Click here to close now.


News Feed Item

No Gimmicks, No Surprises - Standard Benefits

Covered California Announces Standard Benefit Plans for Consumers

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Californians who must pay for their own health insurance are getting their first detailed look at what health care reform will truly offer. Covered California, the state run program that oversees implementation of the Affordable Care Act, is releasing the standards for benefit plans that will be made available to California citizens who do not rely on employer provided insurance or Medi-Cal for health care coverage.

"The most important aspect of these benefits is they are standardized and they are adjusted according to income to lower costs for those with lower incomes," said Peter V. Lee, Executive Director of Covered California. "Standardization is a game changer. It lets consumers shop from one insurance provider to the next, knowing that the benefits are the same. This is about removing barriers to care; about changing the focus of health insurance on prevention and on taking care of the sick."

"Covered California is leading the way for consumers to make apples-to-apples comparisons when choosing health coverage," said James Guest, President and CEO of Consumers Union. "Not only can consumers no longer be denied due to pre-existing conditions, they know there will be no surprises or gimmicks, and the benefits are the same from one carrier to the next."

Consumers have four levels of plans from which to choose – Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Households earning less than 250 percent of the federal poverty level can receive financial help if they enroll in a Silver plan; the less income they earn, the more financial assistance they can receive. For example, individuals earning between 150 to 250 percent of the federal poverty level can expect to pay $20 to see their primary care physician, while those earning 100 to 150 percent would pay $4.

"California has clearly learned from our experience. Massachusetts launched its health insurance exchange without standardizing benefits, but changed course after recognizing that allowing consumers to make apples-to-apples comparisons among plan options is critical to their ability to make informed decisions about what health plan satisfies their needs and meets their budget," said Jean Yang, Executive Director of Massachusetts Health Connector.

To be eligible for financial support, consumers must purchase plans from Covered California's marketplace.  The State of California is leading the health care innovation process by requiring that all carriers offer these same standard designs to all individuals and small businesses – whether inside or outside of Covered California. While higher income individuals choosing one of these plans would not be eligible for financial help, they would be assured that the plan contains the same essential health benefits offered, and the exact same benefit design so they can make true comparisons.

Examples of benefits, their costs, and typical premium costs are available on the newly launched Covered California website, The website will deliver up-to-date information for consumers, and access to resources during the lead up to the open enrollment period this fall for coverage that starts January 1, 2014. The website currently includes seven fact sheets, in both English and Spanish, and additional fact sheets are soon to be added, as well as translation of the material in 11 more languages.

Covered California also announced it has launched a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+.

Critical next steps in the launch of Covered California include the selection of insurance carriers that will be allowed to participate in Covered California, and determination of the plan pricing.  

About Covered California

California is the first state to create a health benefit exchange following the passage of federal health care reform. Covered California is charged with creating a new insurance marketplace that allows individuals and small businesses to purchase competitively priced health plans using federal tax subsidies and credits. Coverage starts in 2014.

Covered California is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the Governor and Legislature; the California Health and Human Services Secretary serves as an ex officio voting member and is its current Chair.

For more information on Covered California, please visit

What People are Saying
About Covered California's standard benefit plans

James Guest
Consumers Union, President and CEO

"At Consumer Reports, our stock and trade is translating complex information into standardized formats for easy apples-to-apples comparisons. By standardizing its benefit designs, Covered California is leading the way in uniform products that allow valid comparisons of health insurance policies, taking the pain out of the dreaded experience of shopping for health insurance. For the first time, consumers without employer-based coverage will be able to readily assess what they are getting, what they are not getting, and the true value of various health insurance options. That's just plain common sense -- but in the health insurance world it's revolutionary. Bravo, Covered California, for holding consumer needs for understandable information at the forefront."

Jean Yang
State of Massachusetts, Health Connector Executive Director

"California has clearly learned from our experience. Massachusetts launched its health insurance exchange without standardizing benefits, but changed course after recognizing that allowing consumers to make apples-to-apples comparisons among plan options is critical to their ability to make informed decisions about what health plan satisfies their needs and meets their budget."

Pam Kehaly
Anthem Blue Cross, President

"Anthem Blue Cross applauds Covered California for their continued partnership with all stakeholders and their consumer-focused approach in developing benefit plans that will make comparing and choosing plans easier than ever before."

Paul Markovich
Blue Shield of California, CEO & President

"With the establishment of this standardized benefit package, Covered California has achieved a major milestone toward the launch of the new, reformed health insurance marketplace.  As important as the result was the intensely collaborative process that produced it.  Covered California's diligence in hearing all voices bodes well for its success in meeting the many tough challenges that lie ahead."

Bill S. Wehrle
Kaiser Permanente, Vice President, Health Insurance Exchanges

"We applaud Covered California for its leadership in making the health coverage marketplace simpler for consumers. Consumer choice is a powerful tool, especially when it can be unleashed to reward quality, service, and price, and not be held back by complexity or other artificial barriers. Kaiser Permanente has strongly supported simplifying consumer choice in the new marketplace, and today's announcement is a big step toward making it happen."

SOURCE Covered California

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing & protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. CommVault can ensure protection & E-Discovery of your data - whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise.
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving t...
In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at, explored the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and provided a hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He examined three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. Asaf Yigal is co-founder and VP of Product at log analytics software company In the past, he was co-founder of social-trading platform Currensee, which...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Su...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
In recent years, at least 40% of companies using cloud applications have experienced data loss. One of the best prevention against cloud data loss is backing up your cloud data. In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sam McIntyre, Partner Enablement Specialist at eFolder, presented how organizations can use eFolder Cloudfinder to automate backups of cloud application data. He also demonstrated how easy it is to search and restore cloud application data using Cloudfinder.
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and t...
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessi...
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.