Covered California Board Meeting Update

Today, the Covered California Board met for a public meeting that began around 1:30pm and ended at about 3:30pm. With open enrollment underway, much of the discussion at today’s Board meeting centered on outreach and enrollment efforts, including the recent Covered California Bus Tour, enrollment thus far and what enrollment will look like this year as we integrate the renewal process for the first time. The just released DMHC audit of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California was also a highlight of today’s discussion.

Renewal and Enrollment – The Covered California Bus Tour started on Monday, November 10th in Sacramento, traveled through northern, central and southern California cities, and hit its final destination in Redding on November 18th. Peter shared a story of a woman named Diana whom he met during the Bus Tour in Fresno. Diana lost her employer based coverage over a year ago and went uncovered for quite some time because she thought the process would be hard. She had been feeling sick for awhile until she finally signed up for coverage. Shortly after she signed up, she had a doctor visit where she found out that she had a very aggressive form of uterine cancer. She is now better and credits Covered California for saving her life.

Peter shared that as of November 18th (in just four days) close to 70,000 people have been determined eligible for coverage. Last year, it took two weeks to get this many people enrolled, said Peter. This year, it took just four days to reach this number. This is a testament to the outreach, enrollment and education efforts thus far; consumers are informed, ready to sign up and there are knowledgeable agents, county eligibility workers and organizations ready to help them. With respect to the renewal process, Covered California sent renewal notices in October. Consumers have 30 days to shop and choose coverage before Covered California renews their coverage automatically. Those who were automatically renewed will be able to change plans through the end of open enrollment on February 15, 2015. Consumer advocates weighed in during this segment of the meeting, asking that more be done to improve the accuracy of notices and confusing nature in which duplicate notices are sent to consumers with conflicting and/or confusing information. As for the Covered California website, it has been re-launched, said Peter, and is cleaner, flows better and the English Spanish translations have been improved. that are going out to consumers.

Department of Managed Health Care Non-Routine Survey of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California – Following complaints from consumers, in June of 2014 DMHC initiated a formal non-routine survey to assess the accuracy of the provider directories of two of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California. The major findings of the survey were presented during today’s Board meeting. The survey confirmed what they had already known, she stated, which was that provider directories were inaccurate. DMHC has engaged in action with the plans to address the issue of inaccurate provider directories. In 6 months, DMHC will do another review to determine whether the plans have followed through on whoops my phone necessary corrective action. Covered California reviewed there own actions to address the issue–using their active purchasing power negotiating with the plans, educating doctors and providers about their issue, working with DMHC, etc.

The next Covered California will be held December 15th (new date!) and the Board plans to discuss Qualified Health Plan Recertification before they make final QHP Plan changes in January.

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