California’s new health insurance marketplace — Covered California — last Wednesday took a big step forward when it launched the website where individuals, families and employers will go to get information and purchase health insurance.  Pre-enrollment in the marketplace is scheduled to begin in October with coverage starting in January.  The site includes an online calculator that enables consumers to estimate how much insurance plans will cost. The Bay Area Council has been deeply involved in the creation of this new health insurance purchasing pool, working to make it an ally of businesses in improving the value that we get for our medical spending. The progress in setting up this new marketplace, though, may be hampered by legislative action in the “special session for healthcare” currently ongoing in Sacramento.  Health insurance plans have already submitted their bids to participate in the exchange and are working furiously with staff to meet the October 1 deadline for the start of open enrollment.  The legislature, however, is reopening a number of issues that had previously been settled, including how many rating regions the state will have.  It is critical that we clearly establish the new rules of the game as soon as possible so that businesses have the certainty they need to move forward with their planning. The Bay Area Council is working closely with Covered California to avoid costly delays. To engage in our healthcare policy work, contact Senior Policy Advisor Micah Weinberg.

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