California Carrier Partner Updates


Here is an overview of updates from our California carrier, health plan, and administrator partners. For details, click on the related link (if any).

Bonus Updates

  • Aetna

    • Ongoing Broker Bonus: Aetna’s bonus of up to $100 on each new employee enrolled in groups of up to 100 eligibles continues through 12/31/2024. (Bonus amount varies based on group size and employees enrolled.) A bonus is payable on fully insured and Aetna Funding AdvantageSM plans. Extra credits apply for Dental and Vision sold alongside Medical. Visit our Newsroom for details.

  • Delta Dental
    • Small Business Broker Rewards: Delta Dental’s Small Business Broker Rewards Program can help you earn added comp on new and retained business for eligible groups of 2-99 lives. Read our Newsroom post to learn more or to download the Delta Dental flyer.

Medical​ Coverage

  • Multiple Carriers

    • Q3 Quoting: Word & Brown has received Q3 updates or rate passes from Anthem Blue Cross, CaliforniaChoice, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente, Sharp Health Plan, Sutter Health Plus, UnitedHealthcare, and Western Health Advantage. Log in to quote now or contact your W&B rep for quoting assistance.

    • Updated Checklists: Several of our California carrier partners have updated their submission checklists. Look for the latest versions in our Insurance Forms Library.
    • HSA Contribution Limits for 2025: Health Equity recently published the Health Savings Account (HSA) contribution limits for 2025. The maximum contribution level is increasing to $4,300 for individuals (up from $4,150) and $8,550 for families (up from $8,300). The limit on catch-up contributions for those 55 and over continues to be $1,000. Read HealthEquity’s Remark Blog for information of minimum HDHP deductibles and maximum HDHP out-of-pocket expenses.
    • Cigna + Oscar Alternatives: Talk with your Word & Brown representative about special underwriting promotions some of our carrier partners are offering for groups coming off Cigna + Oscar (with their pending exit from the Small Group commercial market). Not all carriers are actively promoting their limited time offers.
  • Anthem Blue Cross
  • Blue Shield of California
    • Contract Termination Rescinded: Blue Shield and Providence Health Plan have reached a new contract extension. The termination slated for May 31, 2024, has been rescinded. Blue Shield members have continued in-network access to Providence doctors, clinics, and hospitals.
    • Mental Well-being Resources: Blue Shield offers a variety of resources to promote positive mental health practices, including LifeReferrals 24/7 and flyers for Headspace and Headspace Care. Visit the Blue Shield website or download your flyer copies today from our Insurance Forms Library. For information about other carriers’ resources on mental health, refer to Word & Brown’s Mental Health Benefits Comparison released in April 2024.
    • Forms Updates: For Q3, Blue Shield has amended several forms, including the Master Group Application, Employee Application, Group Change Request, and Subscriber Change Request. Be sure you have the latest forms for your Q3 enrollments. Download copies from W&B’s online Insurance Forms Library.
    • New NorCal Alliance: Blue Shield and Altais have joined forces to offer complex care services for eligible members in Northern California. As of May 2024, complex care is available in five counties (Alameda, Contra Consta, Santa Clara, San Francisco, and San Mateo). Five additional counties (Marin, Napa, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma) are being added later this year.
    • 2025 Large Group Plans: New Virtual Blue PPO savings portfolios are expanding for next year for Large Groups. Four new plan designs with a fertility rider and a new enhanced Rx $15/50% pharmacy rider are also being added. Another change coming is a pharmacy network expansion for members with hemophilia starting 1/1/2025.
  • ​​​​CaliforniaChoice
    • Rate Guide Summary: CaliforniaChoice has released a Q3 Rate Guide Summary for Medical plan offerings. Download your copy today.
    • Forms Change: As reported previously, CaliforniaChoice has updated its Employer Application and Employer Change Request Form. Prior editions are no longer being accepted for business/renewals with June 2024 or later effective dates.
  • Cigna + Oscar
    • Early Renewal/Small Group Market Exit: The two companies have announced they will exit the Small Group market as of December 15, 2024. However, Cigna + Oscar will allow current groups to renew early (for coverage effective 12/1/2024) to maintain coverage throughout most of 2025. Groups will need to provide notice 60 days in advance (by 10/1/2024). Groups renewed with an early renewal date of 12/15/2024 will terminate 12/14/2025. Quoting for renewals and new business between now and the end of the year will be available exclusively through your Oscar account. Contact your W&B rep to discuss possible Cigna + Oscar alternatives for 2025.
  • E.D.I.S.
    • Savings Reminder: Employer Driven Insurance Services (E.D.I.S.) wants to remind brokers how group clients can save with a Level Funded Medical Expense Reimbursement Plan (MERP) and other Employer Dirven Health Plan (EDHP) options. Ask your rep for details on what’s hot!
  • Health Net
    • Self-Service Tools: A revised Broker Portal Guide is available from Health Net. Download yours from Word & Brown’s online Insurance Forms Library.
    • Q3 Presentation: Health Net has released its Q3 2024 California Small Group Business presentation for brokers. Download your copy today.
    • Participation Requirements Reminder: Health Net has sent reminders of the insurer’s participation for Small Group Medical. For groups enrolling 5-100 employees, enroll five or more owners and employees plus 25% participation excluding valid waivers (IFP, Medical-Cal, Medicare, or spousal group plan). For groups enrolling 6-100 employees, enroll six owners and employees with no other participation required. Write Health Net as a full take-over or wrap. For groups enrolling 1-4 employees, 70% participation is required. A wrap is not a valid waiver for groups of this size. Ask your W&B rep for mix and match details.
    • Wellness and Value-Added Programs Flyer: Health Net has published a Wellness and Value-Added Programs flyer that summarizes access, programs, and condition management. Download your copy today. Also available is a Wellness Rewards Program FAQs flyer.
    • Contract Renewal: Health Net and Dignity Health have agreed to a new four-year contract (through 04/30/2028), which will allow Health Net members to visit 27 Dignity Health owned-and-operated facilities throughout California.
  • Humana
    • No-Added-Cost Benefits When Bundling: For groups bundling three lines of group benefits – one of which is Disability – Humana is offering an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) solution through Telus. Ask your W&B rep for details.
  • Nippon Life Benefits
    • New Options: Nippon Life has new options available for select groups. These include LYNX, a Group Medical product for foreign-owned companies; Large Group Medical for 101+ eligible employee groups; international benefits like Medical and Rx when traveling outside the U.S.; Quest Select outpatient lab benefits; Teladoc®; and a range of Ancillary products to pair with Medical. For more information, ask your rep.
  • Sutter Health Plus
  • UnitedHealthcare
    • New Guides: UnitedHealthcare has published its 2024 Producer Performance Guide for California brokers. Also available is a 2024 Small Business Product Catalog. Download the latest UnitedHealthcare forms from our Insurance Forms Library.
    • Quoting for Idaho Employees: If you are quoting a group with an out-of-state employee in Idaho, at this time our quoting system cannot accommodate a UnitedHealthcare rule concerning enrollment in Select Plus plans. Please reach out to your W&B rep for an accommodation.

Ancillary & Other​ Coverage

  • Aetna

    • Standalone Dental Quoting: Standalone plans are now available for Aetna Dental. That means for allowable SIC Codes, you can get a quote on Aetna Dental where no Aetna Medical plan is being quoted. Ask your rep for details.
  • Ameritas
    • Forms Update: The Ameritas microsite for Word & Brown brokers offers access to the most up-to-date California Small Group (2-100) Ameritas forms. Ameritas forms are no longer part of the Word & Brown Insurance Forms Library.
  • Anthem Blue Cross
    • Bundling Update: A bundling discount from Anthem continues to be available on Dental and/or Vision added or sold in combination with Medical.
  • ChoiceBuilder
    • Q3 Changes: Rates for Chiropractic & Acupuncture from Landmark Healthplan have increased for the third quarter. There are no changes for Dental, Vision, and Life.
  • Guardian
    • Large Group Capabilities and Collateral: Guardian is encouraging brokers to take some time to get to know about the carrier’s expanded Large Group capabilities. New services include Administrative Services Only (ASO) for Dental, Vision, and Short-Term Disability, a Claims Direct Bill Option, Spring Health mental health solutions, and enrollment support free on new business and add-issue opportunities. Download the Guardian AccessTM brochure, ASO Direct Billing pdf, Spring Health overview flyer, and Enrollment Capabilities pdf.
  • Humana
  • UnitedHealthcare
    • “Activate the Savings” Is Back: For June 2024 through January 2025 effective dates, UnitedHealthcare is bringing back the “Activate the Savings” program. It’s available when groups of 10+ subscribers add Dental with another Specialty line. Get a one-time credit of up to $5,000 per group. Download the flyer or ask your rep for details.
For details on any of these California updates, contact your Word & Brown representative.


Most Recent Articles
Carrier Updates
Carrier Updates