Open States' stated mission is to improve civic engagement.
To be true to that goal, we can not stand by and be silent when a large portion of Americans face systemic racism and other forms of oppression. That oppression has meant being excluded from civic participation at the ballot box, being called un-American for peaceful protests, and being denied justice for crimes committed against them.
Existing law, the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, requires each state to, by January 1, 2014, establish an American Health Benefit Exchange that makes available qualified health plans to qualified individuals and small employers.
Existing law provides for the Medi-Cal program, which is administered by the State Department of Health Care Services and under which qualified low-income persons receive health care benefits. Existing law, the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act of 1975, provides for the licensure and regulation of health care service plans by the Department of Managed Health Care. Existing law also provides for the regulation of health insurers by the Department of Insurance.
Under existing law, carriers that sell any products outside the California Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) are required to fairly and affirmatively offer, market, and sell all products made available to individuals or small employers in the Exchange to individuals or small employers, respectively, purchasing coverage outside the Exchange.
Existing law also requires carriers that participate in the Exchange to fairly and affirmatively offer, market, and sell in the Exchange at least one product within 5 levels of specified coverage.
This bill would exempt a bridge plan product, as defined, from that latter requirement.
This bill would, among other things, also require the Exchange to enter into contracts with and certify as a qualified health plan bridge plan products that meet specified requirements, including being a Medi-Cal managed care plan. The bill would also require the Exchange to make available bridge plan products to eligible individuals. The bill would authorize the Exchange, after consulting with stakeholders, to adopt regulations to implement those provisions, and until January 1, 2016, exempt the adoption, amendment, or repeal of those regulations from the Administrative Procedure Act.
The bill would require the Exchange to annually prepare a specified written report on the implementation and performance of the Exchange functions during the preceding fiscal year, and to prepare, or contract for the preparation of, an evaluation of the bridge plan program using the first 3 years of experience with the program, as specified.
The bill would authorize a health care service plan or insurance carrier offering a bridge plan product in the Exchange to limit the products it offers in the Exchange to the bridge plan product, except as required by federal law. The bill would define "bridge plan product" as an individual health benefit plan offered by a licensed health care service plan or health insurer that contracts with the Exchange, as specified.
The bill would also require the State Department of Health Care Services to impose specified requirements in its contracts with a health care service plan or health insurer to provide Medi-Cal managed care coverage but would authorize the department to contract with the Exchange to delegate the implementation of those provisions.
The bill would require the Exchange to seek federal approval to allow specified individuals the option to enroll in a different bridge plan product if the individual's primary care provider is included in the contracted network of the different bridge plan product and either the bridge plan product for which the individual is eligible is not offered in that individual's service area or is not offered as a bridge plan product by the Exchange.
The bill would provide that its provisions would become inoperative on the October 1 that is 5 years after the date that federal approval of the bridge plan option occurs.