This is a busy time of year for a health insurance professional. Most (though not all) employer plans renew each January. Deductibles are usually calendar year and insurance company rates are filed and approved by the Banking and Insurance Department (BISCHA) on a calendar year basis.
Currently, there are three health insurers marketing to small businesses in the state of Vermont. “Small” is defined in Vermont as having between 1 – 50 full-time, benefit-eligible employees. The three insurers are:
• Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, based in Montpelier and non profit
• MVP Health Care, based in Schenectady NY and also non profit
• Cigna Health Care is offered strictly through the Vermont Chamber of Commerce Association and is a publicly traded international company
The Vermont Chamber of Commerce Association (VACE) has been with Cigna for over a decade and this year the Vermont Chamber sent their business out to bid. BCBS and MVP offered competitive quotes and BCBS won. So as of January 2012, the Cigna business with the Chamber will be moving to BCBS. The plans will be the same or very similar and the rates will be level. BCBS also guaranteed to cap the renewal increase in 2013 at 10% and hopefully less, depending on claims and the medical loss ratio. I have over 300 accounts with Cigna through VACE and they are thrilled about not having a rate increase in 2012. After receiving 18% last year, this is very good news!
Unfortunately, shortly after this decision, Cigna decided to no longer market in the small group market in Vermont. They are still a competitive option for employers with 51+ employees but they will not be an option if you have less than 50 employees. I think Cigna is a very good health insurance company and am sorry to see them go. They are a progressive and technologically savvy company. We need MORE competition in this state, not less.
If you have any questions or want to discuss your health insurance plan, please contact me at (802) 367-5217.