Covered California logo (Courtesy CoveredCA.com)
"Where are the ratings?"
That is a question a lot of Californians still have about the state's affordable care act program, Covered California.
Consumer groups and others have been asking for weeks for the ratings of insurance plans offered under Covered California, but the program's board of directors has resisted the release. On Thursday afternoon, the board, going against its Executive Director Peter Lee's call to hold those ratings until 2015, voted to release the data some time next year.
Covered California Executive Director said releasing ratings of current plans would not give consumers a true idea of what they are buying. Board members said delaying the release will give users a chance to give their own input on how the plans are working.
But consumer groups said the ratings are an extremely important tool for the estimated 2 million Californians who are eligible to enroll for the affordable health insurance.
"Our real goal is to get insurers to compete for cost and quality and customer service, so we think having quality ratings available is a really important part of getting insurers to compete on quality and cost," Health Access Executive Director Anthony Wright said.
Colorado, Maryland and Oregon already release quality data on their healthcare exchange websites offering users a chance to shop for plans.
There is also some concern about the board's unwillingness to release the number of people who have successfully navigated the program's application process. It does say more than 125,000 people have begun the process, but not how many completed it.
The board plans to release that number in mid-November.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson will also begin a city-wide effort to enroll more people in the program. He calls it "Covered Sacramento."