STATE HEALTH EXCHANGE ROLLS OUT BENEFITS FRAMEWORK, LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE
This week, Covered California launched a new consumer-facing website and social media channels that gave Californians who must pay for their own health insurance a glimpse at what their actual health coverage will ultimately entail.
The health benefits exchange will ensure that benefits plans offered through the exchange are standardized, so consumers can make "apples to apples" comparisons in selecting their plans.
"For consumers, having standard benefits designs is a game-changer," Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said at a press conference Wednesday. "It lets consumers shop from one insurance provider to the next, knowing that the benefits are the same."
California citizens who are not offered employer-provided coverage or qualify for Medi-Cal will turn to Covered California for their health coverage, or be forced to pay a penalty. Approximately 2.6 million Californians will have access to federal assistance to have the ability to purchase the coverage they want through the exchange, Lee said.
"For low-income Californians, they now know for certainty that come Jan. 1, 2014 for a family of four, they can have good health insurance that costs less than $100 per month and they can see a doctor for as little as $4," Lee said.
Insurance carriers will be required by the State of California to offer at least four levels of plans: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Households earning less than 250 percent of the federal poverty level can receive financial help if they enroll in a Silver plan. The less income they earn, the more financial assistance they can receive, according to Covered California. For example, individuals earning between 150 to 250 percent of the federal poverty level can expect to pay $20 to see their primary care physician, while those earning 100 to 150 percent would pay $4.
"We need to create a marketplace that recognizes that those upfront costs and out-of-pocket costs have to be affordable," said Ken Wood, Covered California senior adviser. "Come fall of 2013 when consumers are choosing their plans, we're going to help them make the best choice for them."
Covered California also unveiled a new website, CoveredCA.com, where consumers can find examples of benefits, costs and typical premium costs. The website includes fact sheets in English and Spanish, with 11 more languages in development. Covered California also has launched a presence on Facebook,Twitter, YouTube and Google+.
For more information, go online at CoveredCA.com.
Covered California’s newly launched website includes details for consumers in English and Spanish about benefits plans and cost estimates.