Covered California is set to announce its 2018 plan rates on Tuesday, August 1st. These rates will determine what health plans charge consumers for monthly premiums on the exchange. Covered California delayed announcing the premiums because of federal uncertainty over the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Although Republican efforts to repeal the ACA failed last week, President Trump continues to rattle insurance markets by threatening to eliminate federal payments to insurers for cost-sharing reduction subsidies (CSRs). The subsidies are the subject of a lawsuit House v. Price, filed by House Republicans in 2014 which challenged the President’s authority to pay for the CSRs – even though they are an explicit part of the law. The case is now before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has put the case on hold. Currently the federal government has only committed to funding CSRs through the month of May 2017.
Covered California’s Board met on October 27, 2016 where they provided an update on the preparation for the exchange’s fourth open enrollment period. Covered California’s Executive Director, Peter Lee, acknowledged there will be higher premiums this year. However, he also noted that most exchange enrollees (87.5%) are eligible for and currently receiving financial assistance. Thus they are protected from spending more than a set share of their income on premiums. Other topics covered included an update on the new verification process for special enrollment, and re-adoption of Covered California regulations governing outreach and enrollment entities, remote identity proofing and small business eligibility and enrollment assistance. You can find a recording of the board meeting, links to the presentations, reports, proposed regulations, attachments, and other materials here.
Open Enrollment Began on November 1st!
Covered California’s fourth open enrollment period launched officially on November 1st and runs through January 31, 2017. For coverage effective on January 1, people must enroll by December 15, 2016. As always, Medi-Cal enrollment is open year-round and individuals experiencing any life transitions (losing a job or moving, among many qualifying events for special enrollment) may enroll anytime, even after January 31, 2017.
New Marketing Efforts. Covered California has several marketing efforts planned around the new open enrollment period. The open enrollment bus tour will run from November 12-19, 2016 throughout eight cities in California to promote the need to get covered.
CPEHN’s Executive Director, Sarah de Guia, opens the newsletter reflecting on her two years as CPEHN's Executive Director!
Our Ethnic Partner Spotlight features an article from the The California Rural Indian Health Board (CRIHB) on an upcoming child passenger safety course designed to reduce injuries. This programis a part of CRIHB's dedication to provide safety and injury prevention services to California’s rural Indians.
CPEHN’s Executive Director, Sarah de Guia, opens the newsletter by discussing Health4All Kids implementation. Starting on May 16th, California will offer Medi-Cal coverage to all eligible children regardless of immigration status.
Our Ethnic Partner Spotlight features an article from the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) on two new briefs about obesity and other health conditions affecting the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community.
At Covered California’s latest April Board meeting, Executive Director Peter Lee declared: “We are raising the bar not just for California but for the nation.” Mr. Lee was referring to the bold initiatives adopted by the Covered California board that they expect will improve quality of care for Covered California enrollees, make advances in hospital safety, and promote primary prevention and wellness. The contracts will include 45 separate distinct requirements on plans focused on improving health outcomes for Covered California enrollees (See Attachment 7).
Starting in 2017, Covered California’s contracts will require health plans to demonstrate year-over-year reductions in health disparities in four targeted areas of chronic disease: diabetes, asthma, hypertension and behavioral health. In order to accurately measure disparities, health plans will be required to share quality and performance data for all their lines of business. Additionally, plans will be required to increase the percentage of self-reported demographic data for their Covered California enrollees with a goal of 80% of enrollees reporting by the end of 2019.
Covered California’s Board of Directors voted on April 7th to require Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) selling insurance in the Exchange to reduce health disparities for their enrollees starting in 2017. Under this new initiative health plans will be provided with incentives for showing year-over-year improvement in key target areas where disparities are well-documented: diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and mental health. To achieve these goals, health plans will also be required to increase the percentage of self-reported demographic data of their membership annually with an 80% goal by the end of 2019.
“We are raising the bar not just for California but for the nation,” declared Peter Lee, Executive Director of Covered California. Covered California’s new contract requirements included as part of Attachment 7 to the QHP contract, includes 45 separate and distinct new requirements on plans focused on improving the quality of care for Covered California enrollees. These new requirements which were the culmination of six months of stakeholder discussions led by Covered California’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Lance Lang also include important new requirements to improve hospital safety and promote primary prevention and wellness, amongst other initiatives.
CPEHN’s Executive Director, Sarah de Guia, opens the newsletter by discussing Covered California’s disparities reduction and quality improvement strategies, which show promise in reducing disparities for California’s communities of color.
Our Ethnic Partner Spotlight features an article from the California Black Health Network (CBHN) and their advocacy efforts to improve the health of people with Sickle Cell Disease.
Covered California Sees Strong Enrollment Numbers in 2016: Covered California released a detailed breakout of its 2016 enrollees at its Board meeting on February 18. Nearly 440,000 new enrollees had selected a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) as of February 6, 2016. Low-income (88%) and communities of color (66%) continue to represent the majority of Exchange enrollees with Asians at 20%, Pacific Islanders at >1%, Black or African-American at 4%, Latino at 36%, American Indian or Alaskan Native at > 1%, and multiple races/other at 7%.
While Covered California’s preliminary enrollment numbers are strong, they provide an incomplete picture of the enrollee population as close to one-third of enrollees (119,510) did not respond to demographic questions. Covered California plans to provide additional data on its 2016 enrollee population including information on the written and spoken languages of its enrollees at a later point this year.
Welcome to This Week in Equity Engagement on Twitter (TWEET) for the week of October 26, 2015. It’s been a great week leading up to what should be a spooky weekend. But before you endure the tricks and enjoy the treats, check out what’s been up on social media:
Covered California open enrollment starts this Sunday! Enroll early!
The latest issue of our Health Equity Forum newsletter came out today and it includes several great articles and dozens of resources. You'll be glad you have an extra hour because of the end of daylight savings this weekend because you want to make sure you have enough time to read it.
CPEHN’s Executive Director, Sarah de Guia, opens the newsletter by discussing some positive developments from the recently concluded 2015 legislative session, including all three of CPEHN’s bills being signed into law. She also talks about the fiscal challenges the state will have to address in 2016.
Our Ethnic Partner Spotlight features an article from the California Rural Indian Health Board (CRIHB) and it talks about all of the new initiatives they are working on to improve the health of the state’s rural Indians.