Monthly Archives:September 2014

2015 Health Insurance Shopping Tips

29 Sep , 2014,
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2015 Health Insurance Shopping Tips

With the upcoming health insurance open enrollment starting on November 15, 2015, it is important that everyone take some basic steps to ensure that they make an informed decision on their health insurance plan for 2015.

South Carolina Platinum Plan

Many things have changed since the last open enrollment, new plans, new pricing, new networks, and don’t forget, the penalty for not buying coverage in 2015 will increase to 2% of your income! At the end of this article we have presented a variety of helpful links for those of you who wish to do your own research. With that said, let’s take a look at we have assembled as our list of  2015 Health Insurance shopping tips for South Carolina residents:

1. GET HELP – Navigators, Health Insurance Agents, & Certified Application Counselors can all help you complete your health insurance enrollment for 2015. Of course, as an independent agent, I am biased towards recommending EVERYONE use an agent. Agents are licensed by their respective state, and are the only assisters that are legally allowed to discuss, compare, and give advice on health insurance plans. Agents are also available year round to help you navigate changes in circumstances which may affect your health plan eligibility. Of course, enrollment assistance is always FREE. It is illegal for anyone to charge you a fee for enrollment assistance. /insurance companies are not allowed to charge you more for enrolling thru an agent or navigator!

2. BE PREPARED – BASIC INFORMATION – You can get enrolled faster if you have all necessary personal information handy when you start shopping. Household income information, Social security numbers, dates of birth and full legal names of everyone applying is a MUST! Having reasonable estimation of your household income will help your agent or assister determine if you may qualify for a tax credit.

3. BE PREPARED – PRESCRIPTION INFORMATION – All health insurance plans have a formulary of covered drugs. A formulary is simply a list that states which drugs are covered, and what coverage tier each drug falls under.

2015 Health Plan shopping tips

Have Rx info handy when preparing to enroll!

Having a list of your prescriptions handy when enrolling can be helpful when shopping for a plan.

4. BE PREPARED – PROVIDER INFORMATION – Having a list of you or your family’s doctors, specialists and preferred hospitals on hand can be VERY helpful. When I am helping enroll someone, I always take the time to see if your providers are in network. Simply having the doctor or facility’s name is usually sufficient for me to do a quick network search. I have run across many South Carolina residents that enrolled on their own without checking networks first. Many of these people were unhappy to find out a provider or hospital they use is not in their network. As an independent agent, I can quickly help you determine which plan is right for you based on the providers you prefer!

2015 Health Insurance Shopping Tips

Avoid hassle and lost time! Use a Private Exchange to enroll in a health plan!

5. SAVE TIME – As anyone who watches the news knows, applying through www.healthcare.gov could be a tedious process during the last open enrollment. A lengthy application process, combined with technical glitches and a website burdened by high traffic loads made the 2014 enrollment process difficult for everyone. For the 2015 open enrollment period, we have a couple of new enrollment options. First are issuer based pathways, where you can apply directly from an insurance company website. The downside to this is you can only enroll in plans sold by the insurance company website you are visiting. The second option are Web Broker Entities, also commonly referred to as “Private Exchanges”. You can view our private exchange HERE. A Private Exchange has all of the functionality of healthcare.gov and lets you apply for tax credits and enroll in a plan without creating an account at healthcare.gov. The Private Exchange actually uses a secure connection to healthcare.gov to confirm tax credits and plan enrollment. We like to refer to it as the faster, more efficient  “back door” to healthcare.gov! Our private exchange system allows most people to enroll in under 10 minutes!

This concludes our 2015 health insurance shopping tips for today! Have a tip of your own or a question? Leave us a comment!


IRS releases 2015 HSA limits

24 Sep , 2014,
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The Internal Revenue Service has changed the HSA (Health Savings Account) deductible limit for 2015 from $1,250 to $1,300 for self-only coverage and from $2,500 to $2,600 for family and embedded deductible coverage. Many South Carolina health plans will change to comply with these new deductible limits in 2015. You can view the new limits by clicking here.

IRS releases new instructions for the Affordable Care Act

Sep , 2014,
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As reported by Benefitsnews, the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) has released new draft instructions, notices and a publication to help taxpayers and tax preparers deal with the premium tax credits associated with the Affordable Care Act.

The draft instructions were released last week (week of September 15, 2014) for Form 8962, “Premium Tax Credit,” and Form 8965, “Health Coverage Exemptions.” The IRS had previously released draft versions of the forms themselves, both 8962 and8965, along with draft instructions for several other draft forms for the Affordable Care Act (see IRS Gears up for Impact of Health Care Reform on Tax Season).

Need help to see if you qualify for premium tax credits? We can help!


2015 SC Health Plan Information

18 Sep , 2014,
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CLICK HERE to view all South Carolina Health Plan rates.

Last Wednesday, the South Carolina Department of Insurance released preliminary information about 2015 health insurance plans available on and off the Health Insurance Marketplace. These plans will be available for enrollment during the 2015 Open Enrollment Period which begins November 15, 2014 and ends February 15, 2015. This is exciting stuff for us health insurance geeks!

2015 SC Health Plans

Open enrollment for 2015 SC Health Plans begins November 15, 2014!

Before we get to the details of the new 2015 SC health plans, I would like to take a moment to throw in a quick advertisement for our website! To help South Carolina residents get enrolled during the upcoming open enrollment, we have teamed with a couple of software services that will allow us to get clients apply for tax credits and get enrolled in a health plan, in under 15 minutes. In fact, during the testing phase, I was able to complete an application for myself in about 3 minutes. Yes, 3 minutes. Last year, it was commonplace for an enrollment to take up to an hour or more. Personally, the fastest enrollment I witnessed was about 18 minutes. We really believe our new private enrollment exchanges will bring great value to our clients for the upcoming enrollment season, as we realize that YOUR time is valuable!

According to the South Carolina Department of Insurance, 5 insurance carriers have applied to offer Qualified Health Insurance Plans (QHPs) on the Health Insurance Marketplace. Below is a listing of all 5 companies offering health plans on the exchange:

BlueChoice HealthPlan

Availability All South Carolina Counties 1 (800) 868-2528
Plan Type(s) EPOs www.bluechoicesc.com
Metal Level(s) Catastrophic, Bronze, Silver, Gold I-20 East at Alpine Road
Network Name(s) Blue Option Network Columbia, SC 29219
Network Directory http://www.bluechoicesc.com/doctorhospitalfinder.aspx

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina

Availability All South Carolina Counties 1 (855) 404-6752
Plan Type(s) EPOs www.southcarolinablues.com
Metal Level(s) Catastrophic, Bronze, Silver, Gold I-20 East at Alpine Road
Network Name(s) BlueEssentials Network Columbia, SC 29219
Network Directory https://www.southcarolinablues.com/links/metallic/providerdirectory

Consumers’ Choice Health Plan

Availability All South Carolina Counties 1 (800) 580-8736
Plan Type(s) EPOs www.cchpsc.org
Metal Level(s) Catastrophic, Bronze, Silver, Gold 4995 Lacross Road
Network Name(s) SC On Exchange or SC Off Exchange* North Charleston, SC 29406
Network Directory http://www.cchpsc.org

Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas
1 (855) 586-6960
Plan Type(s) HMOs or POSchccarolinas.coventryhealthcare.com

Metal Level(s) Catastrophic, Bronze, Silver, Gold 2801 Slater Road, Suite 200

Network Name(s) CoventryOne POS Morrisville, NC 27560
Carelink Carolinas HealthCare System (Tier 1/ Tier 2)
Carelink Midlands (Tier 1/ Tier 2)
Carelink Regional HealthPlus (Tier 1/ Tier 2)
Carelink Roper St Francis (Tier 1/ Tier 2)
Carelink Upstate (Tier 1/ Tier 2),
Network Directory http://sc.coventryproviders.com2 of 2 Rev. 09/2014
Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas (con’t)
CoventryOne plans will be available in the following South Carolina counties: Anderson*, Beaufort*, Berkeley,
Calhoun, Charleston, Cherokee*, Chester*, Chesterfield*, Colleton*, Darlington*, Dorchester, Fairfield,
Florence, Greenville, Kershaw, Lancaster, Lee*, Lexington, Marion*, Marlboro*, Newberry, Orangeburg,
Pickens*, Richland, Spartanburg, Sumter, Union* and York.

Time Insurance Company
Marketed as Assurant Health 1 (800) 545-9917
Availability All South Carolina Counties www.assuranthealth.com
Plan Type(s) PPOs 501 West Michigan Street
Metal Level(s) Catastrophic*, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum Milwaukee, WI 53203
Network Name(s) Network Savings 1 or Network Savings 3*
Network Directory assuranthealth.com/networksavings1 or assuranthealth.com/networksavings3


So what does this mean to you, the South Carolina resident? First, the addition of Time/Assurant means more 2015 SC health plan choices for the new year. In addition, we have been advised that Assurant will be using the Aetna Signature PPO network for health insurance plans sold on the exchange. Although we expect Assurant 2015 SC health plans to be somewhat more expensive than their EPO and HMO counterparts, we a excited to finally have a broad, nationwide PPO plan available for purchase on the South Carolina Health Insurance Exchange!  In addition, we are expecting a major network announcement in the near future from another insurer on the South Carolina Health Insurance Exchange. Stay tuned for details on 2015 SC health plans!