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Life Health > Health Insurance > Health Insurance

California exchange eyes vision site offer

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Vision Service Plan (VSP) is asking the builders of the California Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange to connect the exchange website to a separate site that would sell VSP vision plans.

The Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) recently ruled that state-based exchanges can let users click through to separate alliance sites that sell non-exchange products, such as stand-alone vision coverage, disability insurance or long-term care insurance.

The builders of the Colorado and Nevada state-based exchanges are hoping to help their users to connect with vision plan sellers, according to John Valencia, a lawyer who is helping VSP communicate with the managers of California’s Covered California exchange program.

PPACA requires CCIIO’s parent, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to work with state agencies to make exchanges, or Web-based health insurance supermarkets, available to individuals and small groups by Oct. 1, 2013. States can choose whether to let HHS provide exchange services for their residents or develop their own exchanges. California is starting its own state-based exchange.

VSP could be ready to plug in to the Covered California website as early as Oct. 1, and Covered California would not have to pay anything to connect a provider of a wide range of vision coverage plans, Valencia said in a letter included in a Covered California board meeting packet.

Along with the letter, Valencia provided a sample letter from VSP that cites statistics indicating that regular vision care can help lead to the early detection of conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

A sample flier for broker says, “When you sell VSP, you win.”

Selling points listed include “Commissions paid on every enrollment,” and “Robust and hassle-free administration.”

Covered California probably will not offer access to stand-alone supplemental benefits in October, but it could start offering access in April 2014, according to the Sacramento Business Journal.

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