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Santa Monica, CA – Covered California has successfully lobbied the federal government to delay public disclosure of qualified health plan rate change proposals for 2016, Consumer Watchdog said today.

In a letter to Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, Consumer Watchdog said that residents of every other state now have access to proposed rate hikes, except the people of California, who are already disadvantaged by the absence of rate regulation in this state.

“Your unusual lobbying of the federal government to make an exception for California in disclosing rate hikes raises significant questions about the exchange’s need for secrecy. You can put these issues to rest today by making California health plans’ initial proposed rate changes public,” wrote Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, and Carmen Balber, executive director. 

Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter to Covered California here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/covca_rates_letter_.pdf

The letter continued: “The people of California are entitled to see the proposed rate changes for 2016 prior to any modifications (increases or decreases) that Covered California’s intervention may inspire.”

“You have previously acknowledged that Covered California’s approach to balancing its various interests does not always result in the lowest possible rate for each carrier.  In addition, industry sources have suggested that Covered California has previously asked some regional insurance companies to raise their rates in order to be more in line with Anthem Blue Cross, a favored carrier at the exchange.”

“How can the public judge what kind of deal Covered California is getting for members if the initial rate proposals are not posted?” the letter continued. “This is especially true given that prior Covered California negotiating teams have had prior employment with the health insurance industry. You have a duty to the public to supply such basic information, as is now disclosed in every other state, given the secrecy and exceptionalism Covered California enjoys.”

Consumer Watchdog has also submitted a public records request to Covered California. It has asked Covered California for any details about meetings with insurance companies related to qualified health plans.

Read Consumer Watchdog’s Public Records Request here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/pra_request_to_covered_california.pdf

 

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