Health Benefit Exchange Board Continues Efforts


The California Health Benefit Exchange Board, at its meeting here this week, heard a variety of panelists present recommendations and concerns regarding the Exchange's task of certifying Qualified Health Plans to offer coverages through the Exchange starting in 2014.

Panels included: an overview of the California health insurance market, regulatory structure and major purchasing strategies, which included research conducted by a UC Berkeley professor; a discussion of major purchasing strategies and consumer reactions, which included union health plan representatives and a former director of the health exchange in Massachusettes; and recommendations from provider and consumer representatives, which included representatives of the California Association of Health Plans, the California Medical Association, and the California Health Association.

Copies of PowerPoint presentations discussed during each panel will be available soon on the California Health Benefit Exchange website:  Already posted, and available by clicking HERE is an overview, developed by Peter Lee, executive director of the California Health Benefit Exchange, indicating the mission of the Exchange and its timelines for bringing the Exchange into operation by Jan. 1, 2014.   

The Exchange, mandated by the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the federal health care reform law sometimes called "Obamacare"), is charged with creating a marketplace in which individuals and small employers can shop for competitively-priced health insurance coverage.  Subsidies will be provided for low-income individuals and tax credits will be available for small businesses to offset the cost of purchasing coverage.  The Exchange intends to offer a handful of tiers of standardized coverages--which proponents say will substantially reduce the number of uninsured Californians and at the same time improve health care and lower costs.