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Old 11-27-2013, 01:31 PM   #161
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Same here -- in the letter I received today, they recognized and reused my existing member ID from the temporary policy I have through the end of the year, but nothing shows about future coverage starting on January 1. And I probably need to call them to figure out where I need to pay...
Yeah, better call if they hadn't specified how to pay yet. I thought you would get a bill with that first letter if you hadn't already made other arrangements.
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Old 11-27-2013, 01:59 PM   #162
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Yeah, better call if they hadn't specified how to pay yet. I thought you would get a bill with that first letter if you hadn't already made other arrangements.
Just did call -- after 20 minutes on hold, I was told that the billing and payment options for plans purchased through the Exchange was going to start on December 7, and I should receive the first bill in the mail and/or make a telephone or online payment after that date.
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Old 11-27-2013, 02:58 PM   #163
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Just did call -- after 20 minutes on hold, I was told that the billing and payment options for plans purchased through the Exchange was going to start on December 7, and I should receive the first bill in the mail and/or make a telephone or online payment after that date.
Clear enough.
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Old 11-27-2013, 08:38 PM   #164
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I got an email today from the Texas Health Insurance (Risk) pool that the Texas Insurance Commissioner has decided to extend the risk pool insurance until March 31, 2014 to those who qualify.

Since I just got accepted on a new insurance plan effective 1/1/2014 with no limitations due to pre-existing conditions, I don't think I qualify anymore. Just as well ($$).

I think there were Fed funds available to help states transfer their risk pools provided they shut them down by 12/31/2013. I suspect states were given another 3 months extension? Otherwise I don't think TX would have done this.

This means folks on the TX risk pool have another 3 months to sign up if they haven't already.

This apparently went down last Friday. Ironically, I had submitted my application and been accepted last Thursday.
Commissioner extends Texas’ high-risk insurance pool
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Old 11-30-2013, 09:21 AM   #165
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I guess an assumption making these cost estimate decisions is that the doctor network are the same between a plan's Bronze and Platinum variations. I assume the difference between the two are the premium, out of pocket, and deductible structure with no difference in the doctor/hospital networks. Has anyone have any experience to confirm or deny this. Of course the answer to this might be on a plan and plan basis but my assumption is that given the same insurance plan, the networks for the Bronze and Platinum variations are the same.
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Old 11-30-2013, 10:13 AM   #166
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I guess an assumption making these cost estimate decisions is that the doctor network are the same between a plan's Bronze and Platinum variations. I assume the difference between the two are the premium, out of pocket, and deductible structure with no difference in the doctor/hospital networks. Has anyone have any experience to confirm or deny this. Of course the answer to this might be on a plan and plan basis but my assumption is that given the same insurance plan, the networks for the Bronze and Platinum variations are the same.
I asked BCBS TX this specific question and for the PPO the network is the same across all metal plans.

But I think that varies by state and insurance company.
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Old 11-30-2013, 12:58 PM   #167
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I guess an assumption making these cost estimate decisions is that the doctor network are the same between a plan's Bronze and Platinum variations. I assume the difference between the two are the premium, out of pocket, and deductible structure with no difference in the doctor/hospital networks. Has anyone have any experience to confirm or deny this. Of course the answer to this might be on a plan and plan basis but my assumption is that given the same insurance plan, the networks for the Bronze and Platinum variations are the same.
As Audrey said above me, at least for BCBS TX (the only Exchange participant in my county), all the "metals" have the same network in the PPO plans; the difference is in deductibles and OOPM.

There *is* a difference between the HMO network and the somewhat larger PPO network, but within the same kind of plan (HMO or PPO), at least here there is no difference in the network because of the type of "metal".
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Old 12-01-2013, 11:58 AM   #168
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So the formulas seem to work OK in Excel?

I had no way to test it.
I used your spreadsheet in Google Docs and it seems to be working OK. We're not on ACA. I used this to compare my wife's HSA and PPO plans for open enrollment at her work. A few minor tweaks, but it seems to work well.

Thank you!

This saved us a lot of time.
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Old 12-01-2013, 12:51 PM   #169
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I used your spreadsheet in Google Docs and it seems to be working OK. We're not on ACA. I used this to compare my wife's HSA and PPO plans for open enrollment at her work. A few minor tweaks, but it seems to work well.

Thank you!

This saved us a lot of time.
You're welcome!

I didn't subtract the tax savings from HSA in my analysis - considering that "gravy" over and above the premium savings if I chose to open an HSA account. So you might want to be sure to carefully look at before and after-tax savings with the HSA.
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Old 12-01-2013, 01:06 PM   #170
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You're welcome!

I didn't subtract the tax savings from HSA in my analysis - considering that "gravy" over and above the premium savings if I chose to open an HSA account. So you might want to be sure to carefully look at before and after-tax savings with the HSA.
I noticed that part. I also had to adjust the tax savings amount to exclude the $1000 catch-up, since she's not 55 yet. The other piece I had to adjust was the yearly employer contribution to the HSA. I did this by a quick and dirty update to the monthly premium, which made the monthly premium a negative number. After making this change, everything still looks correct.

At first I wasn't sure the HSA was a better deal, but after putting in the numbers it's a clear winner. It ends up cheaper until $15k in medical expenses and the worst case - up to Max OOP - we end up paying $852. The HSA tax savings gives us $832. I think we can swing the extra $20 if that ever happens (hopefully not!).
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:13 PM   #171
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On billing:

(you can skip to the last 2 paragraphs of this post and avoid the preamble)

For my new policy I had funds withdrawn on 11/25 for my first payment due - yay! At least that much had worked.

Then, last week (in Dec) - I got a bill (invoice) for the same amount due on 1/1/14. The invoice date was 12/12/14 which was odd. They gave a web address on the invoice for paying on-line. I went to that site, which is the regular bcbstx.com/member site - and there was absolutely nothing about paying the bill. I figured I would call billing once my previous insurance bill had been processed.

Well, now there is no use in calling BCBS, as there is no streamline for talking to the billing department. Their wait time is currently over an hour just like everything else.

Fortunately, I logged in and checked the member website again, and VOILA! a "Payments & Billing Tab" appeared, and in there was my invoice, and also credit for the 11/25/13 withdrawal saying my current balance is $0. As well as a way to make payments via bank draft.

My husband, who did not get an invoice for some reason, nor had an initial payment drafted, is able to now see his bill via that web site and pay it. I've been waiting for his bill too and wondering about the delay since he was only a couple of days behind me in signing up.
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Old 12-12-2013, 05:00 PM   #172
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I got an invoice today for the amount due on 1/1/14.

But when I applied I had signed up for automatic withdrawal.

So, if all goes well, my expectation is that come around 1/1 the automatic payments should stop from my old bcbs policy and get pulled for my new bcbs policy. If that isn't the case, I expect to be on the phone with bcbs

The invoice I received is a bit misleading as that doesn't say anything about if one has signed up for automatic payments.
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Old 12-12-2013, 05:46 PM   #173
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I got an invoice today for the amount due on 1/1/14.

But when I applied I had signed up for automatic withdrawal.

So, if all goes well, my expectation is that come around 1/1 the automatic payments should stop from my old bcbs policy and get pulled for my new bcbs policy. If that isn't the case, I expect to be on the phone with bcbs

The invoice I received is a bit misleading as that doesn't say anything about if one has signed up for automatic payments.
Yes, that is frustrating - to get an invoice asking for payment when one has signed up for automatic bank draft.

I would understand it if they said on the invoice that it would be drafted automatically. That would be a nice confirmation - especially if they said WHEN it would be drafted.

We're hoping too!

BTW - my husband DID finally get an invoice in the mail yesterday.

He tried to go ahead and pay it online yesterday, but the system wouldn't let him. After he entered the bank info, he got the message "Premium could not be submitted". Our guess is that the system knows the bill will be automatically drafted, so it won't allow it to be paid on-line.

It sure would be nice to be told that though! And to know when it will be drafted.
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Old 12-12-2013, 06:29 PM   #174
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Yes, that is frustrating - to get an invoice asking for payment when one has signed up for automatic bank draft.

I would understand it if they said on the invoice that it would be drafted automatically. That would be a nice confirmation - especially if they said WHEN it would be drafted.

We're hoping too!

BTW - my husband DID finally get an invoice in the mail yesterday.

He tried to go ahead and pay it online yesterday, but the system wouldn't let him. After he entered the bank info, he got the message "Premium could not be submitted". Our guess is that the system knows the bill will be automatically drafted, so it won't allow it to be paid on-line.

It sure would be nice to be told that though! And to know when it will be drafted.
Yes. It's quite confusing. Like you said, it would have been nice if there was a note saying something like "you are signed up for automatic withdrawal."
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Old 12-25-2013, 01:27 PM   #175
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I get 3 letters from BCBS yesterday. One was just about their privacy, so I barely skimmed that. The other was notifying me that since I signed up for automatic payment on the new insurance effective 1/1, that the first payment is scheduled for pulling from my checkbook tomorrow, 12/26. So, I guess the wheels are turning. The other letter, was a reminder that my old policy's rates are going up starting in Feb. Now I just hope BCBS doesn't double dip from my checking account to pay for both new and old as the old policy should be gone by 1/1.
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Old 12-25-2013, 01:38 PM   #176
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I received a paper invoice to be paid by cheque or cc. I waited in queue for 30 minutes to give cc info. The gal said next month just go to mybluekc and set up automatic payments. Tried that, since I don't have a bill outstanding, the options to pay are not available yet. Oh well, I hope the worst is past.
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Old 12-25-2013, 03:55 PM   #177
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I get 3 letters from BCBS yesterday. One was just about their privacy, so I barely skimmed that. The other was notifying me that since I signed up for automatic payment on the new insurance effective 1/1, that the first payment is scheduled for pulling from my checkbook tomorrow, 12/26. So, I guess the wheels are turning. The other letter, was a reminder that my old policy's rates are going up starting in Feb. Now I just hope BCBS doesn't double dip from my checking account to pay for both new and old as the old policy should be gone by 1/1.
Interesting - I got drafted in November shortly after submitting my ap. My husband hadn't been drafted by 12/16, so since we couldn't talk to a person or pay online (we tried by it wouldn't accept), we paid the invoice. That check has already cleared so we are both paid up through 2/1/14.

We're going to call Friday to make sure there isn't double billing. They have a temporary billing phone number now, so maybe we can talk to a human without waiting too long.
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Old 01-03-2014, 01:21 PM   #178
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I'm now on hold with BCBS for 20 minutes and counting having to talk to them about my old policy which should have been terminated and no longer having automatic payments pulled
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Old 01-03-2014, 03:28 PM   #179
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Well, after waiting about 2 hrs...finally got a hold of a person on the other line.

The person had to cancel to old policy (even though on a previous call I had asked directly if the policy would get cancelled automatically and got an answer of YES).
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Old 06-03-2014, 07:00 PM   #180
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This is my analysis exported to Excel format - hopefully the formulas transfer OK. Originally done in Numbers.
Thanks so much for posting this. We are looking at health plans now as our employer coverage is coming to an end and this sheet saved us a bunch of time from mocking up our own.

I did double check it in excel and the formulas all seem to be ok. However I do see why people complain that spreadsheets are much more error prone than regular software.
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