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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) determined that states would have an exchange in operation by 2014 and that the exchange would meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and HHS guidance. If a state elected not to operate an exchange, or if the HHS determined that the state would not be able to have an exchange operational by 2014 that meets the law’s requirements, the ACA gave the HHS the authority to establish and operate such exchange within the state.
California was the first state to begin creating a health exchange after the ACA was signed. In fall 2010, only about six months after the federal law was signed, Governor Schwarzenegger enacted two state bills (AB 1602 and SB 900) to establish the California Health Benefit Exchange.
That same month, the federal government awarded the California Health and Human Services Agency a grant of $1 million. In 2011, the state was awarded another federal grant of $39.4 million, to be used for overall business and operational planning, research and analysis, and implementation of an information technology system. California applied for another grant in June 2012.
California’s exchange is an independent public entity within state government with a five-member board appointed by the Governor and the Legislature. The exchange became operational in January 2011.
The exchange, in collaboration with the state Department of Health Care Services and the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board, created a web-based eligibility and enrollment portal that will help consumers shop for insurance online with tools to compare plan benefits and costs, starting with open enrollment in October 2013.
The exchange developed a process to select qualified health plans to be offered to individuals and small businesses through the exchange starting in 2014.
California Health Facilities Financing Authority Act (§15438 and §15439)
Title 22 – California Health Benefit Exchange (§100500 – 100521)
Health and Safety Code:
Code of California Regulations
Title 10 Investment, Chapter 12 California Health Benefit Exchange
AB 1602 – as chaptered
SB 900 – as chaptered