This entry borrows freely form a blog post authored by Micah Weinberg, published May 24, 2011 in The New Health Dialogue - A Blog from New America's Health Policy Program.
The California Health Benefit Exchange held its third meeting today. The meeting was an update on progress toward planning the development of the new health insurance exchange portal for the state, targeted for launch in the spring of 2013. The focus of this meeting was on integration with existing state programs and systems.
The "Level 1" grant will among other things provide more funding to hire a staff for the Exchange. The June 15th meeting will feature the participation of key federal government officials. Pending the approval of this grant, expected by the end of the summer, the Exchange has no budget and is staffed primarily by people from other parts of the government and by consultants supported by charitable groups. Pat Powers, the Interim Administrative Director of the Exchange, promised that, after the Level 1 grant is submitted, there will be time to do more strategic planning.
The substance of this meeting was on program integration, particularly as it relates to the eligibility and enrollment systems currently administered by the state for its existing rublic programs. Deborah Kelch, who is acting as one of the leading consultants gave an overview of program integration requirements.
Representatives of the Department of Insurance and the Department of Managed Healthcare, gave high-level overviews of the core functions of their agencies and their track records.
In the second part of the briefing, Bill Obernesser, a lead consultant on this work, laid out the federal requirements and mapped out the state's existing eligibility and enrollment systems. He was followed by representatives from the County Welfare Directors Association who spoke in greater detail about the county-based enrollment system for Medi-Cal and by a representative from the Managed Risk Medical Board who talked about the separate state-based system for enrollment in Healthy Families, California's CHIP program. There was also a briefing by Terri Shaw, the Project Director for Enrollment UX 2014, a national project designed to help develop a common user interface for state exchanges.