The California Medical Association and the Food & Drug Council have joined a statewide alliance that seeks to monitor developments in the California Health Benefit Exchange, the Sacramento Business Journal reports (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 8/29).
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.
Supporters hope that the exchange will function similar to websites like Amazon.com and Expedia.com so that users will be able to choose between various health plans through an easily navigable online store.
An estimated 4.4 million Californians are expected to use the exchange by the end of 2016.
Officials plan to open registration for the exchange in October 2013 (California Healthline, 8/27).
The alliance -- called the Healthcare Exchange Advocacy and Responsibility Team -- seeks to ensure that the exchange will lower costs, improve quality and expand health care access for residents.
HEART supports health plans that offer coordinated, team-based care.
The alliance has provided testimony as officials prepare to make decisions regarding health plan participation and network design issues.
Members of the alliance include:
- Businesses and unions;
- Health care providers, such as Dignity Health;
- Health insurers, such as Kaiser Permanente and Blue Shield of California; and
- Patient advocates.
Lisa Folberg, CMA vice president for medical and regulatory policy, said that family physicians belonging to CMA who support the concept of medical homes as a way to maximize the use of various health care workers and "bend the cost curve" encouraged the group to join HEART (Sacramento Business Journal