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Covered California to Discuss Areas With Few Insurers

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Covered California enrolled 1.1 million people in health coverage this past year. It says about 10 percent of them have only one or two options of insurance carriers.

That's not exactly how Executive Director Peter Lee portrayed the marketplace in July, when he announced the 2015 plans.

"We've given consumers the power to choose, the power to choose the right plan for them, in every market in California," says Lee.

The exchange says it now recognizes that range of choice in Northern California needs significant improvement. It says choice is a problem in parts of Alameda County, Monterrey and San Luis Obispo, too.

The lack of insurers in some areas is expected to be discussed at this Monday's Board of Directors' meeting. 

Dr. Jerry Kominski of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research says it's always better to have more insurers to improve access and keep costs down.

"But it is difficult in a purely market environment to guarantee the same uniform standard of coverage throughout the entire state," says Kominski.

Covered California board members are expected to discuss bringing more carriers into the marketplace in 2016.

Pauline Bartolone


Pauline Bartolone has been a journalist for more than 15 years, during which she was Capital Public Radio’s healthcare reporter from 2011-2015. Her work has aired frequently on National Public Radio.  Read Full Bio 

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