Anthem Blue Cross of California announced that they will be making major changes to their small group health insurance plans effective July 1, 2009. Specifically, they will be adding 14 new plans. Beginning January 1, 2010, Anthem Blue Cross will discontinue 9 plans.

Anthem calls their entire portfolio of small business medical plans Employee Elect with additional portfolios referred to as Employee Choice and BeneFits. During the past 10 years the Employee Elect portfolio has grown from 12 plans to 29. With these changes Anthem Blue Cross will offer 34 plans in their Employee Elect portfolio, including 10 HMO plans. For many years Anthem Blue Cross only offered 3 HMOs: the 100%; Classic $250; and the Saver HMO.

According to Anthem Blue Cross, their research about consumer preferences indicates that people want many choices. The large selection of plans addresses this preference. A small business in California (2-50 employees) can offer all 34 plans to their employees at one time.

To help make sense of the many plans, Anthem Blue Cross has grouped the plans into “families” or “suites” of plans. The plans in each family function the same way but have different deductibles, copayments, and out-of-pocket limits. Here are the families of plans in the new Employee Elect portfolio:
* Premier PPO – rich benefit plans that pay “reasonable & customary” out of network;
* Copay PPO – Moderate deductible plans with Dr. Office visits before the deductible;
* Gen Rx PPO – comprehensive benefits but no brand medicine;
* Solution – High deductible PPO plans with Dr. Office visits & Rx before the deductible;
* Lumenos HIA+ – HRA style plans with first dollar coverage then a deductible, Rx after the medical deductible;
* Lumenos HSA (100/70) – plans pay 100% after the deductible with new 3-tier Rx benefits (previously there was no copayment for Rx after the deductible – but non-formulary medicine was not covered);
* Lumenos HSA (80/70) – lower premium HSA plans with co-insurance after the deductible;
* Elements Hospital – these are basic hospital only plans with very limited – if any out of hospital benefits and Rx benefits;
* EPO – in network only benefits suitable for “wrap products” that are like an HRA and pay expenses prior to the deductible; and,
* HMO – there are 10 HMO plans grouped in 4 categories: 100% hospital; Classic; Saver and Select.

You can obtain quotes for all of the new Anthem Blue Cross small group health insurance plans by clicking here. Don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions.