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Covered California and Obamacare related questions from consumers, employers and agents are answered by Phil Daigle with the best information available at the time. Archived entries may no longer be accurate as the Covered California and Obamacare knowledge-base is evolving quickly. TO REQUEST A PERSONAL RESPONSE INCLUDE EMAIL ADDRESS.


How to Change Plans or Cancel Coverage?

By on | 15 Comments

Question: I signed up for anthem ppo & paid for it on March 25 (which at that time appeared to be the deadline), then found out that my doctor has just been added as a provider on the blue shield epo. I am in the midst of some complex treatment issues and will be forced to pay out of pocket to see my current doctor about these matters (forced to put these payments on credit card because I am currently out on disability leave from my job). Is there a way to switch from Anthem to Blue Shield?

Answer: Yes. You can terminate your Anthem Plan effective April 30th and choose the Blue Shield plan you want effective May 1st. This is a quirky process in the Covered California online application system. I suggest you delegate a Certified Insurance Agent to help you with it.

15 Comments

Troy …

Your enrollment change to Kaiser should take effect without further action on 1-1-2017. If you self-enrolled in Kaiser thourgh the CoveredCA website, you can go back into your account and look at the Enrollment page to see what your 2017 enrollment status is. If it says Kaiser, you know for sure that your enrollment went through as you intended. If is says Anthem, then you still have a few days left to change your enrollment to Kaiser.

Getting an ID card from Anthem, in either circumstance, is probably just a computer issue. Anthem’s computer systems would probably not have known of the change in plans at that early date. What you do want to do is make sure that you have stopped any automatic premium payments to Anthem after your December 2016 payment is/was made.

Troy, Yes. You have to call Anthem to cancel your current coverage otherwise, they will renew and you may keep getting billed by them.

If I changed my plan from Anthem to Kaiser on Covered CA for 2017(application was accepted and is being processed before Dec. 15th), do I have to go on Anthem and terminate the plan as well or will the new plan cancel out Anthem in 2017? I tried a live chat session with Covered CA and the person gave me responses that were contradicting then eventually said they could not assist me because they do not know. I received a 2017 Healthcare card from Anthem today, so I am confused. Anyone have an answer to this? Thanks!

What month did you start the employer-sponsored plan and can you get proof of insurance such as the medical card?

Yanick, To cancel call Covered California at 800-300-1506. CALL YOUR INSURANCE CARRIER AND CANCEL. Their number is on your insurance card.

i need to cancel covered California because i got insurance through my employer. how do i cancel???

I cancelled Covered California in August of 2014. Not only did they fail to cancel my account for another 2 months and charge me for double health insurance, they rolled back my silver status for the ENTIRE YEAR when I was lower income, because of my income change which I had reported to them once it happened. Meaning, I paid MORE for LESS insurance than my previous plan prior to Covered CA. If this is not bad enough, I have started to get harassing phone calls from Health Net, saying that I have not paid for my plan. This is December 2015, a year and a half after canceling my plan. I get three phone calls in a row from a recorded line every single day. I log into my Covered CA plan and I see that they are saying I had insurance with them through 2014 and that they have automatically renewed me for 2015. I have written them directly 3 times telling both them and Health Net to cease and desist with letters and phone calls in early 2014, that my plan was cancelled and that I would consider it harassment if they continued to abuse my phone number and credit. But this doesn’t seem to have worked. I don’t see where I can cancel the coverage. I can’t get through on the phone or their chat. The phone line literally says they do not have enough agents and then hangs up on me every time I call. This is truly abusive. I wish I had never gotten involved in a debacle of governmental proportions. Please help. How do I permanently cancel this plan and get them to leave me, my credit rating and my phone alone?

In Sept 2014 I needed to cancel my Covered California plan. I went in to notify them of this change and found the only thing I could do was update my income. No way to cancel. No button on the site. No “how to” in the FAQs. I called, waited on hold multiple times as long as I could and never got through to a live person (seems to be the case for just about everyone). I then called HealthNet as they had my plan, got thru (no problem there) and was advised that I must cancel with CC. I advised them I was not able to get through and there is no cancellation option on the site. Not to mention no directions, FAQ, anything on the site to advise you how to cancel. I have to ask myself why would you create something you can register for and forget to put in a way to cancel? Needless to say I wrote a letter thinking I will put this in writing. They now claim they never got it. In the meantime I was “waiting” to hear back because I know the government and CC is not going to be contacting me the next day. Well they never did contact me…I keep getting bills…I keep writing on them and sending them back that I want this cancelled. No response. Then I get my 1095 in early 2015 showing I had coverage entire year. Again I try to call cannot get thru. Noticed there is now a “chat” option and reach someone and ask if they can tell me if my letter was received and my plan cancelled. Advised to check via a link and file an appeal if it does not show cancelled. I do this and find out I wasn’t cancelled but ask that it be backdated because I SENT A LETTER IN WRITING to cancel. Someone calls and does not leave their direct number or an extension number and no details. I call back to number they left which was main number. Can’t get through to a person. Out of frustration I start pushing buttons on my phone…and actually got connected to someone!!! Who was so surprised she asked me how I got to her! I tell her my situation - trying to return a call - but she cannot help me. I said it’s so hard to get thru can you at least put a note on my account that I called back and ask the person to contact me again as I have no details as to what it is about. Wait again…no return call. The call was that they had no appeal form for me. How can they not have the appeal form too? Bottom line after all this I file a dispute when I do my taxes because I cannot complete them otherwise. Now I find out thru dispute (they are very prompt to respond to this after I go thru social worker as they have 60 days to resolve. Well now they tell me tough luck…no tracking on my letter…no proof…you have to pay $1700 for this year and another $400 plus for 2015 because when you do cancel they have to have 14 days notice. SO now over $2K for insurance I did not need, insurance I did not use, and no way to cancel online? Does anyone at CC get that they need to have this kind of detail information on the site when it goes live (not in an update in Nov 2014).?

Jenna …

This is just another example of the finger-pointing runaround I tried to communicate to the CoveredCA Board of Directors last week. There is no simple answer to your question except to say that by not paying your premium to Anthem, you will “eventually” be terminated from that health plan.

There is no downside to this—you will not be sent to collection or have to repay any tax credits. You simply have to endure the computer-generated late notices from Anthem for another month or so.

It’s up to CoveredCA to get its act together and communicate with DHCS about Medi-Cal enrollments and send the appropriate termination notice to the health insurance companies. As far as the CoveredCA Board is concerned, all they hear from Director Lee is that things are going great. They were not entirely thrilled about what they heard from me and the agents whose voices I took with me to Sacramento on 9/18.

I’ve been getting notices from Anthem saying I have to keep paying the premium even though I’ve canceled through Covered Ca and enrolled in MediCal. What’s going on and how do I get them off my back? I’ve called them but got the run around and was told to call Covered Ca. I did that and CC told me to call Medical which I did and still no solution.

Hi Lorraine.

You have until and through April 15th to enroll in a health plan through Covered California, or direct with Blue Shield. Only option is with assistance from and through a state licensed Certified Insurance Agent.

If you are Medi-Cal eligible, based upon your household income, then Medi-Cal is your only subsidized health plan option. You do have option to purchase a health plan and pay in-full, without any tax subsidy credit.

I’d be glad to assist you. Give a call.

No, not correct.

Open Enrollment through Covered California, AND through Blue Shield direct, is effectively open through April 15th, but only with enrollment assistance of and through a state licensed Insurance Agent.

Lorraine wrote … “I want out immediately.”

Unless you have a “life change event” which would make you eligible for a special enrollment period, you are a week too late to do anything else. Open enrollment ended on March 31, and today is April 7.

I am in Managed care with alameda County

Medi cal - I want out immediately but need insurance How do I do this?

It actually might even be better to spend 30-45 minutes on hold calling CoveredCA at 1-800-300-1506. Too many agents are not competent when it comes to the online application and making changes, that they have caused more trouble than they have solved.

Even I have made what I believed were the correct changes, only to be confronted with an outcome that resulted in either no change, or not the change that I was expecting. And then I had to spend the time on the phone with CoveredCA to get the issue resolved — learning in the process how to work the system.

They’ve physically changed the online application at least six times that I can count (and probably made more that we don’t see) in one way or another, and every time there is a modification, something else changes in the ripple effect that this causes.

Making too many changes utterly confuses the application and forces the need to do a completely new application to resolve the issues.

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