*California WILL set up its own health insurance exchange website
*California WILL participate in expanded Medicaid benefits under the Affordable Care Act.
A New Health Insurance Exchange For California
California was one of the first states to create its own exchange which is called Covered California and can be found here: http://coveredca.com/. Please understand that right now there is only information on the website and you cannot actually sign up or search for insurance yet. October 2013 is the target month for the official opening of the exchange.
There is already controversy around California’s new exchange. They are claiming that they have successfully negotiated rates that are lower than many people estimated and in fact reduce premiums for many. The political left in California has been quick to triumphantly call the exchange a big success.
However, closer scrutiny shows that their data compares today’s individual rates with proposed small business group rates under ObamaCare. When comparing what an individual would pay today versus what they would pay when the ACA kicks in, the rates are in fact much higher (more than double in some cases). Please read more about this here.
Update 7/30/2013 – It has now been announced that Anthem Blue Cross will NOT offer insurance plans in the exchange to small businesses. This comes on the heels of the announcement from UnitedHealth Group, Inc., and Aetna, Inc. that they would not be offering any individual health insurance plans in California through the new exchange.
Update 8/6/2013 – Twelve insurers have signed up to offer individual plans on the Covered California exchange:
Alameda Alliance for Health – Dropped off exchange on 11/1/2013
Anthem Blue Cross of California
Blue Shield of California*
Chinese Community Health Plan*
Contra Costa Health Plan
L.A. Care Health Plan
Sharp Health Plan*
Valley Health Plan
Western Health Advantage*
* These insurers will also offer small business health plans
Expanded Medicaid In California With the Affordable Care Act
Medicaid in California is known as Medi-Cal and Governor Jerry Brown has always been on board with expanding it. However, the details of its expansion have been sketchy and word is that the legislators in California are at odds on how to accomplish it. Anything like this will cost the state millions of dollars and ultimately that means higher taxes.
As of June 1, 2013 there is no official word on expanded Medi-Cal.