The following will not affect you if you are on an Arizona Blue Cross group employer plan, an Arizona Blue Cross Medicare plan or a grandfathered plan…
Arizona Blue Cross cancelling policies in Maricopa and Pinal counties…
Today is Wednesday, June 29 and I have just received a notice from Mike Tilton, the Vice President of Sales at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. He has told me that, for 2017, Blue Cross will NOT sell plans to individuals living in either Maricopa or Pinal county. He claims they will continue to sell plans in 13 of Arizona’s 15 counties, but not to anyone living in Maricopa county or Pinal county.
And EVEN WORSE, Blue Cross will be contacting you if you live ANYWHERE in Maricopa or Pinal county to tell you your Blue Cross health insurance policy will be cancelled on December 31, 2016. You will be forced to find another health insurance company, and you will have very few options for a new choice. In Maricopa county, your only real choices will be Health Net and Aetna — neither United HealthCare nor Humana will offer plans to Arizona residents for the 2017 policy year.
I am quite sure that the 2017 renewal rates for existing Arizona Blue Cross customers residing in any of the remaining Arizona counties will skyrocket. They have asked the Arizona Department of Insurance Commissioner for a very high renewal rate – I heard it was more than 50%. I am quite confident I know the reasons for all of these extreme Blue Cross changes and I truthfully cannot fault Blue Cross for taking these drastic steps:
I have been marketing health insurance plans in Arizona since 1988 and until ObamaCare became the law, I was only able to secure a health insurance plan for one of every four people that contacted me. Three of the four people had some sort of pre-existing condition that made every health insurance company turn them down for a policy. Since ObamaCare has removed the pre-existing conditions blockade, everyone that wants (and can afford) a policy wanted to go with what was perceived to be the best health insurance company in Arizona, and in my opinion, that was Blue Cross. So Blue Cross has enrolled more sick people than any other health insurance company offering plans in Arizona. At the end of 2016, ObamaCare will be three years old — in those three short years, Arizona Blue Cross has lost around $300,000,000. That’s three hundred million dollars. No company can take losses like that and continue in business — Blue Cross is doing what they think will mitigate those losses. Let’s hope it works.
Call me from anywhere in Arizona at (800) 600-9663, ext 11. I’ll give you more information, and help you make the smartest choice for the 2017 policy year. You’ll probably get my voicemail because I’m constantly on the phone. If you leave me a message, I’ll call you back as soon as I can.
President, Lehrman Group