THE HOW TO GUIDE FOR ANTHEM BLUE CROSS THROUGH COVERED CALIFORNIA IN 2018
Anthem Blue Cross is one of the top three carriers in California.
Consistently for decades now.
They aggressively adopted Covered California since 2014 and although there are some bumps in 2018, they still have a major footprint there.
Their real strength is in their doctor networks.
There are many Californians who can only use THEIR doctors with Anthem Blue Cross.
Let’s look at upcoming changes and how to combine the strength of their networks with the tax credits and richer benefits of Covered California.
A match made in…California.
You can quickly jump to any these main categories:
For those inpatient souls, you can quote Anthem’s plans right here:
Let’s get started so you can get the most out of the market.
We’ll start with upcoming changes.
2018 Anthem Blue Cross Changes
Anthem made some big changes recently.
They are leaving a big part of the State for Individual and Family plans.
This includes Covered California and off-exchange (direct to carrier) plans.
It does not affect Medicare eligible, Small Business, or Grandfathered plans.
You can find more detail on losing Anthem coverage in 2018 here.
The loss is primarily happening in the Southern counties of California.
The north will be largely unaffected.
Starting Nov 1st, you will be able to see if Anthem is available in your area here.
This is really a major change.
Anthem has offered Statewide coverage through Covered Ca since 2014 (actually way before then).
They noted that they may come back in for the 2019 year but things would have to change quite a bit.
Anthem’s most popular plan was their EPO and PPO plans through Covered Ca.
This leaves Blue Shield of California as the primary alternative in most of these areas for a PPO plan.
Let’s look at what to expect with Anthem’s rates.
Anthem Blue Cross Rates Through Covered Ca In 2018
In counties where Anthem is leaving, their claims far outstripped their rates.
They would have to have asked for a large rate increase to cover the claims and the State would likely have declined the request.
In the other counties, we really depends on your age and zip code.
The average rate increase in 2018 is 13% for Covered California plans.
Some people will find their increase is much higher while others will be below.
Keep in mind that the tax credit was designed to offset rate increases.
As the base level rates go up, the tax credit is designed to go up as well.
That’s the whole point of Covered California.
It’s really important to make sure you’re getting the most tax credit available.
When you run your quote below, make sure to enter:
- Total Household – everyone that will file together on a 1040 tax form
- Best Income Estimate – roughly line 7 on the 1040 for current year
These two factors drive the Covered Ca tax credit.
It can mean $1000’s per year for millions of Californians!
You don’t want to mess this up.
As Certified Covered Ca agents, we’re happy to help you with this piece since it’s so complicated.
You can use this tax credit towards Anthem Blue Cross plans as long as we enroll correctly.
You can access the Covered Ca simplified application here:
A few notes on Anthem Covered Ca rates
Some interesting points.
Some of Anthem’s HMO’s can actually be more expensive than the equivalent PPO or EPO.
In that case, PPO or EPO would be a better fit.
Anthem has been better priced for the Silver and Bronze level plans.
It really differs from area to area and age to age.
The two comparisons have generally been Anthem and Blue Shield since they offer EPO/PPO.
More detail on EPO versus PPO. More detail on HMO versus PPO.
Regional HMO’s will be less expensive but there are trade-offs (smaller networks…more managed care).
What about the benefits for Anthem?
2018 Anthem Blue Cross Plans
Anthem will offer the full array of Covered Ca plans:
- Catastrophic (if under age 30)
- Bronze 60
- Bronze HDHP (HSA qualified plan)
- Silver 70
- Silver 73 (based on income)
- Silver 87 (based on income)
- Silver 94 (based on income)
- Gold 80
- Platinum 90
There are small differences from year to year but the core benefits are not changing much for 2018.
Our 1 page Benefit Summary is available here.
You can use the PlanFinder to really compare the different plans.
QuickTip. If you’re offered the Silver 87 or 94 based on income, that’s hard to beat.
You’re getting almost a Platinum level benefit for the price of the Silver.
Go that direction.
Anthem will offer all the Enhanced Silver benefits.
For the HDHP plan (HSA qualified), Anthem’s deductible is cumulative.
This means one family member would need to meet the full family deductible and max.
Blue Shield’s is per person, up to two people which generally works out better.
Of course, Anthem’s rates may be lower due to this difference and you have to factor that into your decision.
Otherwise, the Covered Ca plans are all standardized.
This means that Anthem’s Silver 70 plan needs to match Silver 70 plans from any other carrier.
The richer Silver plans is purely driven by income ranges so that will automatically show when you run your quote here.
Anthem’s Catastrophic versus Bronze 60 plan
Many people automatically gravitate towards the catastrophic plan but the bronze usually makes more sense.
If you’re eligible for a tax credit (and many Californians are), it will NOT apply to the catastrophic plan.
This makes a huge difference.
As Certified Covered Ca agents, we keep an eye out for these “gotcha” when we process your application and let you know of missed opportunities.
You can access the Anthem Covered Ca application here.
Our assistance is 100% free to you.
Now the big advantage of Anthem through Covered Ca.
Anthem Blue Cross Networks For 2018
We mentioned already that Anthem is leaving the many counties in California (think south of the Bay Area).
This is going to be tricky for many people down South.
For example, unless thing changes, Cedar Sinai was only with Anthem through Covered Ca for EPO/PPO.
Some providers will sign contracts with Blue Shield or other carriers to fill this gap.
Anthem’s core strength in Covered Ca was their network.
Keep in mind that networks shrank by about 1/3rd starting in 2014.
There was no way around this.
Anthem had (and has) one of the most robust networks especially with early adoption of the UC’s throughout the State.
For many enrollees, they were the only choice because of doctors.
When you run your quote, you will see “Provider Search” below any given plan.
You can click on this to see Anthem’s Blue Cross doctors and hospitals in your area.
You can also ask your doctor if they participate with “Covered California Anthem Blue Cros”.
The doctor offices all know this branding now and you’ll get a correct answer which is important since there are different networks now.
We’re happy to research this for you as well.
Just email us your list of doctors and cities. We’ll get to work.
Anthem Blue Cross In Covered Ca Best Plans
So…our doctor takes Anthem.
Which plan is best?
This is always a complicated question.
We’re here to help.
A few key points.
As we mentioned above, if you’re offered the Silver 87 or 94…it’s hard to look anywhere else.
You’re essentially given free benefits.
Much richer benefits.
Almost Platinum level coverage for the same price of Silver.
Secondly, if you just want the lowest priced plan and a tax advantage, look at the HDHP Bronze plan.
This allows you to pay medical/dental out of pocket with pre-tax money.
This also brings down your Adjusted Gross Income which determines tax credit!
It’s a win win.
For all the other plans, you really should try the PlanFinder tool. It’s free!
It will walk you through how to compare the plans step by step.
That’s how we do it over the phone 1000’s of times!
Of course, we’re always happy to help at 800-320-6269 or by email.
Our assistance as Certified Covered Ca agents is 100% free to you.
Is Anthem Blue Cross Under Covered California
But in 2018, only in Northern counties.
This is also true for off-exchange (not through Covered Ca).
Keep in mind that you can only get the tax credit THROUGH Covered California for Anthem.
There’s no reason to off-exchange since the plans, rates, and networks are mandated to be the same in California.
Most people choosing Anthem pick them because of the doctor networks.
Anthem through Covered Ca will have the same networks as off-exchange for individual/family!
How To Quote Anthem Blue Cross Through Covered Ca
This is easy!
How to quote Anthem Blue Cross in Covered California:
- Click here to quote Anthem
- Select “On Exchange” for Covered Ca options
- Enter your household size and income estimate (more guidance on that here)
- Compare plans across all carriers with tax credit included
- Use PlanFinder for step-by-step guide to picking plans
Remember…household is everyone that files together on a 1040 tax form.
Income estimate is for current year (or year that tax credit will be in).
These two pieces are REAL important.
Use us to get the right estimate.
How To Apply For Anthem Blue Cross Through Covered California
How to Enroll in Anthem Blue Cross through Covered Ca:
- Click here for simplified Covered Ca application online
- Complete form with household (even if not enrolling) and income estimate
- Receive identity verification questions within 24 hours
- Receive confirmation of enrollment within 24 hours
- Mailed confirmation will come from Covered Ca within 7 days
- 1st bill will arrive about 5 days after that or pay online here.
This will literally save you 45 minutes to an hour and most importantly..
We’ll keep an eye out for anything that might mess up your tax credit!
About � of the people we come across who self-enrolled had major errors.
Our assistance is free as Certified Covered Ca agents for Anthem Blue Cross.
Why not have someone guide you!
Is Blue Cross Cheaper In Covered California?
It can be.
By law, the core plans have to the same price on or off exchange.
An Anthem Blue Cross Silver 70 plan has to be the same price in Covered Ca or Off Exchange.
That’s the law.
However…if you qualify for a tax credit based on income (and millions of Californian’s do), we can ONLY get the tax credit if enrolled through Covered Ca.
That’s a no brainer.
Enroll here for the Covered Ca version of Anthem Blue Cross and make sure to enter household size and income estimate for tax credit.
Is Anthem Blue Cross Through Covered Ca Good Insurance?
The short answer is “yes”.
The benefits are standardized.
The rates are someone standardized due to the plans being the same.
It comes down to networks and HMO versus PPO.
If you want the larger network.
Better said…if you HAVE to have your doctors”�
Anthem may be the only choice depending on your area and doctors.
They have been a major player in the California market for decades now.
It really comes down to doctors now.
That’s where Anthem wins!
Anthem Blue Cross Through Covered Ca Review
This is why people choose Anthem in the marketplace.
It’s a combination of tax credits to bring down the cost
Access to their doctors (or to a broader list of potential doctors)
PPO/EPO flexibility and control.
You add up those three elements, and Anthem generally leads the pack.
People generally compare them to Blue Shield of Ca in-exchange.
That’s where they compete.
You can quickly size them up both here:
Again, there is absolutely no cost to you for our services. Call 800-320-6269 Today!