Board Directs Exchange to Expand Options in 2015, Points to Embedded Model as Best Option
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Underscoring its commitment to children’s oral health, Covered California™ announced today that insurers signed contracts to offer pediatric dental coverage in 2014 in both the Exchange’s individual and small-group employer markets.
The contracts offer stand-alone plans for children’s dental coverage in the first year of the new health benefit exchange, which will open for enrollment Oct. 1. Meanwhile, Covered California pledged to work toward embedding pediatric dental coverage in its 2015 portfolio of comprehensive medical insurance products.
Five insurance companies will offer plans to families who buy insurance through Covered California in 2014: Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, Delta Dental, Liberty Dental and Premier Access.
Seven companies will offer plans in Covered California’s Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP): Blue Shield of California, Delta Dental, Guardian, Liberty Dental, MetLife, Premier Access and Safeguard.
The companies offer a rich mix of plan choices statewide with rates as low as $8 per month in some areas. In a special meeting Aug. 8, the Covered California Board voted to direct staff to come back by the end of the year with proposals for embedding children’s dental coverage in all Covered California health insurance plans in 2015. Covered California has begun reviewing how that could be accomplished under federal and state laws, while engaging consumer and dental care advocates.
Because of technical constraints, Covered California is unable to offer bundled pediatric dental plans in 2014. This has led to Health Net’s withdrawal from participation in Covered California’s 2014 pediatric dental plans. However, Health Net will participate in the offering of Covered California health plans in the individual and small-group markets for 2014.
Covered California does not expect any pediatric dental coverage gaps, as the remaining plans are well-positioned to offer a variety of stand-alone coverage choices to families in each of the state’s rating regions.
About Covered California
Covered California is the state’s marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Covered California was charged with creating a new health insurance marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can get access to affordable health insurance plans. With coverage starting in 2014, Covered California will help individuals determine whether they are eligible for premium assistance that will be available on a sliding-scale basis to reduce insurance costs or whether they are eligible for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget.
Small businesses will be able to purchase competitively priced health insurance plans and offer their employees the ability to choose from an array of plans and may qualify for federal tax credits.
Covered California is an independent part of the state government whose job is to make the new market work for California’s consumers. It is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the Governor and the Legislature. For more information on Covered California, please visit www.CoveredCA.com.