“For example, we’ll have a separate, individual and small group market certification process for navigators,” Brown said, adding that this year, the state is working with stakeholders to develop a sustainable exchange financing model to design its essential health benefits plan. “We’re still waiting—as we all are—for additional federal guidance on the essential health benefits plan, which we all know needs to be selected by September,” Brown told attendees.
California has learned from the states of Maryland, Florida and Washington as the Golden State works to develop its exchange, according to Peter Lee, executive director of California’s Health Benefit Exchange. Lee said there are 37 million people in California, of whom 7 million are uninsured. Of those, 2 million will be eligible for MediCal, while 3 million will receive subsidies for the exchanges. The state is relying heavily on the federal government for its success.
“The California budget does not allow the government to support the establishment of the exchanges or to support the subsidies which are needed to make care affordable for 3 million Californians,” Lee explained. “In the absence of that support, we would be in very, very deep trouble,” he continued. “We need the federal partnership that the Affordable Care Act allows for and I’m actually very, very confident that under any president, under any Congress, they can and should support the states doing the right thing and California is set up to do that.”
After the event, Rose Laff, CEO of Florida Health Choices, told Modern Healthcare that it’s important for those working on exchanges to know their stakeholders well and seek their input. In 2008, Florida state law created the Florida Health Choice Corp. to increase access to affordable healthcare coverage through the market. This year, the company will introduce Florida’s Insurance Marketplace through a Web portal where individuals and businesses can choose from health plans.
“I think it’s wise to consider the technology and how quickly things evolve,” Laff added. “And to buy the most modern, scalable, modular approach you can. It’s got to be flexible; you’ve got to be able to plug pieces into each other.”