Managing Change
In Your Healthcare

Featured Questions

Why are my premiums going up?

Many people will likely see their rates go up a bit. The challenge comes from the fact that insurance companies must take all customers, no matter their health condition. It costs more to cover people with pre-existing conditions. That's why rates will go up for just about everyone.

Plus, the new law says all plans must include a minimum amount of coverage, called essential health benefits. That means we will add to all plans such things as: ER services, maternity care, mental health, lab services, pediatric care and vision services. Most plans will see this coverage added starting in 2014. More benefits add to the cost of a plan. Grandfathered plans will stay the same, though their rates may still change because of new rating rules.

Do I have other options?

Yes! Here’s what you can do:

  • Call a Blue Cross agent for assistance. Our agents can also help you buy insurance on the online Health Insurance Marketplace when it opens October 1st.
  • You may be able to get a subsidy from the government that would help you pay for your insurance coverage. Check out our subsidy calculator to get an idea on whether you qualify.
  • You may be able to find another plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace when it opens October 1st.

How do I know Blue Cross isn’t just using healthcare reform as an excuse to raise my premiums?

We don’t have "profits." We are owned by our policyholders – not stockholders. We also spend at least 85 cents of every dollar to pay our members’ healthcare bills. Here is how we spend your money:

Our reserves help us pay hospitals in advance to stay open and serve our customers in cases of emergency, such as hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Our reserves also allow us to go without premium from some of our hardest-hit customers in times of disaster and still pay claims.

How do I know if I can get a subsidy to help pay my premiums?

When you apply for insurance on the Health Insurance Marketplace, you will enter your personal information and income. Then the site will let you know if you qualify for a subsidy. If you do qualify, the site will tell you how much you can get.

What are the main reform changes in 2014?

  • Your plan has no annual limit.
  • You can still have coverage if you have a pre-existing condition.
  • You must have insurance.
    • Depending on your annual income, you may qualify for government assistance.
  • You can buy online at www.bcbsla.com, or the government's Health Insurance Marketplace.

When will the exchange or marketplace open?

Individuals and small businesses can shop for insurance on the online Health Insurance Marketplaces starting October 1, 2013. The policies will not go into effect until January 1, 2014.

I still don’t understand all of this. Where can I get more information?

You can get more information at healthcare.gov, a U.S. Government website that explains more details about healthcare reform and the marketplace.

Why Is This Happening?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will make it easier for millions of people in the U.S. to get health insurance coverage. The law also adds new benefits for most people with insurance. All of this comes at a cost. In short, health insurance premiums, or monthly payments, are going up because of:

New taxes and fees

To help pay for healthcare reform, the government created eight new taxes and fees.

New benefits and new costs

All health insurance must include a thorough set of benefits. If you’ve had a value plan or a plan with a very high deductible, you may no longer be able to keep your plan by law.

New ways to decide premiums

In the past, insurance companies could give lower premiums to people with low health risks. Now, by law, we can only set rates by where a person lives, how old they are and whether they use tobacco.

What Are My Options?

For some people, health insurance will cost less. For many, it will cost more. If your monthly payments are going up, you have a few options to consider:

Am I eligible for a subsidy?

The chart below can help you find out if you qualify for a subsidy.

Household size is the number of people living in your house.

Household income is the total income your family makes in a year. If you make $40,000 and your spouse makes $20,000 in a household of 2, then your household income range is $60,000.
Household Size Household Income Range
1 $15,282 - $45,960
2 $20,628 - $62,040
3 $25,975 - $78,120
4 $31,322 - $94,200
5 $36,668 - $110,280
6 $42,015 - $126,360
7 $47,361 - $142,440
8 $52,708 - $158,520
Each additional
person
+$5,347 - $16,080

Use this tool to see if you'll qualify for a break on your health insurance premiums. This tool will give you a good idea about whether you can expect a subsidy, but is not official. Only the government can tell you if you officially qualify through the Health Insurance Marketplace beginning October 1, 2013.

You can change your annual renewal date.

You can change your annual renewal date to December. This way, you can keep your current plan for another calendar year. You may see a slight bump in premiums of around 5%, but it will be lower than if you moved to a new, government-approved plan. Contact an authorized Blue Cross agent for help at 1-800-392-4087; or download our annual renewal date change form and e-mail it to us at datechange@bcbsla.com.

You might be eligible for a break on your premiums starting next year.

Under the law, some customers will be eligible for a break on their insurance premiums starting in 2014. You might be able to get one of these tax credits that lowers your insurance premium right away. Use the chart on the right to see if you’re eligible, and then visit us at www.bcbsla.com/subsidy.

You can explore new plan options.

Even if you don’t get a break on your premiums, we may find another plan that gives you the full set of benefits required by law, but at a better price. Call an authorized Blue Cross agent to see if there are more cost-effective plans that may fit your needs at 1-800-392-4087.

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How can we help?

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1-800-392-4087