Covered California fixes glitch and adds physician search tool

Health Overhaul California

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Gina Macaluso, an employee of Covered California, the state's new health care exchange, provides health insurance at the newly opened call center in Rancho Cordova.

 

Covering California series icon 2013

 Covered California officials say they've fixed a  troublesome glitch on the state-run health insurance marketplace that last week prevented  consumers from searching for their health care provider before signing up for a medical plan. 

Without that piece of information, consumers who buy a plan from a company other than Kaiser, which has an inclusive provider network, may find their doctor is not covered by their plan.  

That's because some of the  dozen insurance companies now selling health care polices through Covered California have announced they'll be limiting their provider networks to those doctors and facilities that agree to reduced fees.

"For anybody who wants to select  Kaiser,  there really is not any problem with enrolling because Kaiser’s network is known," says Jerry Kominski,  director of UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research. "Where it comes into play is for the other insurers that are offering coverage through Covered California."

A Covered California spokesman says that as of late Monday afternoon, the glitch is fixed and consumers can now now search insurance plans for participating doctors. 

Kominski, meantime, reminds consumers shopping on Covered California that there’s no need to rush to buy medical coverage now, as any health plan purchased on the online marketplace through Dec. 15 won’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2014.   

 

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