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You can keep your plan and other myths of health care reform

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Since most people on individual plans and to an extent, group plans, are going to have to have new coverage at some point during 2014, I want to make people aware of some things that aren't going to play out in health care reform like we thought.

Remember when President Obama said if you like your health plan, you can keep it? Well, that only applies really if you bought your current plan before March 23, 2010. Those plans in health care reform parlance are 'grandfathered.' Anything after that is not, and will not be 'Affordable Care Act' (ACA) compliant, and you can't keep those. Based on the health plan designs coming out now in our So Cal, I am not a big fan of most of these new plans. But this is what we are going to have to work with, until someone gets the hint and revisions in the legislation happen giving insurance carriers a bit more freedom in plan design.

Remember when you were told you can keep your doctor? That is going to be a big maybe. And the insurance carriers come up with plan designs, trying to keep costs down (?) they are also recontracting, developing new networks to be more cost effective. The biggest problem consistently are the higher cost providers of service, usually UCLA and Cedars Sinai. At this point those two facilities are not going to be in all networks, so choose carefully.

So, what it boils down to, whether you buy in or out of Covered California, you will need to search the provider and hospital network information to see if your preferred providers are going to be available. You can do it yourself or contact an agent to help you make these decisions. The Covered California Marketplace is allowing agents who go through their certification process to sell their products, so choosing an agent who's able to see in or out of the Marketplace will allow you to see all options.

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