Bill Would Establish New Ombudsman Office for Post-Reform Market
Californians seeking to navigate the post-reform health care market could receive help from a new ombudsman office if the Legislature approves a new bill, Payers & Providers reports.
AB 2787, by Assembly members Bill Monning (D-Santa Cruz) and Elaine Alquist (D-San Jose), would create the California Health Ombudsman office to help Californians:
- LearnÂ moreÂ about their health care choices;
- Enroll in health plans;
- Obtain tax credits created by the recent health care reform law; and
- Receive answers to their questions through a 24-hour hotline.
The new office would be established using part of the $30 million appropriated under the reform law to boost consumer protections. Later funding would be drawn from fees levied on health plans.
Concerns About Duplicative Services
Health plans and health insurance lobbying groups oppose the new office because they say it would duplicate the services offered to consumers by other state agencies.
A spokesperson for Monning said the ombudsman office would help consolidate the nine different agencies that currently provide consumer assistance on health plans.
The bill passed the Senate Health Committee last month, and it is scheduled to go before the Senate Appropriations Committee at an unspecified date.
An updated version of the legislation then must go before the Assembly, which approved a previous version of the bill in May (Payers & Providers, 7/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.