(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Update: Aug. 7, 2013: Covered California announced Wednesday that 12 insurance companies have formally signed contracts with the agency to offer plans on the new marketplace. Since the initial announcement (below), one company, Ventura County Health Plan, has withdrawn from offering coverage on the marketplace. The following companies will offer plans on the marketplace, although not all companies will offer plans in every region of California:
· Alameda Alliance for Health
· Anthem Blue Cross of California
· Blue Shield of California
· Chinese Community Health Plan
· Contra Costa Health Plan
· Health Net
· Kaiser Permanente
· L.A. Care Health Plan
· Molina Healthcare
· Sharp Health Plan
· Valley Health Plan
· Western Health Advantage
Last week, Covered California announced tentative plans and premiums for its small business marketplace, also called SHOP.
The state’s health insurance exchange, Covered California, announced Thursday morning the plans and premiums that will be available to millions of Californians.
And what everyone wants to know is: how much will it cost. Experts had warned of “rate shock,” that premiums might skyrocket for all kinds of reasons. That has not happened.
Covered California says that individuals will pay an average premium of $321 per month for a “silver” plan. (More on silver plans below.) Many people will be eligible for subsidies to reduce that cost further.
Across the state, people who had been working toward this day seemed to heave a collective sigh of relief.
“This is a home run for consumers in every region of California,” said Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, in a release to reporters. “Californians should be proud of how not only health plans in this state, but doctors, medical groups and hospitals have stepped up — creating a market that will allow millions of consumers to enroll in affordably priced products.”
Charles Bacchi, executive vice president with the California Association of Health Plans called it an “important day” and commended both insurance companies and providers for working together “to deliver quality, affordable health care. We couldn’t have done this without providers willing to join us to make the Affordable Care Act a success,” he said in a reference to provider groups working to keep rates low.
The plans on the exchange are required to offer a standard set of comprehensive benefits. It’s hard to compare premiums next year to what’s in place this year, since there is no standard set of benefits at present. Covered California chose as the best comparison the average premium for a small business plan. The rates in Covered California range from 2 percent above to 29 percent below that benchmark. Continue reading