A strong California Medigap carrier
Anthem Blue Cross of California has a been a dominant fixture in the California health insurance market for decades now and their participation in the California Medigap market is no exception.
One of the key concerns when shopping for Medicare supplement plans is a carrier's strength and stability in the market since the purchase can echo decades into the future. Anthem Blue Cross definitely looks good in this light since they are one of the original providers of Medigap plans and can be considered as a leader in the market. Let's dig a little deeper into their participation, pricing, and plan design in the California market.
Anthem's Position in the California Health Market
In most states, Blue Cross and Blue Shield are the same company. California, as always, is very unique in that the two are separate companies for the individual, family, small group, and Senior medigap markets. They each offer their own plans and options for supplements.
Once that's clear, let's look at Blue Cross of California which is part of the Anthem nationwide company.
Anthem Blue Cross is one of the first companies in California to offer Medicare supplement plans to the Senior market which makes sense in that Medigap plans are the senior equivalent to PPO plans and Cross has a strong presence in the PPO marketplace among all segments of health insurance.
The alternative to PPO's would be HMO and the alternative to Medigap plans (used interchangeably with Medicare supplement) would be Advantage plans which are the new derivatives of old senior HMO's from a decade ago.
Let's get back to California Medicare supplement plans. Blue Cross of California has offered many of the available standardized plans allowed by Medicare. They were even one of the first to offer a high deductible F plan under the branding of Smart Choice which is still around.
Anthem's Current Place in the Medigap Market
Currently, Anthem Blue Cross of California offers the F high deductible, N, A, G, and Standard F Medicare supplement plans. This offering may change over the course of time as it does with all carriers although the A, F, and F high deductible are standards for Anthem Blue Cross California Medigap.
As with most carriers across the country, the F plan (not high deductible option) continues to be the most popular California Medigap plan and for good reason since it covers all major gaps of traditional Medicare and at a good premium to benefit comparison.
The key comparison is with the F high deductible option in our view since this plan still covers all the important holes in original Medicare but uses a deductible to reduce the premium. How do you go about comparing the two plans?
How to Compare Anthem's Popular Medigap Plans
First, take the monthly premium difference over a year's time. We can run those quotes for you.
Next, compare this annualized premium difference against the potential deductible amount you would pay under the California F high deductible plan. That gives you a baseline.
If you do not have sizeable medical expenses now (outside of medication), the savings in premium looks pretty attractive. Keep in mind that your decision will likely travel with you for a long time especially if health changes so it's best to assume worst case (you reach full deductible) to know what the potential risk is for a bad year. You now have the best case of the California high deductible F plan (full savings on the premium side) and the worst case (meet full deductible minus the premium savings). This gives you the the opposite extremes and you can expect many years to be in between depending on your health status.
Now, it's a question of your risk comfort level.
Also, if you have large health issues, the California high deductible F plan will probably not be the right choice.
Either way, Anthem Blue Cross of California offers both Medigap options and we feel comfortable with them as a strong carrier in the senior California medigap market for years to come.