Originally By Chad Terhune for the LA Times
California signed contracts with 12 health insurers for its new state-run marketplace, but the Ventura County Health Care Plan unexpectedly dropped out.
Covered California, which is implementing the federal healthcare law in the state, said it supported Ventura County’s decision to opt out next year and that it welcomes a subsequent bid for 2015.
The exchange said it will now provide three health plans — Kaiser Permanente, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California — to Ventura County residents. In contrast, the exchange will offer six health plans in Los Angeles County. Officials said about 95,000 residents in Ventura County may be eligible for federal premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. Enrollment is expected to start Oct. 1 for policies that take effect in January.
“Covered California remains partners with Ventura County Health Care Plan and will lay the groundwork for negotiations next year,” said Peter Lee, executive director of the state exchange.
The state noted that Anthem and Blue Shield will provide access to Ventura County Medical Center, Santa Paula Hospital and other area clinics.
Ventura County Health Care Plan, a government-sponsored HMO established in 1993, primarily covers county employees, their dependents and enrollees of Healthy Families. It has about 24,000 members.
A spokeswoman there didn’t have an immediate comment on the state announcement.
The state’s four largest health insurers are all participating in the state exchange for individual consumers. They are Kaiser Permanente, Blue Shield, Health Net Inc. and Anthem, a unit of WellPoint Inc.
Six of the 12 companies overall will also sell policies in a separate exchange for small businesses. However, Anthem opted against participating in the small-employer exchange.