On November 27th, 2018 the Builders Association of Northern Nevada, in partnership with Hometown Health, released new BANN Health Insurance plans.
Their focus is small employers with between 2 and 49 full-time employees.
The idea is to provide members with lower rates by circumventing large parts of the Affordable Care Act. Many of the cost-saving measures will have no effect on consumers except for lower prices. For example, many of the taxes and fees with health insurance small business plans today aren’t included. Other benefits may cause a change to the covered member. Association health plans will no longer include pediatric dental or vision, a benefit rarely used by consumers and occasionally overlapped by specific dental and vision insurance plans. These plans may also leave out coverage for women’s fertility services and gym memberships. The result is a qualified health plan that may cost significantly less than anything on the market today.
BANN Health Insurance vs. short-term and non-qualified plans
Since the release of the Affordable Care Act, plans have fit squarely into one of two categories. They either qualified or not qualified. The ACA widened the gap between the two. Non-qualified plans not only lacked the “10 essential health benefits” required to make them qualified, but they were missing other benefits. The largest was the unlimited Maximum Out of Pocket. The max out of pocket is an annual limit to the amount the insured member pays. In the worst case scenario, this is the end of the line. All qualified plans have these. Non-qualified plans do not.
The other large discrepancy has to do with health questions. Qualified plans do not ask health questions. They’re also prohibited from excluding coverage for pre-existing conditions. However, for non-qualified plans, they charge up, exclude the condition or even deny coverage altogether for pre-existing conditions. Even for members without pre-existing conditions, your recently developed health condition isn’t covered. We call this post-issue underwriting. The insurance company decides if they want to cover you after you’ve submitted your first claim.
The BANN Health Insurance plans released from Hometown Health meet the same requirements as qualified health plans.
There are numerous other differences but these are the largest. For the low level of actual coverage offered by these short-term companies, you would expect the price to be low as well. Instead, the price is just below what a qualified health plan costs. This gives the impression that it’s only missing the “stuff you’ll never use”. We wont know for sure until the BANN insurance policy is officially released.
Overall the Nevada Division of Insurance, as well as several consumer rights groups, have a strong position against short-term and non-qualified health plans. I can’t say it enough – qualified plans are significantly different than the short-term or non-qualified plans currently being sold by out of state companies.
Who can purchase these plans?
Today, more Qualified health plans, like the BANN Health Insurance plans offered through Hometown Health, are doing more to lower their prices. These plans offered through the Builders Association of Northern Nevada are not just for builders. In the past, only those with a contractors license were eligible for the plan. Today they’re offering these plans to anyone with an “associate” membership, aka non-builders.
Health plan members do need to be also members of BANN, but today they are discussing reduced BANN membership rates for those who purchase a BANN Health Insurance plan.
Contact our office for more details. As your health insurance broker, we do not charge fees and can walk you through setting up a policy.