Federal Bill Would Override State Health Coverage Laws
The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would pre-empt state laws that require insurers to cover certain services, such as maternity care and diabetes supplies, the Los Angeles Times reports. California "would be one of the states most affected by the legislation," as state rules require insurers to cover 23 specific treatments and procedures, according to the Times.
Sponsors of the bill say the legislation would allow insurers to reduce the cost of certain plans, which would encourage more small businesses to purchase coverage for workers.
A provision of the bill would supersede state laws that limit how much insurers can vary premiums for small businesses based on the health of employees.
Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi (D) said the provision "will create a very powerful pressure not to hire people who could be expensive" because of their health care needs (Brownstein, Los Angeles Times, 3/16).