Wyoming health insurance tips


Wyoming insurance law and regulation

The Wyoming Insurance Department Web site contains a link to a consumer complaint form that can be downloaded to request help with insurance disputes.  The Web site has not yet developed resources to help individuals find commercial low cost health plans like mini-med or core coverage, specific illness policies, Supplemental Accident Insurance and basic health insurance.
The state insurance department can be reached by telephone at (307) 777-7401 or by mail at 106 East 6th Avenue, Cheyenne WY 82002. The state children’s health insurance plan (CHIP) Web site is Wyoming Kid Care CHIP.

News that affects your health insurance and planning

June 3, 2019 – Status of alternative non-ACA health plans: Wyoming does not require individuals to maintain adequate health coverage. The state provides no premium or cost-sharing subsidies for individual market coverage, permits insurers to sell non-compliant transitional policies in the individual market. Wyoming limits the sale of short-term coverage more strictly than the federal government. A maximum length of a polciy is 6 months and short-term coverage.

March 19, 2019 –  The cost of health insurance in Wyoming ranks among the top five highest nationally with average premiums rising by more than 10% annually. Overall health care costs in Wyoming are higher than all other states according to the Senate Labor, Health and Social Services Committee Chairman. The reasons for the high costs are not clear. For consumers who are able to travel, it helps to know that all of the health plans at FreedomBenefits.net provide coverage at all other health care facilities in the U.S. Increasingly consumers find that it pays to travel for single event expensive health care treatments or use mail order for recurring medical supplies and drugs.

November 21, 2018 – Two Wyoming hospitals will receive $25.5 million for major renovations from the Trump administration. Wyoming residents have been supportive of President Donald Trump and now they are reaping the rewards of their loyalty. Hot Springs County Hospital District in Thermopolis and Westward Heights Care Center in Lander will receive the funding.

November 13, 2018 – Voters in Nebraska, Utah and Idaho all passed ballot initiatives last week authorizing the expansion of Medicaid, joining other western states like Colorado, Nevada and Washington. The successful efforts will bring coverage to 363,000 low-income adults, adding to the 12 million who’ve already received coverage under expansion. However, Wyoming remains uninterested in Medicaid expansion even with federal government funding, fearful that the program might increase costs in the future. Low income residents who cannot afford coverage on the state insurance exchange might need to consider limited benefits coverage.

The history of health care planning in Wyoming (Information is outdated and links may be expired)

10/22/2015 WINhealth, the state’s second largest individual health insurance company, will not offer coverage through the federal health-care exchange in 2016. Personal assistance is available for members who need to switch plans. Unfortunately the alternative choices are likely to be more expensive.

12/4/2014 Insurance Commissioner Tom Hirsig says the best way to sign up for insurance for 2015 is to call one of the two Wyoming insurance companies—Win Health or Blue Cross-Blue Shields—and have an agent walk you through the possible plans. 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 extension 1.

7/26/2013 Affordable Smart Term Life Insurance is now available to most Wyoming 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.

3/11/2013 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 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming is the state’s largest health insurance provider and as such, earns the right to set the benchmark for the development of the state’s essential benefit plans to debut in 2014 under health reform law.

7/10/2011  The U.S. Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight announced that Wyoming lacks proper resources or authority in the individual or small-group health insurance market to effectively review large rate increases as required by federal law. The federal government will temporarily take over the task of reviewing both individual and small business health insurance rate increases that are greater than 10%.

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.

2/7/2011 The state’s pre-existing condition insurance plan (PCIP) monthly premium rates (per person) at rates up to $419 per month. PCIP will cover a broad range of health benefits, including primary and specialty care, hospital care, and prescription drugs. All covered benefits are available for you, beginning on your coverage effective date, even if it’s to treat a pre-existing condition – there are no waiting periods. PCIP applicants who are approved to participate in PCIP can choose from three plan options, with different levels of premiums, calendar year deductibles, prescription deductibles and prescription copays. The HSA Option provides an opportunity to open a Health Savings Account, a tax-exempt account where you can deposit funds for eligible medical expenses. Each of the three PCIP plan options provides preventive care (paid at 100%, with no deductible) when you see an in-network doctor and the doctor indicates preventive diagnosis. Included are annual physicals, flu shots, routine mammograms and cancer screenings. For other care, you will pay a deductible before PCIP pays for your health care and prescriptions. After you pay the deductible, you will pay 20% of medical costs in-network. The maximum you will pay out-of-pocket for covered services in a calendar year is $5,950 in-network/$7,000 out-of-network. There is no lifetime maximum or cap on the amount the plan pays for your care. If you apply for PCIP coverage on the government Web site, you will be billed for the premium once your application is approved. You will need to send in your payment in order for your coverage to be effective. Please do not send in the premium before you are billed. Note that your premium may increase if you age into a higher rate tier, or if PCIP adjusts its premiums to any changes in the commercial market.

12/16/2010 Wyoming Department of Insurance 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 $800,000 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, Wyoming said that it would: 1) Form a Task Force to determine if Wyoming will pursue a State-based Exchange, a regional Exchange, or allow the Federal government to operate an Exchange, 2) Develop recommendations as to necessary actions to establish a functioning Exchange as well as propose legislative action if the Governor and Task Force recommend that Wyoming participate in the operation of the State’s insurance Exchange, via a partnership with the University of Wyoming.

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.

9/15/2010 A health insurance exchange study will be funded by an $800,000 appropriation from the Wyoming Department of Insurance. The purpose is to explore which approaches would be best to fulfill the Department’s wishes and meet federal health reform requirements that will be effective in 2014.

5/14/2010 Diabetes Coverage: A new resource to help find health insurance for diabetics in Wyoming is now available at Freedom Benefits.