CHPW at Last Week’s Board Meeting

CHPWlogosunThe following is a transcript of the testimony provided by representative of Community Health Plan of Washington, Alia Kaneko, at the Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board Meeting last week on August 21.

The Board allowed for public comment after a discussion on the number of approved plans for the Exchange and the desire to extend the deadline so those plans, like CHPW, in the appeal process could be approved to be on the Exchange in 2014.

The Board ultimately moved to delay the vote until a special meeting on August 29. For more information, please read this statement, released by CFO of the Exchange, Richard Onizuka.

Alia Kaneko, Associate General Counsel:

“My name is Alia Kaneko and I’m here representing Community Health Plan of Washington and I wanted to thank you Madam Chairman and also the entire board for hearing my testimony today. I appreciate that very much. And I hope I’m not repeating anything others have already gone over. I just want to offer the perspective of my organization about the problems that we’ve been through in seeking QHP certification and also where we are now.

For those who don’t know CHPW is a really mission-driven organization. We have origins in and a sustained focus on serving populations and individuals that are traditionally, medically under-served. To that end, when we design the products that we’ve offered for certification, we had a couple of specific needs of those populations in mind. We’re thinking about continuity of care, and one of the highlights of the plans, in our vision, was the ability for members seeking primary care and sub-set of specialty care services, as well as all preventative services through a certain group of providers. All that cost-sharing would be waived. So somebody who just lost Medicaid eligibility would be able to walk into their PCP and have no dollars in their pocket and still go in and have that visit, or get outpatient substance abuse, or outpatient mental health treatment. So that was at the core of our design.

I personally have worked with the OIC’s incredibly thoughtful and very talented staff throughout this entire process. And I had a great amount of fun, and great amount of collaboration with them. I don’t want anything I say today to be taken as a knock towards the incredible efforts they’ve put forward because it’s not. This is hard process. It was difficult to work with, I’m sure, us being new to this market. I do think that we had a lot of very productive interactions throughout the process and then fairly late in the game, from the OIC perspective there was an issue that would represent a regulatory barrier. Something they felt we couldn’t get around. And while CHPW disagrees and that’s why we’ve filed the appeal we have presently, we also think we can continuously work together to resolve that issue. We’ve already had productive conversations in the context of preparing for the hearing to help isolate the issues and to help get everybody on board for what we can do to resolve this.

I think our concern is that if we’re successful in the appeal, that there isn’t a clear remedy at this point to allow us to continue to seek our mission and to be able to produce our mission in 2014. I guess to echo what the gentleman said before me, is that the practical wisdom is ringing very true to me. I think no matter what, we don’t want to put anything on the market that looks like a beast that’s different than a QHP. That’s what we want. And we want to do that correctly. We do want the opportunity to that for 2014, if we’re able to satisfactorily resolve the issues that are remaining.

I think on the timing piece, if we were able to resolve that issue I think we could work very quickly and with much effort and get those documents resubmitted. Even on a reasonably timescale, I’m not sure that it would be, you know, more than a few days to be able to that. And possibly, much less on our end. That doesn’t say anything about the work that everyone else has to do to review those documents. I do want everyone present today to know that that’s something we’re more than willing to do and would look forward to the opportunity to do so. So, thank you very much.”