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Arkansas Insurance News
5/28/2016 The Arkansas individual on-exchange 2017 rate increase requests exceeding 10 percent are: QualChoice Life and Health 23.69%, QCA Health Plan Inc. 23.78%, AR Blue Cross & Blue Shield (MSP) 14.70%, and AR Blue Cross & Blue Shield (Local) 14.70%
12/22/2014 Newly elected Arkansas lawmakers may fulfill campaign promises to defund the state's Medicaid expansion when they first meet in January 2015 The state expanded Obamacare coverage to 213,000 people in 2014. The rate of inunsured in Arkansas went from from 22.5% in 2013 to 12.4% in 21014. This rapid Medicaid expansion caused the largest drop in uninsurance rate in the country but now Republican lawmakers want to scale back the cost of the program. Those covered by the insurance program are understandably worried this holiday season. Arkansas Business is following the story.
2/11/2014 Professional support for any health care reform issue is available free of charge through an arrangement with OnlineNavigator. All online inquiries are handled personally by Tony Novak, CPA. Online support is available through a number of popular social media channels including Facebook and Google+ as well as e-mail. Telephone support for insurance enrollment is available through Members Insurance Exchange at (800) 609-0683.
7/26/2013 Affordable Smart Term Life Insurance is now available to most Arkansas residents from age 20 through 60 directly online with no physical exam, agent appointment or telephone verification. Most policies are issued on the same day with coverage amounts of $25,000 up to $350,000. The level premium life insurance is available for terms of 10, 15, 20 and 30 years. Sample rates for $150,000 coverage for a preferred risk male age 30, non-tobacco $30.85 per month; tobacco user $49.55 per month. A preferred risk female age 30 non-tobacco user would be $26.49 per month and a tobacco user would be $40.96 per month. Rates are higher for older applicants and lower health risks as described online. Pricing is based on input you provide about your medical history but, unlike most other life insurers, does not consider family medical history. Coverage is issued by innovative National Life Group, rated "A" by A.M. Best Company for 2013.
2/22/2013 This page was updated to include a link to the insurance plan that will be used to determine specific "essential health benefits" for insurance that qualified for 2014 federal tax purposes. Also, a link to additional covered benefits required by state law. Non-qualified insurance is likely to continue to be available at a lower cost that does not include these benefits nor qualify for federal tax purposes.
2/1/2012 The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, a division of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that as of June 30, 2011 Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, QCA Health Plan and HMO Partners, Inc. are the state's largest health insurance providers and as such, earn the right to set the benchmark for the development of the state's essential benefit plans to debut in 2014 under health reform law.
10/17/2011 Child-only individual health insurance policies are now available on a guaranteed-issue basis without any limitations or exclusions based upon the applicant's health status. Most lower cost polies are not covered by the law.
3/4/2011 Coverage for autism was expanded but the law does not apply to basic types of insurance within the insurance exchange.
3/1/2011 Mercy Health Plan terminates coverage for all Arkansas individual policyholders on March 15. Other immediate issue short term major medical policies are available to those who do not already have alternative coverage. There are currently ten other commercial companies that offer alternative individual major medical coverage in Arkansas: Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield, Assurant Health, Celtic Insurance Company, CoventryOne, Empire Fire and Marine Insurance Company, Golden Rule Insurance Company, Freedom Life Insurance Company of America, United Security Life and Health Insurance Company of Illinois, World Insurance Company. Several additional companies listed in the section above offer limited benefit policies. Application and approval times vary from one day to several weeks. OnlineAdviser offers telephone and email support to help find a suitable alternate coverage.
CHIP eligibility - Individuals not eligible for any of the above options may qualify for CHIP coverage if they are currently residents of Arkansas, have been residents of Arkansas for at least 90 days and present evidence to the Administrator of: a. a notice of rejection or refusal by an insurer to issue substantially similar individual health insurance coverage by reason of the existence or history of a medical condition; or b. a refusal by an insurer to issue individual health insurance coverage except at a rate substantially in excess of (at least 50% greater than) the applicable premium rate under a comparable CHIP Policy;
2/12/2011 With dozens of health plans choices available online offering a wide range of pricing and benefits, how do you find the best combination of price and benefits? Celtic Insurance realizes that the choices can be overwhelming; the company offers more than 40 possible health plan designs in many parts of the United States. A new feature called "Help Me Choose" lets users easily and quickly select the benefits they value most and narrows the list down to a few of the best choices. No personal information is required other than zip code and date of birth.
12/28/2010 The state's pre-existing condition insurance plan attracted only 33 Arkansas residents this year despite the government-subsidized premiums. This plan provides a health coverage option for consumers who have been uninsured for at least six months, have a pre-existing condition or have been denied health coverage because of their health condition, and are a U.S. citizen or are residing here legally. The federal government pays most of the premium cost. The plan was initially criticized for excessive taxpayer costs but the overall lack of public interest in this insurance was not anticipated.
12/16/2010 Arkansas Insurance Department officials met representatives of 44 other states and numerous employees of the federal Health and Human Services Department in Washington DC this week for a two-day working meeting to discuss the next steps in establish a government-run health insurance exchange under the American Health Benefit Exchange Model Act. Their attendance at this meeting was paid for by a $1 million federal grant awarded by HHS in September to the state for research how to set up an insurance exchange. Two states (Alaska and Minnesota) declined to participate, saying that it was a waste of taxpayer money. Four other states (not identified in press reports) that received federal grants did not send representatives to the meeting. Attendees included representatives of 16 states that are suing the federal government in an attempt to overturn the federal health reform law; specifically the requirement that forces individuals to buy health insurance on the insurance exchange or pay a hefty tax fine.
In its initial federal grant request for the insurance exchange project, Arkansas said that: it would: 1) Guided the planning process by principles of consumer protection, stakeholder inclusion, integrated systems, quality, and cost-efficiency, 2) Create an interagency executive planning team, 3) Secure assistance with research and analyses that will allow Arkansas to make informed planning decisions, 4) Create a final report which will include recommendations about a) Governance and administrator of the Arkansas Exchange, b) Policy/regulatory needs including benefit standards, incentives, reporting, and monitoring requirements, c) Existing technology and infrastructure to support Exchange operations, d) Methods and costs for integrating Exchange eligibility and enrollment processes with those for Medicaid and other emerging health reform initiatives.
The meeting reportedly did not address the role of the commercial health insurance exchanges on the implementation of new competing government systems. The model act does not address inter-state insurance exchange proposals nor insurance sales across state lines. Federal officials admitted that they may not be able to provide further guidance until 2012. Meanwhile, most states are motivated to continue to meet requirements to obtain additional funding promised by the federal government for the establishment of insurance exchange by 2014. Freedom Benefits has previously voiced the opinion that the huge amount of money being spent to set up alternate insurance sales system technologies could be better used providing health benefits to the public. We proposed on the Universal Health Insurance blog that adequate commercial insurance sales systems are already in place that could be modified in a public/private partnership to make health insurance more affordable.
5/10/2010 Diabetes Coverage: A new resource to help with health insurance for diabetics in Arkansas is available
This web site is independently owned and managed by Tony Novak operating under the trademarks "Freedom Benefits", "OnlineAdviser" and "OnlineNavigator". Opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the author and do not represent the opinion of any other person, company or entity mentioned. Tony Novak is not an agent, broker, producer or navigator for any federal or state health insurance exchange but may provide uncompensated advice, reviews and referrals to these official resources. Novak is compensated as an accountant, adviser, affiliate consultant, marketer, reviewer, endorser, producer, lead generator or referrer to some of the other commercial companies listed on this site. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.