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Covered California Getting Two More Health Plans


UnitedHealth and Oscar plan to offer insurance in parts of the state next year

California consumers will soon have more health insurance plans to choose from, making the market a bit more competitive.

Two additional companies, UnitedHealth and Oscar, plan to sell products beginning next year through Covered California.

UnitedHealth will market its policies in five regions of the state where consumers have few choices. These include some rural counties in Northern California, as well as San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties.

Oscar will offer coverage in places where competition is robust — Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Anthony Wright, executive director of the non-profit Health Access California, said having more choices for consumers is a positive.

“Especially in some areas in California where there’s only a handful of insurers operating, a third, or even second plan, would be greatly welcomed,” Wright said.

But because benefits under Covered California are standardized, he said, people will choose health plans based on "price, different options in terms of providers that they have access to, or if they can do better with regards to customer service."

Covered California also plans to announce on Monday its health plan rate increases for 2016. The open enrollment period begins on Nov. 1.