An Update on the California Health Insurance Exchange After Enrollment Begins

health insuranceAs many know, open enrollment for individuals across the nation in the new state health exchanges – including Covered California, the California health insurance exchange – began on October 1.

Around the same time, the federal government announced it would “shut down” due to a failure of Congress to reach an agreement on a spending resolution in lieu of a federal budget for FY 2014.

The shutdown so far has not impacted the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; state exchanges are now up and running, although glitches across the country have slowed or prevented widespread implementation.

That could change if Republicans in the House can get a resolution postponing ACA implementation for one year through the House and Senate and signed by the President. Such a provision would effectively push back the ACA – including Covered California – for another year, or at least the individual mandate portion. Due to resistance in the Senate from Democrats and from President Obama, though, such a development is unlikely.

Nevertheless, Governor Jerry Brown took action last week to extend health care coverage for individuals in California by signing into law an assortment of bills, which accomplish the following:

–          Require health insurers to notify individuals about guaranteed issue coverage from Covered California and its availability;

–          Excludes from income subsidies from employers to employees to compensate for higher federal taxes for same-sex spouses or domestic partnerships;

–          Mandates more extensive protections for confidentiality;

–          Creates new regulations for stop-loss insurance purchased by small employers with a grandfather clause for policies purchased before September 1, 2013;

–          Calls for information concerning the California health insurance exchange to be included on notifications given to students under the National School Lunch Program.

A number of events across the state are being scheduled to coordinate and assist with signups. The exchange does not expect a rush of people to sign up immediately; they anticipate enrollments increasing through the rest of the year as individuals become more informed about their options.


Filed under: Health Insurance, Healthcare Reform California, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, State Insurance Exchanges

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