Business Wire –
July 24, 2013:
The head of America’s most successful private health insurance exchange said today that the future success of public and private exchanges will hinge on their ability to provide “broad choice in their health plan options” and “exceptional customer service to individuals and employer groups.”
“The concept of an exchange is new to most people, but they will be more likely to embrace this kind of option if they have a broad choice in carriers, plan design and out-of-pocket costs as well as other products and services that consumers want and need,” said Ron Goldstein, president and CEO of CHOICE Administrators, the company responsible for creating the CaliforniaChoiceprivate exchange. “Some of the feedback we are hearing in the market about the federal and many of the new state-run exchanges is that the choice of carriers is not as extensive as people had hoped it would be. Choice will be especially important to attract the younger and healthier citizens needed to make exchanges work.”
A pioneer of the private exchange health insurance model, CaliforniaChoicehas been offering wide-ranging choice and flexibility to the small to mid-market for 17 years, currently providing coverage for 10,000 employers and 150,000 individuals. The CaliforniaChoice private small group exchange provides a broad selection of six health plans with options for HMO, PPO and HSA plan designs. CaliforniaChoice rounds out its program by offering additional products and services from dental, vision and life to payroll services and value-added benefits like human resources support and Cal Perks discounts.
Exchanges are similar to health insurance “shopping malls” where consumers, employers, employees and brokers can compare plans side-by-side based on cost, provider network, benefit designs and other features. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandates that all U.S. states and territories establish and launch their own health insurance exchange by January 1, 2014, or default to a federal program. The government hopes exchanges will help reduce the more than 45 million Americans who are currently uninsured by driving down the cost of health insurance as companies compete for business on a level playing field.
In addition to a wide range of carriers and other services, Goldstein believes that “exceptional customer service” will be another strong test as to the success public exchanges and their ability to compete in the open market. “Consumers are looking for easy-to-use online tools supported by knowledgeable customer service representatives they can speak with over the phone to answer their questions and help them navigate through the system,” he said. “Similarly, employers want one administrative contact and simple paperwork regardless of how many plan designs their employees choose. New exchanges preparing for 2014 are destined to fail if they can’t excel in customer service.”
To date, 17 states and the District of Columbia have declared their intention to establish a state-based exchange, and an additional seven states are pursuing a state-partnership exchange in which the state plays a role in the development and operations of the federally facilitated exchange. The balance of the states has declined the opportunity to operate their own exchange and will instead be part of the federal exchange.
CaliforniaChoice is a division of CHOICE Administrators, the nation’s leading developer and administrator of consumer-choice insurance exchange models. The CaliforniaChoice private exchange offers California businesses and employees defined-contribution and employee-choice benefit plan options from health plans including Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente, Sharp Health Plan, and Western Health Advantage. In addition, CaliforniaChoice offers a selection of dental, vision, chiropractic and life options and provides customers with no-cost value-added services such as free online HR support and an employee discount program. Further information is available at www.calchoice.com