Busy week in implementing health reform

HEALTH ACCESS UPDATE
Monday, April 16, 2012

KEY HEALTH BILLS MOVE FORWARD
OTHERS COMING UP FOR HEARING THIS WEEK

* Last week, Health Committees passed measures to set an essential health benefits standard, streamline and intregate enrollment for health and human services, and more.
* Bills to reform individual health insurance market, including preventing denials for pre-existing conditions, up this week in key health committees.
* Other measures to implement and improve upon health reform need to be heard by policy committees before the April 27th deadline to pass bills out of the first policy committee.

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California’s effort to implement and improve the federal Affordable Care Act advanced last week, as both the Assembly and Senate committees passed key bills, including two to set a standard for essential health benefits for health insurance. Other important measures, including bills to reform the individual insurance market and ban the practice of denying care to those with pre-existing conditions, are up in those committees this week.

This actions come as a deadline approaches: bills that were introduced in 2012 must pass out of the first policy committee by April 27th.

For reports on past committee action, visit the Health Access Blog at http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=1019412729&msgid=4584911&act=XQ9M&c=5484&destination=http%3A%2F%2Fblog.health-access.org&l=5, where Health Access posts same-day reports on Health Committee actions. From the past several hearings where key health bills came up, the blog has posts about the committee actions both in March in the Assembly, and in the Senate, and in April when the committees passed the essential health benefit bills, and also legislation regarding wellness programs (in the Assembly) and bills to streamline enrollment for health and human services, and improve independent medical review (in the Senate).

Health bills related to implementing the federal health reform that have passed out of committee already this year include:
AB1580 (Bonilla) Eligibility and Enrollment
AB1869 (Perez) Office of the Patient Advocate
AB1961 (Perez) Deceptive Marketing and the Exchange
AB1636 (Monning) Wellness Incentives
AB2152 (Eng) Disclosure and Notice, Consumer Protection
AB1453 (Monning) Essential Health Benefits
SB951 (Hernandez) Essential Health Benefits
SB970 (De Leon) Horizontal Integration
SB1081 (Fuller) Low Income Health Program
SB1410 (Hernandez) Independent Medical Review

A full list of the many bills that are pending to fulfill the promise of the federal health reform is available on the Health Access website, including those that have already advanced part-way through the legislative process in the past year. To be ready for reform in late 2013/day one of 2014, implementing legislation needs to pass and be signed in 2012.

Here are some key bills that have been scheduled for consideration in the next two weeks and a list of those that have already moved forward:

Assembly Health Committee
Tuesday April 17, 2012 1:30pm
Letters for bills being heard during this meeting are due on Tuesday April 10, 2012. Meetings are held in Room 4202 of the State Capitol.

* AB1461 (Monning) Prevents insurers from denying or discriminating for pre-existing conditions, and otherwise conform and phase-in new insurance market rules for individuals who purchase insurance on their own. Limits different premiums based on age to 3:1.

* AB2350 (Monning) Requires health plans and insurers to provide information about the number of people enrolled in specific products in order to track the number of people who are enrolled in non-comprehensive health insurance or in grandfathered plans that do not provide new consumer protections.

Senate Health Committee
Wednesday April 18, 2012 1:30pm
Letters for bills being heard during this meeting are due on Wednesday April 11, 2012. Meetings are held in Room 4203 of the State Capitol.

* SB961 (Hernandez) Prevents insurers from denying or discriminating for pre-existing conditions, and otherwise conform and phase-in new insurance market rules for individuals who purchase insurance on their own. Limits different premiums based on age to 3:1.

Assembly Health Committee
Tuesday April 24, 2012 1:30pm
Letters for bills being heard during this meeting are due on Tuesday April 17, 2012. Meetings are held in Room 4202 of the State Capitol.

* AB1800 (Ma) Limits cost sharing for consumers and creates a single deductible so that consumers do not have to meet separate deductibles for health care, pharmacy, etc. (Sponsored by Health Access California and the MS Society.)

* AB2204 (Hernandez) Requires the Department of Public Health to develop and utilize a health equity tool to measure progress toward health equity goals as part of regular evaluation of goals and progress.

Senate Health Committee
Wednesday April 25, 2012 1:30pm
Letters for bills being heard during this meeting are due on Wednesday April 18, 2012. Meetings are held in Room 4203 of the State Capitol.

* SB1431 (DeLeon) This bill prohibits small employers from “self-insuring” in order to evade new requirements of the small group market. (Sponsored by the Department of Insurance.)

* SB1313 (Lieu) This bill will seek to prevent efforts to mislead consumers, as health care reform brings more options to consumers. (Sponsored by California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, California Immigrant Policy Center, and Consumers Union.)

Again, for a broader list of legislation introduced this year impacting health care consumers, or a more specific list of this year’s bills related to implementing the Affordable Care Act in California, visit the Health Access California website.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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