California Faces Implementation Tasks for Health Benefit Exchange
California officials areÂ working to complete several tasks before beginning enrollment for the state health insurance exchange next fall, the Sacramento Bee reports (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 11/17).
About the Exchange
The federal health reform law requires states to launch online insurance marketplaces by 2014. California's exchange -- recently named Covered California -- primarily will serve individuals and small businesses.
Supporters hope that the exchange will function similar to websites like Amazon and Expedia so that users will be able to choose between various health plans through an easily navigable online store.
The exchange is expected to open for registration in October 2013 (California Healthline, 11/15).
Officials estimate that between 150,000 and 430,000 individuals will have enrolled by Jan. 1, 2014 (Sacramento Bee, 11/17).
They expect that about 4.4 million Californians will be using the exchange by the end of 2016 (California Healthline, 11/15).
Dooley Predicts 'Heavy Lift'
California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley said that preparing the exchange for enrollment within one year is "a very, very heavy lift," adding, "The timeline is extraordinarily ambitious."
Details of Tasks
Over the next year, health benefit exchange officials and Accenture, the exchange's contractor, must develop a statewide online enrollment system.
In addition, officials most negotiate with more than 30 health insurers on coverage and pricing details in 19 separate regions of the state.
Exchange officials also must convince uninsured individuals to enroll in the exchange (Sacramento Bee, 11/17). Officials plan to spend nearly $90 million next year to market the exchange.
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide has receivedÂ a $900,000 contract from exchange officialsÂ to coordinate communications and outreach efforts.
The exchange's public relations plan states, "A number of popular television programs and personalities such as 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Modern Family,' 'The Biggest Loser,' 'Dr. Oz' and others will be approached and pitched to incorporate story lines or mentions of health care reform that would reinforce campaign messages."In addition to using conventional marketing strategies, officials are planning to increase grass-roots efforts at churches, cultural events and schools to promote the exchange (California Healthline, 11/14). 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.