From the Kaiser Health News blog:
California on Wednesday became the first state to standardize health insurance plans under the federal health law, which regulators say will make shopping for health insurance easier when new online marketplaces begin enrolling customers in the fall.
California builds on the federal law’s requirement that insurance plans be classified as bronze, silver, gold and platinum, based on the scope of their coverage. In addition to meeting those federal rules, California is requiring insurers to set standardized deductibles and co-payments. That will allow consumers “to make apples to apples comparisons in ways they have not had in the past,” said Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, the state’s new marketplace.
Under the rules, the most comprehensive policies classified as gold and platinum level coverage will have no annual deductibles and offer office visits as low as $25. All silver plans, the moderate-price option, will have $2,000 annual deductibles, charge $45 for primary care office visits and $250 for using emergency rooms. Bronze plans, expected to have the lowest premiums, will have $5,000 deductibles and $70 office visits.
In announcing the rules, the state also launched its Covered California website, part of what is expected to be an all-out effort to reach millions of state residents who will be directly affected by the law because they are uninsured, buy their own coverage, or work for a small employer.
Read the complete post here.