Special to the John & Rusty Report –
August 6, 2013:
CaliforniaChoice, the nation’s most successful small group private exchange, said today it welcomes the addition of Covered California into the state’s health insurance landscape. CaliforniaChoice launched its private health insurance exchange in California in 1996 and currently serves more than 10,000 employers and 150,000 individuals statewide.
“The very essence of a health insurance exchange is choice, so it is only appropriate employers have a choice between competing exchanges that offer differences in carriers, provider networks, customer service and distribution channels,” said Ron Goldstein, president and CEO of CHOICE Administrators®. “Competition makes everyone better, and consumers always win when competition is free and open,” he said. “That is why competition between private and public health insurance exchanges, both in California and around the country, is important.”
Last week Covered California announced the carriers who will be participating in its Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) marketplace. Some of this network overlaps the long-established network of CaliforniaChoice, widely considered one of the best health insurance exchanges in the country with coverage from 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.
“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,” said Goldstein. “We also believe strongly in the importance and power of brokers who are best equipped to provide the information and unbiased recommendations purchasers need to make well-informed decisions as well as provide service for routine matters and serious policy interpretation issues. That is why CaliforniaChoice is, and always has been, sold exclusively through brokers.”
Small businesses are not required to enroll in Covered California’s SHOP, and there is no penalty for not participating or for not providing health insurance to their employees. Goldstein said he hopes the attention surrounding the creation of health insurance exchanges nationwide will cause employers to take a new look at CaliforniaChoice , which allows business owners to offer choice of coverage with defined contribution and employee choice at a price point they and their employees can afford.
Exchanges, both public and private, 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 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.
CaliforniaChoice is a division of CHOICE Administrators, the nation’s leading developer and administrator of consumer-choice insurance exchange models. Further information is available at www.calchoice.com.