California health exchange concealing insurance ratings
October 22, 2013
California’s newly created health insurance exchange is withholding quality ratings of health plans, irking companies offering highly rated plans. [LA Times]
Covered California, the state exchange created under the Affordable Care Act, offers customers a variety of plans provided by six insurance companies. Three of the insurance firms sent a letter to Covered California Monday criticizing the exchange for not posting quality ratings alongside health plan rates on its website.
Kaiser Permanente, Sharp Health Plan and Western Advantage each have favorable ratings in a state database. The California Office of the Patient Advocate publishes annual ratings of the largest Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, offering up to four stars in a variety of categories.
“There has never been a compelling reason to deny this information to consumers,” the insurance companies said in the letter. “On this issue, Covered California has surrendered its pace car status.”
Other state-run exchanges, such as those in Colorado, Maryland and Oregon, prominently display the quality ratings on their websites, the letter adds.
On the most recent report card, Kaiser earned the only four-star rating among HMOs in California for providing recommended care. Sharp and Western Health each received three stars in the same category.
Covered California’s five-member board will meet Thursday and is expected to discuss the ratings issue.