health-care-reform

By Chad Terhune
May 23, 2013, 9:36 a.m.

After weeks of negotiations, California said it has selected 13 health plans for a new state-run insurance marketplace where as many as 5 million people will shop for coverage next year.

Officials at Covered California, the state agency implementing the federal Affordable Care Act, said Thursday that the winning bidders reflected a mix of large commercial insurers and smaller regional plans.

The state also released some sample rates, illustrating how premiums will vary across health plans in this new market.

In a southern Los Angeles County region, for instance, rates for a 40-year-old person purchasing a “Silver” plan ranged from $242 a month for Health Net Inc. to $325 per month for Kaiser Permanente. Blue Shield would charge $287 a month.

Each company must now file detailed rate filings with state regulators, and these proposed premiums are still subject to that review in the coming weeks.

Overall, Covered California said the rates submitted for next year’s individual market ranged from 2% higher to 29% below the average premium now for small-employer plans in the state’s biggest metro areas.

The agency said the winning health plans whittled their profit margins down to 2% to 3% and negotiated lower reimbursements for hospitals and doctors to help hold down premiums.

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