December is still pretty far away. But, thanks to new health insurance transparency laws, your renewal rates are now available. And, better yet, alternative plans and prices are also within reach. So, let’s go inside the numbers and get you prepared, with a look ahead at December renewals.
Why so many Employers Renew in December
Small business health insurance renewals used to be equally spread throughout the year. But, nowadays they are heavily concentrated in the month of December. The reason for this change is the Affordable Care Act’s “keep your policy” rule. When the ACA first went into effect, employers were able to change their renewal date to December 1st. That way, they could avoid being forced into a, more expensive, ACA compliant policy.
And while this seemed like a good idea at the time, it has lead to a glut of December renewals. Some of the negative side effects are:
- Many insurance brokers are so busy during this time, that they are more prone to making errors.
- To handle the extra volume, insurers hire temporary workers. But, they offer very limited training to these new hires. Hence they cannot aptly handle complex scenarios.
- Many carriers’ websites and internal systems become bogged down during this time period, due to the surge in usage.
Recent Rate hike from local carrier
Capital BlueCross, a large insurer in Central PA, recently filed for an increase of their third and fourth quarter rates. And, since they have been quite popular in recent years, this price hike will adversely affect many local small businesses. Especially those who have opted for their PPO 4000 plan. But don’t panic just yet, as there are some decent alternative options available.
Inside the numbers
Enough waiting, let’s take a look ahead at December renewals! And since rates are now standardized by region, these are likely the same percentage increases you will see on your actual renewal. (All quotes use Region 6 – Schuylkill, Lehigh, Columbia, Union, Mifflin and Centre Counties in PA). Simply click the link that shows your current plan to view the renewal increase and alternative options. You’ll see the current plan/price in the first column and the renewal in the second. Alternative options round out the remaining columns in the report.
While we have certainly seen worse increases in the past, that doesn’t mean that we should sit back and accept these price hikes. Especially considering that there are new non-ACA plans available from Aetna, BlueCross and others. These plans shirk some of the ACA mandates and offer rates that are typically 15-25% lower than the ACA plans shown in the above comparison reports.
If you would like a custom quote on any of these plans, or if you didn’t see your current plan mentioned above, contact us and we’ll have your December renewal custom comparison report ready in just a few minutes.