05-2012, 07:27 PM   #1
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Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield

Anybody have Anthem BC/BS and get a letter entailing a "Deductible Credit Program". You are automatically enrolled IF you have a $2500 ($3000 or higher for Lumenous plan) or higher deductible and is targeted at healthy people who rarely meet deductible and people who pay a higher deductible. They notified me that if you stay under your deductible for the year, they will credit an account they have set up for me for 20% of my deductible. I have a $5500 deductible. So if I stay under my deductible I will get credited $1100 into a special account and will accumulate until you max out at 50% of your deductible ($2750). Once you hit a year where you use at least 80% of your deductible, they will cut you a check for you to use as you please and the process starts over. Here are my questions.
1. I only pay $76 a month, they raised it $4 today in the letter , since I never use the plan, I am going to pay them $912 a year, and they are going to put $1100 in a special medical account. That doesn't sound too profitable for them to me.
2. Why would they implement such a program?
3. They used 2015 and 2016 as examples for this use, so does mean there will be higher deductibles available after Obamacare kicks in? It seems counter intuitive to me that they are incentivizing people to take higher deductibles while the health care act I thought was discouraging them. Any thoughts from anyone? This seems to benefit me a lot, as not only will I possibly snag the special account money for a claim, I get a nice tax deduction from my HSA, also. But, I am wondering why this is being rolled out at this time.
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:31 PM   #2
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I also have the Lumenos plan ($5,100 deductible, in MO, pay $50.51/mo, age 35). but didn't get anything in the mail yet.

I'm guessing they are simply creating the newest rewards/rebate program to create a financial disincentive for leaving to buy another company's plan (seems like every other industry has instituted some form of rewards points).

Also, remember that (I believe) the new law requires insurers to spend something like 85% of premiums collected on patient care for group plans (something like 80% for individual). Perhaps they're using this 'account credit' as counting towards money earmarked/'spent' on patient healthcare....if people discontinue their policy, they'll figure out how to reallocate the funds in some other way.

Or perhaps they are also thinking a certain % of healthy people (likely to have HDHPs) may just bite the bullet and drop the insurance policy, go uninsured, and then just buy a policy later on if they need it if you're guaranteed to not be turned down? And this is their way of helping reduce some of that exodus?

Another factor could simply be a desire to try and drive people to higher deductibles (like you postulated)...and if it looks like people are doing that, Anthem could decide to be not-so-competitive on some of those high deductible policies....because, afterall, would you switch insurers to save $50/year on a $5,000 or $10,000 deductible policy if it means losing a $3,000 credit if you file a big claim? Build up just a small credit of $1,000, and it would take 40 years at savings of $50/year to justify the switch to another insurer (because, odds are, at least one time over the next 40 years you'll have a high medical claim for SOMETHING).

Also, I wonder what the fine print is on this 'credit' - if you have a $10,000 deductible for 3 years, max out your credit at $5,000, can you then lower your deductible to a $5,000 policy? Or does that then reduce the value of your credit? (i.e. is the max usable value of your credit always the lesser of the value accumulated in the account, or 50% of whatever your current deductible policy is?)
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MooreBonds
I also have the Lumenos plan ($5,100 deductible, in MO, pay $50.51/mo, age 35). but didn't get anything in the mail yet.

I'm guessing they are simply creating the newest rewards/rebate program to create a financial disincentive for leaving to buy another company's plan (seems like every other industry has instituted some form of rewards points).

Also, remember that (I believe) the new law requires insurers to spend something like 85% of premiums collected on patient care for group plans (something like 80% for individual). Perhaps they're using this 'account credit' as counting towards money earmarked/'spent' on patient healthcare....if people discontinue their policy, they'll figure out how to reallocate the funds in some other way.

Or perhaps they are also thinking a certain % of healthy people (likely to have HDHPs) may just bite the bullet and drop the insurance policy, go uninsured, and then just buy a policy later on if they need it if you're guaranteed to not be turned down? And this is their way of helping reduce some of that exodus?

Another factor could simply be a desire to try and drive people to higher deductibles (like you postulated)...and if it looks like people are doing that, Anthem could decide to be not-so-competitive on some of those high deductible policies....because, afterall, would you switch insurers to save $50/year on a $5,000 or $10,000 deductible policy if it means losing a $3,000 credit if you file a big claim? Build up just a small credit of $1,000, and it would take 40 years at savings of $50/year to justify the switch to another insurer (because, odds are, at least one time over the next 40 years you'll have a high medical claim for SOMETHING).

Also, I wonder what the fine print is on this 'credit' - if you have a $10,000 deductible for 3 years, max out your credit at $5,000, can you then lower your deductible to a $5,000 policy? Or does that then reduce the value of your credit? (i.e. is the max usable value of your credit always the lesser of the value accumulated in the account, or 50% of whatever your current deductible policy is?)
I bet you get it in the mail soon, too then, hopefully without the raise notice like I got, but $4 in two years isn't so bad.. Reading it closer it appears directed only to individual plans as it says "program for individual customers". Here are the qualifiers: 1) $2500 or higher deductible or $3000 or higher Lumenos HSA 2) be enrolled in the plan for 3 months or more with the same or higher deductible 3) have not met deductible during last calendar year 4) have not had a policy cancelled due to late premium payment or coverage interrupted for other reasons. Says if you qualify you don't have to do anything to join. They will notify you and open your special incentive account. Looks like rule #2 would eliminate your good idea to drop down coverage deductible with the big incentive check. Your captive customer thought sounds very logical, plus maybe they think it will incentivize the frequent medical customers to not go as often, too. I would certainly be hesitant to switch carriers if I have $2500 sitting there to help pay for a medical procedure.
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Old 07-05-2012, 10:14 PM   #4
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Certainly no authority here but the PPACA that the SCOTUS recently upheld limits insurers selling individual policies to a 20% profit and they must give back the rest in a check, debit card, premium credit, or a few other ways so this might be part of it. This year they have over a billion dollars to return to individual policy holders and now they have to do it as it has to be done by August or September for last year.
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Old 07-06-2012, 06:03 AM   #5
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It really amounts to a 20% reduction in your deductible for the same cost but you loan them the reduction until years later when you finally have enough medical costs to trigger payments from them. If it works to incentivise you to avoid going over your deductible it could save them money.
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