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California Intends to Run New Health Marketplace On Its Own

Nov 15, 2012

The logo for California Covered, the state's new health benefit exchange.

California plans to tell the federal government this week that it will operate a key component of the federal health law on its own. 

States have until the end of this week to tell the federal government if they will operate their own health insurance exchanges. States also have the option to receive help, or have the federal government manage their marketplaces.

The California Health Benefit Exchange board has signaled its intent to go it alone by approving a detailed operations plan and grant proposal.  

“California wants to control our destiny in terms of expanding coverage to millions of Californians.” 

Peter Lee is Executive Director of the exchange – now known as Covered California. He said he’s sure the state will be successful in running the health insurance marketplace.

“We have Californians from San Diego, to Redding, from Oakland to Fresno saying that this has to work. And we have such a groundswell of interest and commitment.” 

Covered California is asking for more than $700 million to set up the online marketplace over the next two years. They propose a health plan tax to sustain it when federal funds run out starting in 2015.