There has been much speculation concerning the Affordable Care Act’s so called “Health Insurance Marketplaces” (formerly referred to as Health Insurance Exchanges). Many questions have been hanging in the air such as: 1. will insurance cos. choose to participate in these exchanges?; 2. how many insurers will opt to participate?; 3. what will premiums look like inside the exchange?; 4. will the exchanges be operational in time to place coverage effective 1/1/14? Today it was announced that the state of California’s exchange (which choose to operate its own exchange, rather than defaulting to the federal option) will initially have 13 plans available for purchase. What’s very interesting, if not revealing, is which insurers opted NOT to participate in CA’s exchange. My guess is, readers of this blog postl will recognize the insurers that opted NOT to participate better than the ones that opted TO participate, in CA’s exchanges.
As many as 5 million Californians next year will be able to shop for insurance from 13 health insurance plans, officials at Covered California, the state agency tasked with setting up its exchange, said Thursday.
Those plans are a combination of large commercial insurers and smaller regional plans. The state’s biggest carriers — Kaiser Permanente, Anthem Blue Cross of California, Blue Shield of California and Health Net Inc. — are participating, while some of the nation’s biggest carriers — UnitedHealth, Aetna and Cigna — are sitting out the Golden State altogether.
The other health plans include Alameda Alliance for Health, Chinese Community Health Plan, Contra Costa Health Services, L.A. Care Health Plan, Molina Healthcare, Sharp Health Plan, Valley Health Plan, Ventura County Health Care Plan and Western Health Advantage.
The exchange also released some sample rates, and they varied widely between plans.
The rates submitted to Covered California for the 2014 individual market ranged from 2 percent above to 29 percent below the 2013 average premium for small employer plans in the state’s most populous regions, officials said.
The average plan will carry a monthly premium of $300. But officials also noted that most people will receive a subsidy to help cover part of that cost.
“This is a home run for consumers in every region of California,” Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said in a statement. “Our active negotiating will not only benefit potential enrollees to Covered California, but will benefit all Californians by making health care affordable.”