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Information on ACA Implementation in CA

Last Thursday, HHS Region IX hosted a health reform event in Sacramento to provide updates and insights into two federal programs initiated by the ACA: the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Program (PCIP) and the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP). Here are some of the important take-away’s from that event…


Richard Popper, Director of Insurance Programs for the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), provided an overview of California’s PCIP which, as of February 23rd, had 1621 enrollees. PCIP could potentially cover as many as 25,000 Californians over the next 3 years. CCIIO, other federal agencies and the state are very focused on making this program successful and ensuring that as many eligible Californians as possible are able to enroll in PCIP coverage. Mr. Popper offered to provide anyone with presentations and webinars on the program if it would help reach potential enrollees.

ACA Rule Making

Herb Schultz, Regional Director for HHS Region IX, reported that the highly-anticipated proposed rule making on the Exchange will be released this Spring. The proposed rule making on the Essential Benefits Package will be released in the Fall. Mr. Schultz asked the audience of stakeholders to weigh-in with him directly on either of those issues (in the next 10 days, if possible) as he is part of discussions with CMS and other federal agencies and wants to be able to represent the views of those in California.

In addition, Mr. Schultz noted that California missed the original deadline to apply for a second generation exchange grant. However, the Department of Health and Human Services instituted that deadline in order to get a sense of which states are interested in applying. It was not intended to be a final deadline, and therefore California still has time to put together its exchange grant application.

Consumer Assistance Grants

Ellen Badley, Assistant Deputy Director for the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), indicated that DMHC is working hard on various ACA-related grant applications and received important feedback suggesting that some grant money California receives should be directed to the important work of community based organizations (CBOs). DMCH is now interested in doing “partner grants” with CBOs and will be using the money they had initially allocated for a statewide media campaign to instead assist CBOs with local outreach and education efforts.

(Thank you to former MRMIB Executive Director Lesley Cummings and CPCA Senior Policy Analyst Tahira Bazile for their contribution to this post).