At a meeting of the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California on Friday, members expressed concern that planning of the California Health Benefit Exchange might be moving too fast, KQED's "State of Health" reports (Aliferis, "State of Health," KQED, 7/20).
About the Exchange
The federal health reform law requires states to launch online insurance marketplaces by 2014.
The California Health Benefit Exchange primarily will serve individuals and small businesses. An estimated 4.4 million California residents are expected to use the exchange by the end of 2016.
Officials plan to open registration for the exchange in October 2013 (California Healthline, 7/17).
Details of the Concerns
At the LCHC meeting, Board Director Gil Ojeda discussed the speed of exchange planning.
Ojeda said, "When you move a freight train at 90 miles an hour, some things are going to get put aside," referring to interim deadlines for health plans to determine essential health benefits for the exchange.
He questioned why essential benefits must be determined by September.
According to "State of Health," LCHC members also said that they are concerned that California does not have enough primary care providers to absorb the estimated three million residents who will be newly insured under the reform law ("State of Health," KQED, 7/20).
States have the option of expanding Medicaid coverage to individuals with incomes of up to 133% of the poverty level, according to the reform law. The law’s Medicaid expansion provision also will expand coverage to low-income adults who have no children (California Healthline, 7/16).
Ojeda said, "We don't have a chance of achieving the numbers (of primary care providers) we need by 2014" ("State of Health," KQED, 7/20).
On Friday, KQED's "The California Report" reported on a recent meeting in Oakland of the California Health Benefit Exchange Board (Kim, "The California Report," KQED, 7/20).