The DOI Fights for Protection and Competition in the Health Insurance Marketplace

by John Hansen

Dave Jones, Commissioner of the California Department of Insurance (DOI), stated the goals of his department. Those objectives are to protect consumers and to maintain or increase competition in the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Protect Consumers Entering the Health Insurance Marketplace

Jones said, “We want to make sure consumers are well served and have someone on their side.” One objective of the DOI is to protect consumers from California health plans as well as predatory agents. Toward this end, the DOI licenses agents who sell in the Health Insurance Marketplace, requiring them to take courses in ethics. This government agency also prosecutes agents, health plans, networks and providers that go against the law to the harm of California consumers of insurance.

Make Sure Multiple Insurance Products are Offered in a Competitive Market

Options are important. The more options there are in the Health Insurance Marketplace, the more competition. When there is competition, health plans lower prices and improve benefits in order to attract consumers. Ultimately, this leads to higher quality and more affordable pricing.

Dave Jones commented, “I have strong views about competition.” He lamented that Covered California gave United Health Care (UHC) and Health Net limited opportunities to sell plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Regarding UHC, he said, “They were willing to do all of California. It was a mistake not to let them. I hope they’re still interested.”