Sacramento Business Journal by Christopher Arns –
August 1, 2013:
The state’s new health insurance exchange on Thursday unveiled how much small businesses in the program will pay for insurance starting this fall — one day after the man tasked with marketing the program to employers announced his resignation.
Covered California released its rates Thursday for the exchange’s Small Business Health Options Program, known as SHOP. The rates, which vary by region, can be found online at the Covered California website. The exchange, in a news release, said SHOP premiums “are generally comparable to 2013 small-group market rates and, in some cases, can save small businesses money on their premiums.”
The exchange also announced Thursday that Blue Shield of California, Chinese Community Health Plan, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente, Sharp Health Plan and Western Health Advantage, have been selected to participate in SHOP. All but Sharp and the Chinese Community Health Plan are providing coverage in the four-county Sacramento region.
Businesses with fewer than 50 employees will be able to buy health insurance for workers when open enrollment starts Oct. 1.
The announcement comes a day after Michael Lujan, head of sales and marketing for the small business program, submitted his resignation.
According to exchange spokesman Santiago Lucero, Lujan is returning to the private sector and “has accomplished what he came for.”
The resignation is considered by some to be another setback for Covered California’s small business program. Anthem Blue Cross, the state’s largest small business insurer, announced in July it would not participate in the small-biz exchange after California Department of Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones recommending barring the company from participating. Jones had criticized Anthem for a history of “unreasonable” rate increases.