The California Health Benefit Exchange Will Reconsider Stand-Alone Vision Plans
|September 24, 2012 12:27 AM
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—When the
California Health Benefit Exchange meets again on Oct. 16, its decision regarding the inclusion of stand-alone vision plans could have a major impact on the business of VSP Global and other stand-alone vision plan providers as well as far-reaching influence on the sale of vision insurance in general. The board of the California Health Benefit Exchange will revisit its original decision to disallow stand-alone vision plans from directly participating in the individual health insurance exchanges it is establishing as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. If the board does not reverse its decision, stand-alone vision plans will be shut out from directly selling to the 4.4 million California residents who are expected to purchase health insurance through the individual exchange by 2016. Instead, VSP and other providers of stand-alone vision plans will be required to partner with a qualified health plan that offers all
essential health benefits. VMail
reported the California Health Benefit Exchange board’s decision on Sept. 3. While stand-alone vision plans have been barred from the exchange through which individuals in California will be able to purchase health insurance, stand-alone vision plans will be permitted to participate in a separate exchange being established for small businesses.
In response, Rob Lynch, president and CEO of VSP Global, wrote an Op-Ed piece in the Sacramento Business Journal disagreeing with the decision and suggesting that the company would consider moving out of state. In a letter filed with the board, VSP also stated that most residents of California receive vision insurance from a stand-alone company. In addition to VSP’s objection to the decision, others who asked that the board reconsider its policy include Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Sacramento Metro Chamber president and CEO Roger Niello and Sacramento Area Trade and Commerce Organization president and CEO Barbara Hayes.
“We believe their concerns merit another look,” said David Panush, government relations director of the California Health Benefit Exchange. “Additional information has been brought to our attention, and we think there are some workable options that we hadn’t considered. We’re going to do a bit more analysis, and we will have some recommendations for the board.”
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