Calif. Lawmakers Mull Bill Linking Vision Care Plans to Exchange
California lawmakers are considering a bill (AB 1877) that would establish a separate marketplace for stand-alone vision insurance plans that would be linked to Covered California, the state health insurance exchange, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
According to the Business Journal, only pediatric vision care is offered by health plans through the Covered California exchange.
Details of Bill
AB 1877 would establish a vision care access council to:
- Create contracts with vision plans;
- Manage a separate vision care marketplace; and
- Work with Covered California to link the two marketplaces.
The vision care marketplace initially would be funded by vision insurers, who would pay:
- About $250,000 to launch the marketplace; and
- Up to "low millions" of dollars in start-up costs.
Annual operating costs -- estimated to be about $5 million -- would be covered by fees paid by participating vision care plans.
Assembly member Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova), the bill's sponsor, said the measure has been amended several times to ensure that it will not use state money.
Vision Plan's Support of Bill
Sacramento-based vision care insurer VSP is supporting the bill and pushing for its passage.
VSP President Jim McGrann said that not offering adult vision care through the state health insurance exchange creates "a gap in health care coverage for Californians," adding that vision care is "not available for adults who need it."
McGrann said, "Stand-alone vision plans are an effective preventive health measure to improve patient health outcomes and reduce health care costs" (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 6/23).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.