Calif. Health Insurance Exchange Drawing More Interest in U.S. Debate
California's experience with a health insurance exchange is drawing more attention as Congress considers health care reform proposals that would include exchanges, the Wall Street Journal reports (Sanserino, Wall Street Journal, 8/3).
PacAdvantage was created by the state in 1992 as the Health Insurance Plan for California and was taken over in 1998 by Pacific Business Group. The independent, not-for-profit purchasing pool was intended to make a variety of health insurance plans more available and affordable for businesses with between two and 50 employees.
The health plans covered about 116,000 people in California when the exchange was terminated at the end of 2006 because too many insurers had withdrawn from the program (California Healthline, 8/14/06).
Lessons To Be Learned
John Ramey, a former head of the California Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board who helped develop the exchange, and others said the viability of exchanges depends on the government requiring eligible employers and individuals to participate in the exchange.Â
In addition, John Grgurina, who ran PacAdvantage from 2002 to its end in 2006, said the government also must write rules on rates and eligibility that would be aimed at keeping the exchange from covering a disproportionate share of high-risk people.
Elliot Wicks, a health care consultant who wrote a report on PacAdvantage, said health insurance exchanges are the most effective way to expand health insurance coverage.Â The report was commissioned by the California HealthCare Foundation; it was released last month (Wall Street Journal, 8/3).CHCF is the publisher of California Healthline. This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.