Covered California Board Makes Changes Ahead of Oct. Launch
During a meeting last week, the board of California's health insurance exchange unanimously approved four last-minute resolutions ahead of open enrollment on Oct. 1, the Sacramento Business Journal reports (Arns, Sacramento Business Journal, 9/20).
Background on Exchange
The Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges -- which primarily will serve individuals and small businesses -- are designed to function similarly to websites like Amazon and Expedia, allowing users to choose among various health plans through an easily navigable online store (California Healthline, 9/16).
Details of Resolutions
One of the resolutions passed last week would make changes to the Small Business Health Options Program, including:
- Requiring less information from employers when signing workers up for SHOP plans;
- Including domestic partners as eligible dependents; and
- Establishing conditions for special enrollment periods (Sacramento Business Journal, 9/20).
Under the ACA, SHOP allows small businesses to offer either a single plan to all of their workers or select a benefit level and allow employees to choose among several plans offered at that level (California Healthline, 9/4).
Other resolutions passed by Covered California's board last week would make changes to:
- The eligibility and enrollment process and the appeals process for the exchange's individual health plans;
- Guidelines for enrollment in the individual health plans; and
- Rules for certified insurance agents participating in Covered California.
The state Office of Administrative Law must approve the resolutions.
Peter Lee -- executive director of Covered California -- said he is "confident" that the changes will be effective on Oct. 1.
Stakeholders largely did not object to the resolutions, according to the Journal.
However, some business advocates said the changes to SHOP do not go far enough.
David Chase -- state director for Small Business Majority -- said, "We know it's already complicated for [small businesses] and we don't want the (program) to be scaring them away with additional burdens" (Sacramento Business Journal, 9/20).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.