January 18th, 2019
The current partial government shutdown — which has been in effect since Dec. 22, 2018 — is the longest shutdown in U.S. history. Unlike past shutdowns, the government is not completely closed. However, due to the prolonged nature of the shutdown, employers are starting to feel its effects. This article provides an overview of how the shutdown is affecting private employers in the United States.
January 7th, 2019
The current federal minimum wage rate is $7.25 per hour. However, many states have adopted minimum wage rates higher than the federal rate. When the state rate and the federal rate are different, employers must pay their employees the higher rate.
The following states have adopted new minimum wage rates for 2019:
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- Washington D.C
Affected employers should review their employees’ pay rates and update their minimum wage poster notices as necessary to ensure compliance with local wage and hour regulations.Important Dates
December 31, 2018
New minimum wage rate effective in New York.
January 1, 2019
New minimum wage rates [...]
November 14th, 2018
Date: November 9, 2018
Attn: Core and Premier Accounts
There are a number of wildfires underway in California. We are working hard to ensure the safety and care of all Blue Shield of California members.
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for:
- The Hill Fire (Ventura County) is at ~10,000 acres in size. Mandatory evacuations are in zip codes, 93010, 93012, and 93066. New zip codes affected are 93041, 93033, and 91320.
- New Woolsey Fire (LA and Ventura County is at 8,000 acres in size. Mandatory evacuations are in 91361, 91362, 91301, 91302, 91367, 91377, 90265, 90263, 91307, 91360, and 93065.
- The Camp Fire (Butte County) is 20,000 acres in size. Mandatory evacuations are in zip codes 95969, 95965, 95967, 95928, and 95954. New zip code 95978.
Blue Shield’s response to fires:
- We are [...]
November 13th, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 10, 2018
CONTACT: Eric Lail
Anthem Blue Cross
Anthem Blue Cross Supporting People Affected by Wildfires in Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties
THOUSAND OAKS – Anthem Blue Cross (Anthem) is taking action to help people affected by the wildfires in Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura counties by revising medical and pharmacy guidelines that will help ensure members can access needed care and prescription medications. Anthem Blue Cross is also providing resources to access medical treatment or support via Anthem’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Anthem’s LiveHealth Online telehealth service.
For impacted members, Anthem is:
- Relaxing time limits for prior authorization, pre-certification and referral requirements.
- Suspending early refill limits for prescriptions.
- Allowing replacement of medical equipment or supplies.
- Extending filing deadlines for claims.
These medical and pharmacy guidelines are effective from November [...]
October 25th, 2018
Anthem Blue Cross is updating pharmacy information on their ID cards to give their members a better experience at the drugstore. Your clients will receive a new ID card at renewal, starting in October 2018 and continuing through April 1, 2019. Groups scheduled to renew between May 2019 and October 1, 2019 will get a new ID card off renewal in the months of February and March 2019.Pharmacy changes
The new ID card will reflect new, Anthem-owned BIN and PCN numbers (used for processing prescription drug claims) and toll-free numbers for Pharmacy Member Services. These changes will help direct members and pharmacists to the right support, when they have questions about drug benefits.
Most members (about 85%) will get new cards during their plan’s regular renewal period, even if they don’t have any changes to their benefits at that [...]
September 21st, 2018
Dignity Health Medical Network – Sequoia will no longer be offering medical services effective November 1st, 2018.
All existing members of Anthem plans that receive care from a Dignity Health facility were mailed notices that provided them with information regarding assignment to new contracted providers. There are certain situations that would allow for a member to continue care with their existing provider. These circumstances are based on individual medical need and/or the provider establishing practice within another Anthem participating group.
Should you or any of your employees have questions or concerns regarding this change, please contact Anthem Blue Shield at 1-800-HMO-2219, download their FAQ, or feel free to contact us at SL Goodell Insurance Services, Inc. and we will be happy to assist you.
August 9th, 2018
The planned expansion of short-term health plans under a new Trump administration rule unveiled this week is on a crash course with a brick wall in California.
The Golden State’s Democrat-dominated legislature is close to banning such plans, which offer consumers lower premiums in exchange for skimpier benefits that do not meet the Affordable Care Act’s coverage requirements for other policies sold in the individual marketplace.
A bill that would prohibit the sale of short-term plans, by state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), has already passed the California Senate and is pending in the Assembly, where two committees have given it a green light.
“Trump’s team continues to do everything possible to destabilize our insurance market and compromise the health care of millions of Californians, but I won’t let that happen,” Hernandez said in a written statement. “This is why the California State Legislature must pass my measure, SB 910, which [...]
June 2nd, 2018
On Friday, May 29th, 2018, news came out that the FBI is recommending everyone reboot their routers as a precaution. It seems the agency had discovered a malware threat called VPNFilter, which has currently infected over half a million devices. Routers from Linksys, Netgear, Mikrotik, QNAP, and TP-Link are susceptible. However, simply rebooting the device will on disrupt the hacker’s malware for a short time – time that the FBI is hoping to capitalize on and identify more infected devices.
Linksys is recommending a factor reboot, firmware update, and a change of password.
June 1st, 2018
June 1, 2018
Blue Shield of California and Stanford Health have signed a new multi-year agreement June 1, 2018 for Stanford Medical Center and its physicians and Affinity Medical Group, which had a potential termination date of July 1, 2018. This means that Stanford Medical Center and its physicians are again part of Blue Shield’s statewide network with no lapse as an in-network provider for contracted networks.
Blue Shield negotiates with providers with the goal of obtaining rates that help us keep healthcare coverage affordable. While we cannot provide details on the specifics of the contract with Stanford Health, we are pleased to be able to continue to give our members access to these providers.
If you have questions, please contact your account representative.
- Letters to commercial HMO/POS members assigned to an Affinity Medical Group PCP will be [...]
May 11th, 2018
Blue Shield of California and Stanford Health (Stanford) are engaged in discussions to renegotiate the terms of Stanford’s hospital agreement (HMO/PPO) for Stanford Medical Center/Stanford Healthcare-University Healthcare Alliance PPO professional services, Valleycare Medical Center, and Valley Memorial Hospital (LTC) serving Alameda and Santa Clara counties. Since we have not reached a new agreement, our contract for Stanford Medical Center/Stanford Healthcare-University Healthcare Alliance PPO professional services has expired, effective April 30, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. The contracts for Valleycare Medical Center, and Valley Memorial Hospital (LTC) remain in effect through May 31, 2018. Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital is not part of this contract termination. Members who have used Stanford Medical Center/Stanford Healthcare-University Healthcare Alliance PPO professional services in the last 12-month period will receive notification of this termination on May 4, 2018, providing them with alternate network facilities and advising [...]