Bill Would Make Pregnancy a Qualifying Event for Covered Calif.
On Thursday, the California Assembly approved a bill (AB 1102) that would make pregnancy a qualifying event to purchase health coverage through Covered California outside of the exchange's open enrollment period, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports (AP/Sacramento Bee, 6/4).
Under the Affordable Care Act, women who become pregnant can only purchase a health plan outside of the enrollment period after they have given birth.
In March, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) sent a letter urging Covered California officials to allow women to sign up for coverage outside of the open enrollment period if they become pregnant.
Boxer and Feinstein wrote, "Allowing women to purchase health insurance during pregnancy will increase access to care and has the potential to improve health, save lives and reduce future health costs."
The letter to Covered California followed a similar push by a group of Democratic U.S. senators to include pregnancy as a qualifying life event on the national level.
Christina Postolowski -- health policy manager at Young Invincibles, which supports the push to include pregnancy as a qualifying event -- said that California's decision could influence federal policy.
However, Nicole Evans, a spokesperson for the California Association of Health Plans, said that such a policy change could drive up costs (California Healthline, 3/12).
Details of Bill
AB 1102, by Assembly member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), would require insurers to allow individuals without the minimum essential coverage enroll or change their health plan when they become pregnant. It would go into effect in 2017.
Opponents of the measure say it would undermine efforts to ensure all residents sign up for coverage.
The bill now heads to the state Senate (AP/Sacramento Bee, 6/4).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.