California is opening the exchange to comply with federal healthcare reform. Thirteen insurance agencies will offer a variety of plans. While some plans will be available throughout the state, others will be targeted to specific regions.
Peter Lee is Executive Director of Covered California, the state agency created to run the health exchange. He says, contrary to the claims of critics who said the exchange would lead to higher prices, the plans will offer quality choices to consumers.
"These plans have reached out to doctors, to medical groups and hospitals to come together to offer competitive prices with rich benefits with very good networks," he says.
Lee says an extensive campaign will be launched to sign up eligible Californians.
Dr. Molly Coye is with the UCLA Health System, one of the participating providers. She says the exchange will help more people get access to healthcare.
"They've asked up to accept this challenge and we accept the challenge," she says. "It will be difficult, but very worth doing."
Plan registration will begin in October. The plans go into effect on January 1. About two and a half million Californians will be eligible for federal subsidies to help them pay for coverage.