The second domino in a linked chain has tipped over. Two weeks ago Aetna announced its departure from California’s individual and family health insurance market, and yesterday UnitedHealth Group, Inc (parent of UnitedHealthcare) announced that UnitedHealthcare (UHC) is leaving California. With UnitedHealthcare leaving California, about 8,000 members will need to get new health insurance before December 31st, when their UHC coverage ends.
In this article, we’ll show you the best replacement health insurance plans from the remaining California insurance companies.
In California, UHC provided individual health insurance through their Golden Rule subsidiary using the brand name UnitedHealthOne. Golden Rule was created by UHC over the last 10 years as they acquired various regional health insurance carriers in their quest to the biggest health insurance company in the United States. The 2005 UHC purchase of California’s PacifiCare Health Systems, was primarily for it’s Medicare subscribers in the SecureHorizons Medicare Advantage plans, and the HMO subscribers in the group health insurance market. Although PacifiCare had an 8% market-share in California in 2008, by 2011 it had shrunk to 5%.
Current UHC subscribers will be able to find lower cost replacement plans amongst one of the remaining major health insurance companies, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, Cigna, Health Net, and Kaiser Permanente. To simplify the process we’ve analyzed the UnitedHealthOne plans and provided the best mapping into replacement plans.
Look for the name of the UnitedHealthOne plan in each header to find the mapping for those plans.
UnitedHealthOne Copay Select Replacement Plans
The Copay Select plans are Golden Rule’s top of the line products. They offer unlimited office visits for a $35 copay, provide both generic and brand name prescription coverage with a $500 brand deductible, and offer deductibles of 1,000, 1,500, 2,500, 3,500, 5,000, 7,500, 10,000, and 12,500. Although there are many things to like about the plans, their Out-Of-Pocket maximums and pricing kept them from being very popular in California.
The best replacement plans are:
- Anthem Blue Cross Premier plans – these plans are the top of the line from Anthem
- Cigna Open Access plans – the high-end Cigna plans
- Blue Shield Shield Secure Plus plans – Blue Shield’s top end plans
- Cigna Open Access Value plans – Cigna’s low-end plans. Similar to the Golden Rule plans but lacking brand name prescription coverage, and at lower premiums
Look a the deductible amount on your UnitedHealthOne plan and then find a similar deductible amount in one of the plans listed above.
Most of the time, the alternative plan from Anthem, Cigna, and Blue Shield will be lower cost, but you should check the rates in your area of California by clicking on the “Get Rates” button below.
UnitedHealthOne High Deductible Health Insurance Replacement Plans
The High Deductible Health Insurance plans are very unique in the California marketplace. These plans are the low-cost offerings from UnitedHealthOne. These plans offer only preventive care until the patient pays the deductible amount. Once the deductible is reached the three plans either pay for all additional care, or the patient and UHC begin sharing costs with the patient paying a 20% coinsurance, and UHC paying the other 80%.
The Saver 80 plan offers no benefits for doctor office visits or prescription drugs, and once the deductible is reached the coinsurance is 20% until you reach the Out-Of-Pocket maximum (OOPM). The Plan 80 offers office visits and prescription drug benefits after the deductible is reached, and a 20% coinsurance is paid for these benefits. The Plan 100 pays 100% for office visits and drugs, after the deductible is reached.
These plans are very similar to some old plans that the other carriers stopped marketing about 3-4 years ago, such as the RightPlan 40 from Anthem Blue Cross, the ActiveStart plans from Blue Shield, and the Budget PPO plans from Health Net.
There are only a couple of comparable plans available in California at this point:
- Health Net CFB PPO Standard plans – the OOPM in these plans is equal to the deductible, and they provide 2 office visits for a copay
- Cigna Open Access Value 5000/100% – the OOPM is the same as the deductible, and the plan offers unlimited office visits
If we map Saver 80, Plan 80, and Plan 100 to the current low-cost plans that ARE available in California, we get the following replacement plans:
- Health Net PPO Advantage 3500 – offers the best cost vs benefits
- Health Net PPO Advantage 6500 – typically the lowest cost plan in California
- Anthem Blue Cross CoreGuard 5000 – Anthem’s lowest-cost plan
UnitedHealthOne Health Saving Account (HSA) Replacement Plans
The UnitedHealthOne HSA plans were originally very low-cost plans when they were introduced back in 2004. But over the years the rates climbed faster than other non-HSA plans, until these plans were priced in the middle of the pack. As a result, having an HSA compatible health insurance plan only makes sense for people that can benefit from the tax savings associated with the savings account, and have the ability to contribute the full amount to the HSA each year.
UnitedHealthOne’s HSA 70 is their low-end HSA plan. The plan provides only preventive care until you reach the deductible, and then you begin sharing costs with UHC (you pay 30%) until you reach the Out-Of-Pocket maximum. The HSA 100 plan is very similar to the HSA 70 except that once you reach the deductible, you are done for the year, and UHC pays 100% for everything else. Both plans offer various deductibles from 1,250, 2,500, 3,000, 3,500, and 5,000.
The best mappings for these HSA plans is the following:
- Health Net CFB HSA plans – these offer the best value in the HSA market, with the HSA 4500 plan being the overall best HSA plan in California, and the HSA 6000 being the cheapest
- Blue Shield Saver HSA plans – these plans are the next lowest cost HSA plans
- Cigna Health Savings 4900 plan – good all around HSA plan, but higher cost
- Anthem Blue Cross Lumenos 5950 plan – Anthem’s last HSA plan but not the best choice unless having an Anthem plan is more important
UnitedHealthcare Leaving California Means What?
With UnitedHealthcare leaving California, not much will really change. The subscriber base in their individual and family health insurance plans was very small, and their plans were not competitive. So over the next few months I expect everyone will transition to a replacement plan.
This is the second domino to topple, and it won’t be the last. Health Care Reform is about the health insurance companies competing with each other, and to compete requires a large subscriber base. Over the next 3 to 5 years we will see plenty of other insurance companies leaving California. This is just the beginning.
Do this transition from UHC now, before then end of the year and the beginning of the Affordable Care Act Initial Enrollment period on October 1st. This will make the process easier and less time consuming. So go ahead and get started by getting quotes on your replacement plans below.
If you have any questions about how to change plans, when to change, or want some specific recommendations for your situation, just call us and we’ll be glad to help you.
- Aetna Health Insurance Leaving California – Recommended Replacement Plans
- Grandfathered Health Insurance Plans – Should I Stay Or Should I Go?