Covered California To Post Some Quality Measures for Health Plans
At a Covered California board meeting on Thursday, state health insurance exchange officials said that they will seek to post quality information for certain health plans as soon as possible, despite delaying implementation of a quality rating system for all plans until 2015, the Sacramento Business Journal reports (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 8/23).
Background on Exchange
The exchange -- named Covered California -- primarily will serve individuals and small businesses.
Supporters hope that the exchange will function similarly to websites like Amazon and Expedia so that users will be able to choose among various health plans through an easily navigable online store.
The exchange is expected to open for registration in October.
Details of Quality Ratings
The Affordable Care Act requires states by 2016 to provide quality information for all plans participating in their health insurance exchanges.
California previously was among several states that said they would implement a new quality rating system for health insurers this fall, two years earlier than required under the law.
Details of Delay
However, exchange officials earlier this month said that they will delay posting quality ratings for insurers that offer plans through the exchange.
Peter Lee -- executive director of Covered California -- said that currently available insurer data are out of date and only cover plans that differ significantly from those that will be offered through the exchange.
He said, "These factors raise substantial concerns that the historic performance of plans may not be representative or complete enough to allow for direct comparisons between plans" (California Healthline, 8/12).
During the meeting on Thursday, members of the exchange board expressed concern that the rating information will not be available during the first year of the exchange's operation.
Kim Belshe, a board member, said, "Consumers need data when they make their decisions."
According to the Sacramento Business Journal, Covered California officials responded that they will seek to post quality measures that health plans already report as soon as possible in cases where provider networks in the exchange have at least an 80% overlap with current networks.
Lee said of the timeline, "Whether it will be January  or April, I don't know."
During the meeting, the board also:
- Said negotiations are progressing for VSP to offer supplemental vision insurance through the exchange;
- Announced that the exchange will delay launching its "navigator" program until open enrollment in 2014; and
- Approved performance targets for hand-offs between the exchange and the welfare consortia responsible for eligibility and enrollment in Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program (Sacramento Business Journal, 8/23).