Oct. 1, 2014 – This is the first in a series of articles from the Insurance and Member Benefits Committee to help State Bar members better understand and navigate the new environment for buying health insurance under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called the Affordable Care Act, (ACA). This article is intended to be informational and is not an advertisement for insurance.
One of committee’s key missions is to help members identify possible insurance information resources and to help connect them with those information resources to help them make informed decisions to meet their and their family’s health insurance needs. The committee encourages members to consider contacting one of two Wisconsin-based insurance agencies with which the State Bar has worked for many years for more information, or to work with your own trusted insurance professional, as these new changes take effect.
For decades, the State Bar group health insurance program has provided a valuable health insurance product option for eligible State Bar members to purchase. This program has been handled by Professional Insurance Programs (PIP) and is currently insured by Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation (WPS).
Why the Change?
Under the ACA, health insurance companies selling health insurance products to individuals and/or small employer groups in a region are required to offer those same products for sale to all eligible individuals and small employer groups within that same region. The ACA also requires the insurance company to pool everyone together in the region for the purpose of determining its insurance premium rates for its products. Because of these changes, it has been determined that the group health insurance program is no longer a viable product into the future. WPS has notified the State Bar and insured members that the group policy will end effective Jan. 1, 2015.
Members and their dependents who are presently insured by WPS under the State Bar group health insurance program will also be contacted by PIP to help them evaluate their options for purchasing a health insurance product to replace their terminating group health coverage with WPS, including being available to help them decide which new product works best for them. PIP will create an online health insurance shopping portal for State Bar members to use to help them evaluate other health insurance product options available from WPS or Arise Health Plan. PIP can be contacted at (414) 277-0154 or (800) 637-4676 or via website at http://www.insuranceformembers.com.
Bultman Financial Services, another insurance agency with a long history of serving State Bar members, will also be available to assist members to help them evaluate their options for purchasing health insurance products, including having an online health insurance shopping portal for State Bar members to use to shop for products. This shopping portal will provide access to health insurance product options sold by health insurance companies operating not only in Wisconsin, but nationwide. Bultman Financial Services can be contacted at (262) 782-9949 or (800) 344-7040 or via website at http://www.bultmanfinancial.com/
State Bar members should carefully evaluate their health insurance product options. Consider such important factors as the product’s premium cost, their responsibility for out-of-pocket health care expenses not paid by insurance, their eligibility for government subsidies, the product’s exclusions and benefit limitations, and access to specific health care providers and/or provider networks. The open enrollment period for the 2015 plan year under the ACA insurance exchanges/marketplaces will begin on Nov.15, 2014.