Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Is There a Cover-up at Covered California?

This is really not shaping up to be a banner week for the White House.  The Republic of California has been the poster child for Obamacare and now the California Legislature had to give our Exchange a public spanking.   

This is from Dan Cook at BenefitsPro (Hat tip to Jennifer Moore, GBDS for the pointer):   
Covered California is starting to run for cover as the date approaches for the state insurance exchange to start accepting customers. 
The Golden State's exchange came in for another bashing this week when state legislators quickly rammed through the California Senate a bill requiring the state-run exchange to share with all terms of the public contracts it signs. 
At issue are not the contracts Covered California enters into with health insurance plans. Those retain strict privacy protections. Rather, lawmakers were concerned about information contained in the hundreds of millions in contracts it has or will enter into with marketing and public relations firms, providers of systems to enroll customers, and other non-health plan service providers. 
Not only was Covered California covering up details of those contracts, but when it was created, it was also given permission to keep secret:
  • minutes of its meetings;
  • research reports it created or had prepared;
  • training materials and;
  • other matters associated with its daily operations and strategy planning.
Lawmakers complained that transparency was becoming an ever greater issue with the huge state exchange, and passed the measure in the Senate 33-0. 
The state Senate's rebuke of the exchange came just days after California State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones assailed Covered California for the way it's approaching pediatric dental services. 
Covered California proposed breaking out pediatric dental coverage from its package of benefits, instead suggesting that the public should purchase such coverage from a group of six insurers on an individual or “stand-alone” basis. 
Jones accused Covered California of openly flaunting state and federal mandates for covered services with its proposal, pointing out that the PPACA includes pediatric dental services in its essential health benefits list. ...