Covered California Introduces Standard Plans

Posted on 15 February 2013

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend by emailSend by email

By Anthony Wright

On Wednesday, February 13, Covered California unveiled a new website, its new social media presence and, in particular, the new benefit designs that this marketplace will offer in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act to help California consumers get coverage more easily and affordably.

California has led the way in realizing the promise of "Obamacare" - being first to set up such an exchange where consumers will be able to conveniently shop for quality, affordable health insurance that meets federal guidelines and where many people will be able to receive subsidies (100% federally subsidized) to help pay for coverage.

The standardization of health plans is a breakthrough for consumers, who will now be able to make apples-to-apples comparisons that are virtually impossible in today's market. Consumers trying to buy health coverage today face a complex and confusing experience, including fear of the fine print. The standardization of benefit designs will make it easier for consumers to compare health plans. It will force insurers to compete on cost and quality and customer service, rather than consumer confusion.

The news was covered for the Los Angeles Times by Chad Terhune and Jon Healey, for the AP by Judy Lin, for KQED by Lisa Aliferis, and for the Sacramento Bee by Jeremy White.

Consumers will get good and simple information about what the plan covers, and what it doesn't. It will remove the guesswork so many consumers go through trying to figure out the differences between plans, and provide the peace of mind that the plan they pick doesn't have a hidden loophole they will regret later. For individuals and families who don't work for large employers with significant purchasing power, Covered California will serve as the human resources department for the rest of us.

As consumer advocates, Health Access has sponsored legislation to standardize plans for eight years, and this is a breakthrough that has been long-sought and badly needed. There is more to do to improve affordability and simplicity, but this is a big, bold step forward.

The new Covered California website is at

Anthony Wright is Executive Director of Health Access California, a statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition of over 200 groups.

The so-called "affordable" health programs is not affordable. It goes to show again that what really is needed is a single-payer system and no insurance companies. Many of us Democrats would like to have that; however,too many politicians (of both parties) get too much money from insurance companies. If they don't get it form their work,the average family of four pays about $2,000 per month for health insurance. With a national plan they would still have to pay some tax to fund it; but the taxes would probably be 1/4 of that.

I do agree with your words..

What standard plans means, do they have some predefined criteria for all... No its them, who decide that this is good, and this is bad, why didn't they allow public to decide their standard.... Only having insurance plan is not at all enough.... the growth in security and health is most important, but tall these have been given less priority.. NewHorizonRecovery