California’s health benefit exchange marketplace, Covered California, has retained the former head of the state’s Department of Finance to provide counsel relative to financial sustainability, budgeting and evaluation analytics, the exchange announced. Ana J. Matosantos served as the Golden State’s top budget official from 2009 to 2013 under the administrations of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown. Matosantos was given a six-month contract and will be paid $120,000 for her services. The appointment of Matosantos comes as the exchange prepares to transition starting in 2015 from federal grant support to an operating budget fully based on revenues from fees assessed on health plan issuers offering qualified health plans (QHPs) through the exchange.
In July of 2013, the California State Auditor deemed Covered California a “high risk” state entity due to uncertainty associated with projected enrollment in exchange QHPs and the associated impact on fee revenues. The State Auditor’s report concluded Covered California “appears to have engaged in a thoughtful planning process to ensure that it will remain solvent in the future,” adding that its “financial sustainability will continue to be an area of risk that will need to be closely monitored.” Last week, Covered California announced robust enrollment in QHPs during the last quarter of 2013 — the first half of the 6-month-long plan year 2014 initial open enrollment period — reporting slightly more than 500,000 Californians enrolled in QHPs during the quarter.
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