I was able to attend “Covered California’s” first town hall meeting yesterday.  The event was held at UC Riverside.  For those of your who are unaware Covered California is the state health exchange that California has created to facilitate the new health care form act here in California.  It was very well done with a lot of information.

There were many important talking points we should discuss, but the one that is at the forefront of my mind is how committed California is to this new act.  They seem to be very organized and very excited about the future of health care in California.

Here is some additional important information:

  • Covered California is managed by a 5 member board who are all volunteers
  • California was the first state to put an exchange in place.  It is a separate state entity not part of any other branch or department
  • They truly believe that this will be more affordable for Californians.  They did however state that   1.3 million Californians currently on a individual health care plans will see an average increase of 20% on there premiums.
  • This will be the same coverage offered to members of congress and their staff in California
  • By January 1, 2015 the exchange needs to be self-funded.  Right now federal money is funding the program.  They said this would be done through a 3% charge on all plans.
  • Licensed insurance agents will be able to help clients buy on the exchange as long as they take a certification class.  The main idea of the class is to make sure that the agent is not just selling plans he gets paid on.  An agent’s only job through the exchange will be to explain all available plans and let the consumer choose
  • Negotiations with carriers should end in May.  This means we should know more about the available plans in June
  • In the Inland Empire alone there are 750,000 people that will be eligible for a subsidy through the exchange
  • State Controller John Chiang was at the meeting and stated that for the last 30 years the total cost of Health Care for Californians has been $63 billion.  That’s crazy!