Managers of the Covered California public exchange are unhappy with 2014 sales and are hoping to do better this year and next year.
The managers talk about the performance of the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) division in a 2015-2016 budget proposal, meeting minutes and a public comment collection included in a board meeting packet.
Covered California has enrolled 16,885 people in SHOP coverage and about 1.3 million people in individual qualified health plan (QHP) coverage. SHOP enrollment accounts for only about 1.3 percent of its total enrollment.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and a group of U.S. representatives from California have written to Covered California to ask managers to do more to support the SHOP division, and tell them about exchange efforts to increase SHOP division enrollment.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) “made new benefits available to employers,” the U.S. reps write in their later. “However, significant outreach work remains to educate the small business community about health care options.”
Peter Lee, the exchange executive director, told Boxer and the U.S. representatives that one part of a SHOP reboot has been to rebrand the SHOP division as “Covered California for Small Business.”
For a look at what else exchange managers are saying about the effort to get the SHOP division working better, read on.
1. Lee is not promising anyone a rose garden.
In the letter to Boxer, Lee acknowledges, “We continue to discuss the future of Covered California for Small Business with our stakeholders.”
Image: Peter Lee (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
2. The exchange already is making serious efforts to reach out to small employers and to improve SHOP operations.
Exchange managers say in the budget proposal that PPACA itself should put wind in SHOP sales in 2016, by letting employers with 51 to 100 employees buy coverage coverage. Today, only employers with 50 or fewer employees can use the public exchange program.
Lee told Boxer and the lawmakers that Covered California is making serious efforts to promote small-group coverage.