Calif. Marketplace Officials Raise Concerns About Initiative's Effects

Backers of the ballot measure say it will not disrupt how the exchange works in the state but allow the insurance commissioner more authority over premium increases.

Los Angeles Times: Ballot Measure Won't Disrupt Obamacare In California, Backers Say
In response to concerns raised by California's health exchange, backers of a statewide ballot measure on health insurance rate regulation insisted Thursday that the measure would not disrupt how Obamacare works in the state. Consumer groups and California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones are pushing for more authority over health premiums for consumers and small businesses. In November, voters will decide whether to give the insurance commissioner veto power over rate increases (Terhune, 6/19).

The Sacramento Bee: California Health Exchange Wants To Analyze Rate Initiative
California's health insurance exchange pressed for answers Thursday to how an initiative slated for the November ballot would affect its operations. Covered California board members said they want an expedited analysis of the measure, including its influence on the exchange and its consumers. The as-yet-unnumbered initiative, advanced by Consumer Watchdog and Democratic Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, would allow the insurance commissioner to reject excessive health insurance rate hikes. The measure and a separate initiative to raise the $250,000 cap on pain and suffering damages in malpractice cases are expected to produce two of the most contentious and expensive ballot-box fights this fall (Cadelago, 6/19).

And in local news reports about insurance coverage under the law -

The San Jose Mercury News: Contra Costa Health Plan Must Withdraw From State Health Insurance Exchange
An East Bay health insurance plan offered under Covered California elected to withdraw from the exchange in 2015 because it could not meet a federal regulation. The Contra Costa Health Plan, which says its 1,100 new enrollees will remain covered through the end of the year, ran afoul of a recently clarified rule that insurers must offer the same plan inside or outside the exchange. "We are deeply disappointed that we are going to have to exit for the next year under the exchange," Patricia Tanquary, CEO of the health plan, told the Covered California board of directors at its monthly meeting Thursday in Sacramento (Seipel, 6/19).

Los Angeles Times: Number Of Uninsured In Los Angeles Could Drop 57% By 2016, Study Finds
The number of uninsured residents in Los Angeles could drop 57% by 2016 as a result of the federal health law's expansion of coverage, according to a new report. The study released Thursday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation predicts that the number of city residents without health coverage could decline from 1.2 million people to 524,000 in 2016. Researchers examined changes in health insurance in 14 big cities, half of which are in states that didn't expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act (Terhune, 6/19).

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