Exchange Official Says Thousands Might Leave Job-Based Health Plans
Peter Lee -- executive director of Covered California -- said that a few hundred thousand state residents might choose to forgo employer-sponsored health insurance to sign up for health plans offered through the state health insurance exchange, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reports (Bartolone, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 3/5).
The Affordable Care Act requires states to launch online insurance marketplaces by 2014. California's exchange -- 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 (California Healthline, 3/5).
In an interview with "KXJZ News," Lee said that he does not expect employers to stop offering health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
He said, "To make this whole health system work, employers need to stay in the game," adding, "We need to keep employers offering employer-based coverage, and [Covered California] become[s] a backstop for where they aren't offering that coverage or for individuals right now who have no place to go."
According to Lee, if an employer is offering inadequate coverage, an "employee can come to us and get a federal subsidy and get health care through Covered California."
However, he said that an individual's ability to benefit from the switch depends on several factors, such as their income.Lee added that the number of people who might leave their employer-based health insurance to enroll in Covered California health plans is small compared to the five million individuals expected to participate in the exchange ("KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 3/5). 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.