Public-Private Joint Effort Proposed for California's New State Health Insurance Exchange

Just-Released White Paper from CHOICE Administrators® Calls for Harnessing Existing Resources to Achieve Universal Coverage

Jun 09, 2010, 11:00 ET from CHOICE Administrators

ORANGE, Calif., June 9 /PRNewswire/ -- One of the most significant provisions contained in the new federal healthcare reform legislation is the establishment of health insurance exchanges designed to provide consumers greater choice and affordability. The legislation mandates that each state launch such exchanges by January 1, 2014.

Now, a new white paper released by the nation's leader in developing and administering health insurance exchanges says that Californians will be best served and the goals of universal coverage best achieved if the state "harnesses existing enrollment channels and commercial marketplace infrastructure in a bold new public-private partnership." According to the paper, employing such a strategy will allow California to "enroll as many eligible persons as possible with the least possible disruption to individuals or employers."

The white paper is the product of CHOICE Administrators, which has been successfully operating such exchange models since 1996. Its flagship product, CaliforniaChoice®, is America's oldest and most respected healthcare exchange for the small and mid-size employer market. Participating in CaliforniaChoice are Anthem Blue Cross; Health Net; Kaiser Permanente; Sharp Health Plan; Western Health Advantage; and numerous leading dental, vision, chiropractic and related ancillary benefit plans.

In noting that CaliforniaChoice has succeeded where previous and similarly structured state-run small-group exchanges failed, CHOICE Administrators Executive Vice President David Duker cautions that, "This time California cannot afford to get it wrong. The new exchange must work properly as millions of Californians will be depending on it. We want to advance into the conversation what we've learned from nearly 20 million member months of enrolling and administering coverage."    

Health insurance exchanges allow an individual or small business to compare the costs and benefits of various health plans and access available subsidies and tax credits. According to the health reform bill, small businesses with up to 100 employees can purchase health coverage for their employees in the state exchange. Beginning in 2017 states may allow businesses with more than 100 employees to purchase coverage in the exchange.

The new white paper entitled "Toward a Successful California Health Insurance Exchange" is available at www.choiceadmin.com/exchanges. In it the paper notes that California's exchange will be entering a "mature health insurance distribution marketplace" and outlines how the state exchange could operate as both a standalone entity and as a collaborative partner with existing distribution and enrollment channels, such as CaliforniaChoice. By harnessing private exchange partners and tapping into the existing network of brokers and other insurance agents, CHOICE Administrators President Ron Goldstein believes that California could achieve the goals set forth in the new health reform legislation "in the most efficient manner possible and without adding additional cost to the operations of the state exchanges.

"The state exchange needs to address the needs of the currently uninsured as well as those individuals and businesses that qualify for subsidies or tax credits," Goldstein continued. "This calls for a broad and inclusive outreach. Let's all work together to make this happen."

CHOICE Administrators® Exchanges is the nation's leader in developing and administering health insurance exchanges. Currently serving more than 10,500 employers and more than 180,000 members, CHOICE Administrators is a member of The Word & Brown Companies, the nation's leading developer and administrator of consumer-choice exchange models. Among the products currently operated by CHOICE Administrators are the CaliforniaChoice® small-group (2-50 employees) and mid-market (51+) private exchanges and Quotit, one of the nation's largest individual/family proposal and online enrollment systems that generated 2.5 million individual health quotes in 2009. Further information may be obtained at www.choiceadministrators.com.

SOURCE CHOICE Administrators



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