CHA News Article

California Health Benefit Exchange Board Adopts Bridge Plan

The California Health Benefit Exchange Board met Feb. 26 to provide updates on the California Healthcare Eligibility, Enrollment and Retention System (CalHEERS), the Covered California customer service center, and qualified health plan contracting. At the meeting, the board adopted a staff recommendation to use bridge plans to promote continuity of coverage (see Feb. 25 CHA News) and create a more affordable product using a two-pronged strategy: 1) to begin implementation of a narrow bridge in 2014, and 2) to conduct further discussions with the federal government and research the potential of implementing a broad bridge.

Under this strategy, Covered California will, contingent on federal approval, begin the administrative processes in 2013 to allow low-cost bridge plan options to be offered as soon as possible in 2014, negotiating contracts with qualified Medi-Cal managed care plans that serve as a bridge between Medi-Cal/CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) coverage and private insurance. In addition, Covered California will conduct research and continue working with the federal government to develop a proposal for a broader bridge that would allow exchange-eligible Californians earning up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level to participate. The broader, more inclusive proposal would build on the eligible population of the narrow bridge plan concept and include both individuals who transition from Medi-Cal and Medi-Cal/CHIP, as well as family members in Medi-Cal/CHIP households. Implementation of a broad bridge would be contingent upon prior federal approval. 

To view slides and minutes from the Feb. 26 meeting, visit