What is a Health Benefit Exchange?

What is a Health Benefit Exchange?

Last week, I attended a training about the new federal health care regulations.

Starting in October 2014, the Health Benefit Exchange will be open in California.  Covered California is the name of our Health Benefit Exchange which is a clearinghouse of health care products.   There will be various types of plans available ranging from bronze, silver and gold plans.  Each plan will have various out of pocket expenses and annual deductible limits. 

The mission of the California Health Benefit Exchange is to increase the number of insured Californians, improve health care quality, lower costs, and reduce health disparities through an innovative, competitive marketplace that empowers consumers to choose the health plan and providers that give them the best value.

The California Health Benefit Exchange is guided by the following values:

  • Consumer-focused: At the center of the Exchange’s efforts are the people it serves, including patients and their families, and small business owners and their employees. The Exchange will offer a consumer-friendly experience that is accessible to all Californians, recognizing the diverse cultural, language, economic, educational and health status needs of those we serve.
  • Affordability: The Exchange will provide affordable health insurance while assuring quality and access.
  • Catalyst: The Exchange will be a catalyst for change in California’s health care system, using its market role to stimulate new strategies for providing high-quality, affordable health care, promoting prevention and wellness, and reducing health disparities.
  • Integrity: The Exchange will earn the public’s trust through its commitment to accountability, responsiveness, transparency, speed, agility, reliability, and cooperation.
  • Partnership: The Exchange welcomes partnerships, and its efforts will be guided by working with consumers, providers, health plans, employers and other purchasers, government partners, and other stakeholders.
  • Results: The impact of the Exchange will be measured by its contributions to expanding coverage and access, improving health care quality, promoting better health and health equity, and lowering costs for all Californians.

The Exchange will use two programs to enroll individuals into a health plan.  The first is the In-Person Assistance Program (IPA) and the Navigator Program.  The Assistance program will provide one-on-one, in-person assistance to help California’s diverse population learn about their health insurance options.  Assistance will be provided in different languages.   Assistors will receive compensation for each successful application and annual renewal.  On the other hand, the Navigator program will consist of organizations which are provided grant based programs to eligible organizations.   Both programs will be in full operation by October 2013.  Applications to act as an assister or a navigator, will be available in April 2013.

For more information, please visit:  http://www.healthexchange.ca.gov/Pages/Default.aspx