As many as 5 million Californians next year will be able to shop for insurance from 13 health insurance plans, officials at Covered California, the state agency tasked with setting up its exchange, said Thursday.
Those plans are a combination of large commercial insurers and smaller regional plans. The state’s biggest carriers — Kaiser Permanente, Anthem Blue Cross of California, Blue Shield of California and Health Net Inc. — are participating, while some of the nation’s biggest carriers — UnitedHealth, Aetna and Cigna — are sitting out the Golden State altogether.
Though Covered California said that selected plans and premiums remain subject to review by state regulators, Consumer Watchdog said that neither regulators nor exchange officials have the power to require an insurer to reduce or deny a proposed rate that is unreasonable.
Without rate regulation and an exchange dominated by the biggest insurers in the state, the nonprofit organization argued that consumers might be hit with higher premiums than California officials are letting on.