California Lawmakers To Weigh Multiple ACA-Related Measures
California lawmakers must move quickly in the new legislative session -- which begins on Monday -- to pass measures that would implement Affordable Care Act provisions, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Details of ACA-Related Provisions
Lawmakers likely will consider a series of measures related toÂ the new state health insurance exchange (Mishak, Los Angeles Times, 12/2).
The ACA requires states to launch online insurance marketplaces by 2014. California's exchange -- named Covered California -- primarily will serve individuals and small businesses.
The exchange is expected to open for registration in October 2013 (California Healthline, 11/19).
Exchange-related measures that lawmakers likely will consider include:
- A requirement for insurers to cover participants who have preexisting health conditions; and
- Limits for how much insurers can charge based on participants' ages.
Insurers have asked lawmakers to avoid approving requirements that could make policies offered through the exchange unaffordable.
Nicole Evans -- a spokesperson for the California Association of Health Plans -- said, "We think the [ACA] does much to get millions of people coverage, but new insurance taxes, costly benefit requirements and age pricing restrictions all have the potential of driving up costs."
Details of Basic Health Plan Bill
Lawmakers also could consider a measure (SB 703) that would establish a health plan for individuals who cannot afford to purchase insurance through the exchange but make too much money to qualify for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program. The plan -- known as the Basic Health Plan -- would cover individuals with incomes between 133% and 200% of the federal poverty level, or between $15,000 and $21,800 annually.Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) -- chair of the Senate Health Committee and author of the bill -- said the plan is needed to help low-income residents with jobs. He said, "I don't think they should be choosing between putting food on the table and buying health insurance" (Los Angeles Times, 12/2). 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.