California unveils state exchange details

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California unveils state exchange details

For a quick overview of Covered California's individual rates vs. current small group rates - click here

As many as 5 million Californians will be able to shop for insurance from 13 health insurance plans next year, officials at Covered California, the state agency tasked with setting up its exchange, said Thursday.

Those plans are a combination of large commercial insurers and smaller regional plans. The state’s biggest carriers — Kaiser Permanente, Anthem Blue Cross of California, Blue Shield of California and Health Net Inc. — are participating, while some of the nation’s biggest carriers — UnitedHealth, Aetna and Cigna — are sitting out the Golden State altogether.

The other health plans include Alameda Alliance for Health, Chinese Community Health Plan, Contra Costa Health Services, L.A. Care Health Plan, Molina Healthcare, Sharp Health Plan, Valley Health Plan, Ventura County Health Care Plan and Western Health Advantage.

The exchange also released some sample rates, and they varied widely between plans.

The rates submitted to Covered California for the 2014 individual market ranged from 2 percent above to 29 percent below the 2013 average premium for small employer plans in the state’s most populous regions, officials said.

The average plan will carry a monthly premium of $300. But officials also noted that most people will receive a subsidy to help cover part of that cost.

Though Covered California Selected plans and premiums remain subject to review by state regulators.

“This is a home run for consumers in every region of California,” Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said in a statement. “Our active negotiating will not only benefit potential enrollees to Covered California, but will benefit all Californians by making health care affordable.”

Many had been eyeing California’s exchange information disclosure, as many assumed it might set a trend in other states. Enrollment in the exchanges is set to begin Oct. 1, with coverage beginning in January 2014.

Analysts and industry insiders have warned many would face “rate shock” for premiums under PPACA, but California’s rates were for the most part less expensive than expected.

On average, people in the larger metro-areas in California will be able to choose from among five different plans. Covered California officials say that even in rural areas where options have typically been sparse, people will have two or three health plans to choose from.

The agency said it will announce its options for small businesses to buy health insurance next month.

To download Covered California's Health Plans & Rates for 2014 click here.

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Original article at BenefitsPro

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