Blue Shield Announces Q4 2020 Updates

Rate stability through the year
The statewide average rate change for Q4 2020 is -1.2%. The statewide compounded average rate change for small business renewing in Q4 is 0.6%.

Offer more choices with specialty benefits
Beginning with October 2020 effective dates, small business groups may offer more than one vision plan. This flexibility helps employers provide choice to meet the needs of their employees. As a reminder, small business groups may offer up to three dental plans as well. With Bundled Savings, groups can add dental and/or vision benefits at a 10% lower premium if the group also offers medical plans to members.

Learn more about the award-winning Wellvolution program
Blue Shield of California's award-winning whole-health platform, Wellvolution®, gives members tools for obtaining optimal health, whether that means staying fit, supporting mental well-being, preventing disease, or treating existing conditions.

Blue Shield will be hosting a series of webinars – available to brokers, employers, and members – with a range of topics. Wellvolution is included for all Blue Shield small business plans. Brokers are encouraged to share this information with their clients to help ensure they are getting the most of their benefits.

Updated enrollment checklist
The carrier has updated their new group enrollment checklist for a more streamlined underwriting process. Among other updates, the carrier is making it easier for the smaller small businesses and have reduced documentation requirements for groups of five or more eligible employees. Previously this simpler underwriting process was for groups of five or more enrolling employees.

For small businesses of all sizes, the following is being eliminated as part of our standard enrollment requirements:
  • Confirmation letter from a group's CPA that its affiliated companies are eligible to file a combined state tax return
  • Canceled draw checks for owners not listed on a group's DE-9C
  • Court document granting guardianship of a minor to the employee when the employee and child are enrolling in the group plan. (Note: this differs from a court order to provide coverage for a dependent.)
Requests for recertification will continue to be suspended through the end of the year
Earlier this year Blue Shield suspended their recertification process for small businesses, and will continue holding off this process for all 2020 renewals. Eligibility requirements remain in place; employer groups and their brokers should ensure that the group does meet requirements for small business coverage, and contact with questions.

Retroactive cancellations limited to 90 days
Retroactive cancellations can only be processed for 90 days back, and despite new flexibility in other processes, there are no exceptions for this one.

Fewer post-enrollment emails
To reduce the volume of operational emails from Blue Shield, the carrier will no longer send automated emails each time a group's health plan documents (Evidence of Coverage, Summary of Benefits and Coverage) are posted or updated. Instead, this will be included in a monthly reminder, along with renewal notifications, of the availability of these documents. Employer groups will continue to receive notifications as they have been. This process change is in response to feedback Blue Shield heard from brokers, and hope this will help unclutter your inbox. You can find health plan documents for your groups online, once available, by logging in to Shield Renewals.

Resources available for managing employee benefits online
Reference these how-to videos and guides for managing employee benefits online, through Employer Connection Plus (EC+). These resources are also accessible to your employer groups who manage their employee benefits changes through EC+, and may need assistance at times.
Source: Blue Shield of California