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San Francisco, CA - Earlier today, Covered California - the state marketplace for individual insurance policies created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) - announced the insurance coverage plans that it will offer in 2014. The new tiered policies include Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum- each providing different levels of out-of-pocket costs. The Platinum tier has the lowest deductibles and co-pays, but it comes with higher premiums. In contrast, the Bronze plan includes a higher deductible but a significantly lower premium.
While premiums will vary based on an individual’s age, where they live, household size and extent of coverage they want, for the first time consumers will be able to easily compare the different offers which will all follow the same set of plan-guidelines.
“Today’s announcement is the exciting next step in ensuring that Californians can access affordable and reliable heath care coverage,” said Jon Fox, consumer advocate with the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) Education Fund. “Under the new plans announced today by Covered California, Californians will not be denied coverage due to pre-existing medical conditions, prices will not vary by gender, insurers won’t be able to set lifetime maximum dollar amounts for health care, and limits on maximum out-of-pocket cost will further protect Californians from medical bankruptcy.”
CALPIRG Education Fund noted that all policies sold by the exchange must cover preventive care, prescription drugs, contraception, medical screenings—such as mammograms—and other essential benefits including pediatric, mental health, maternity and rehabilitation services. The 13 health insurance plans submitted to Covered California for consideration built their bids around the expectation of high enrollment rather than high profits. With reduced profit margins by 2 and 3 percent, insurers hope to serve an estimated 2.6 million eligible Californians who choose to buy insurance through the exchange.
“Consumers are looking for a choice of plans throughout the state with affordable prices and access to the doctors and hospitals they want. Covered California’s success will be measured by the extent to which it meets these needs and attracts consumers to participate in their plans,” noted Jon Fox, adding “Now it's up to state regulators to review these plans and make sure the prices are justified. CALPIRG Education Fund looks forward to working with regulators to scrutinize plans carefully, ensuring they offer a good deal for consumers.”
The California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) Education Fund is a result-oriented public interest group that protects consumers, encourages a fair sustainable economy, and fosters responsive democratic governance.
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