KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

California Unveils Standards For Health Plans

By taking this step, California became the first state to standardize health insurance plans under the federal health law.

Los Angeles Times: California Reveals Details Of Health-Law Insurance Plans
Consumers are getting their first glimpse at what health insurance will look like in California as the state prepares to implement the federal health care law. On Wednesday, state officials will spell out the details on policies available next year to people buying their own coverage. In January 2014, most Americans will be required to have health insurance or face a penalty (Terhune, 2/13).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: California Sets Standard Deductibles, Copays For Insurance Plans
California on Wednesday became the first state to standardize health insurance plans under the federal health law, which regulators say will make shopping for health insurance easier when new online marketplaces begin enrolling customers in the fall (Appleby, 2/14).

The Associated Press: Calif. First To Set Standards For Health Benefits
California's health benefits exchange became the first in the nation Wednesday to set a standard benefits design to help people comparison shop for insurance under the federal health care overhaul. The move will help consumers more easily determine what kind of coverage they want to buy, said Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California (Lin, 2/13).

HealthyCal: Covered California Unveils Benefit Plans
California consumers got their first glimpse Wednesday at the insurance coverage that will be available later this year when the state implements the federal health reform known as the Affordable Care Act. The benefit plans and the first-year cost to consumers who will be eligible for federal subsidies were unveiled by Covered California, the agency in charge of implementing the new federal law, which Congress and President Obama adopted nearly three years ago and the US Supreme Court upheld last summer (Weintraub, 2/13).

Sacramento Bee: California Health Exchange Rolls Out Options
Millions of uninsured Californians will soon be required to buy health insurance or face a penalty, and Wednesday morning they got a glimpse of what to expect. Covered California, the organization responsible for implementing the federal health insurance overhaul, released a blueprint for what types of coverage will be available on the state's insurance marketplace. The Affordable Care Act requires state exchanges to be up and running by 2014. Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said the exchange will add some much-needed standards and transparency to California's health insurance market. "They are ready to play by the rules," Lee said of the insurance industry at a news conference. "They are ready to embrace the opportunity to compete not based on a shell game of hidden benefits but based on quality and value" (White, 2/14).

California Healthline: Standards Release A ‘Milestone’ For Exchange
Covered California, the state's health benefit exchange, yesterday released its benefit standards outlining the basis for choosing qualified health plans that will participate in the exchange. "This is another milestone for the exchange," said Diana Dooley, secretary of the state Health and Human Services Agency. "We have a lot of hurdles to get over, we still have a lot to do, but this is another successful milestone toward the health care reform effort." Covered California also submitted an intention to file emergency regulations with the Office of Administrative Law last week, outlining its pediatric dental benefit policy. The exchange is expected to file those regulations Friday, according to Brandon Ross, staff counsel for Covered California (Gorn, 2/14).

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