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Hundreds of Thousands of Californians May Leave Employer-Sponsored Health Plans

Mar 6, 2013

The leader of California’s new health benefit exchange says he doesn’t expect employers to drop employees from health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

But he says people may choose to leave on their own. Health care reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

Executive Director of Covered California Peter Lee says a few hundred thousand Californians may choose to leave their employer plans and sign up through the exchange over its first five years.

Lee says large employers are required to offer affordable health coverage under the federal health law. 

“If they’re offering coverage that’s pretty bad coverage that’s thin coverage, that employee can come to us and get a federal subsidy and get health care through Covered California. If that’s the case, that employer might get dinged with a federal penalty, saying they aren’t offering rich enough coverage,” says Lee. 

Lee says a person’s ability to benefit from the switch depends on factors such as their income. He says the number of Californians who would leave their job’s coverage is small compared to the five million who are expected to be covered overall through the marketplace.