September 30, 2013
In what has been one of the most fluid deadlines put forth by the state’s health benefit exchange, staff members at Covered California are now saying it will be on or around Oct. 1 before the provider directories for participating health plans are made available to the public.
Despite the importance of this directory, as voiced by both provider and patient advocates wanting to know which providers are being included in the exchange networks, the deadline for release has continued to slide.
In late May, Covered California said it was hoping to have the online provider database up and running by the end of July. The July deadline, however, came and went with almost no mention. The information containing the timelines was also quietly removed from the exchange’s consumer website.
Since that time, the release date for the online directory has been rather nebulous, with Covered California being hesitant to target an actual date. Instead, conjectures such as “end of summer” or “early August” have been tossed around, but not much else has been said.
In late September, Peter Lee, executive director for Covered California, told members of the Assembly Committee on Health that the provider directory would be accessible through the exchange’s website, www.coveredca.com, on Oct. 1.
It remains to be seen whether the directories will be ready to go for the first days of open enrollment and if they are, what Covered California's plans will do should the accuracy of these directories be called into question.
Once the directories are available, the California Medical Association (CMA) recommends physicians review their status with plans offered in their area to determine whether they are showing as participating or non-participating. Questions about participation status can be directed to the plans.
For more information on Covered California, see CMA’s exchange resource center.