Senate Health Committee Moves Key Bills Forward

Senate Health Committee passed ABX1 2 (Pan) reforming the individual market today with little fanfare.  The bill got one Republican vote from Senator Anderson, and one throwback cry of “rationed care” from Senator Nielsen.
The Committee considered 2 other bills of importance to health care consumers in the regular session, both by Senator Ted Lieu.
SB266 (Lieu) protects consumers from the consequences of unwittingly using and being charged for using out-of-network providers.  Currently a health care practice may be listed as “in-network”
even if not all of its providers (hospitals and other facilities often contract with independent providers) are not, which may result in consumers thinking they are going somewhere that is covered and in their coverage network, only to find out upon receiving a large bill, that the individual provider that treated them was out-of-network.  This bill will make it more clear to consumers which facilities are in-network.  This bill passed out of Committee with unanimous support.
SB353 (Lieu), a measure sponsored by Health Access and CPEHN, is a continuation of Senator Lieu’s previous efforts to protect consumers from deceptive marketing, particularly vulnerable and limited English proficient communities.  Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, there have been numerous attempts by unscrupulous entities to mislead consumers by misrepresenting themselves as the Exchange or other ACA programs.  This bill would require the Department of Insurance to review marketing materials that plans produce to ensure that they are not misleading. This is an authority that the Department of Managed Health Care already has.  Additionally, it requires that health plans that market to consumers in non-English languages provide comprehensive information about their products in those languages to ensure that consumers are able to make truly informed decisions about their health plans. This bill was opposed by insurers and passed on a party line vote.
Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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