2018 MIDTERM ELECTION

Time: D H M S

California: Huh. CoveredCA launches 2017 Window Shopping w/no fanfare

Huh. OK, it looks like three of the ACA state-based exchanges have already launched their 2017 window shopping tools: Idaho, Maryland and California!

The other two announced that their 2017 offerings were open for business via press releases, but it looks like CoveredCA just quietly opened the doors without any fanfare. I stumbled across this by simply visiting the CoveredCA site and clicking the "Shop & Compare" link at the top, which now lists 2017 as the default Coverage Year (you can still choose 2016 if you need to enroll for the rest of this year via SEP). Plugging in some dummy info confirms that the plans are indeed set to start on 01/01/17.

Anyway, the other noteworthy thing about this development is that obviously the 13.2% average rate hikes which were "tentatively" approved back in July appear to have passed the final approval process and are now locked in for 2017.

You may ask why I haven't plugged CA's 13.2% approved figure into the state-by-state table yet. There are two reasons: First, the July press release included this caveat:

The preliminary rates are subject to a 60-day public comment period and regulatory review by the California Department of Managed Health Care. In addition, the California Department of Insurance will review Health Net’s EPO. 

I assumed that there would have been some sort of follow-up press release from either the CA DoMHC or CoveredCA...but none ever came out (60 days means there should've been some sort of update posted around September 19th or so).

Since California makes up over 12% of the total U.S. population. The state is so large that plugging that 13.2% figure into the mix single-handedly drops the national average by several points all by itself, so I wanted to be very certain before doing so.

Press release or not, though, the fact that CoveredCA's 2017 Window Shopping tool is up and running for the public to browse makes it pretty clear that yes, 13.2% is the official approved statewide average for ACA-compliant policies. Therefore, I'm plugging it in tomorrow.