SB 458 by Sen. Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo) was amended to allow a special commission -- established to develop methods to promote quality health care and cost-effective treatment -- to offer private health coverage for residents of the commission's county, other counties or both. The bill would authorize a pilot project under which as many as 200,000 employees who work in industries with low levels of health insurance coverage could enroll in health plans. The program would run until Jan. 1, 2009 (Bill text, 6/8). The bill was approved by the Assembly Health Committee and moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee (StateNet, Subscription required).
AB 1971 by Assembly member Wilma Chan (D-Oakland) was amended to extend until Jan. 1, 2008, a pilot program under which health plans and insurers are required to offer a standard benefit plan to eligible individuals. The bill would require that Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board fund the benefit and that health plans and insurers offer, market and sell a standard benefit plan to all individuals beginning Jan. 1, 2008, regardless of an individual's medical history. Health plans and insurers who choose not to offer a standard plan could pay a fee to help fund the program. Originally, Chan's measure would have required the board to make recommendations to the Legislature on fully establishing a high-risk pool for uninsurable individuals and would have allowed the board to apply for federal funds to finance the program (Bill text, 6/12). The bill was rereferred to the Senate Banking, Finance and Insurance Committee and a hearing was scheduled for June 28 (Bill status, 6/14).
AB 977 by Assembly member Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara) was amended to require health plans and insurers to apply to the director of the Department of Managed Care or to the insurance commissioner for approval to market policies that include deductibles, copayments, or other out-of-pocket costs or coverage limits. The requirement would apply to plans or policies offered on or after Jan. 1, 2008. The amended bill also would require the director and commissioner by Jan. 1, 2008, to develop regulations for reviewing applications. The legislation would require a public-comment period before health plans that are substantially different from existing plans could be accepted or denied (Bill text, 6/12). The bill was rereferred to the Senate Banking, Finance and Insurance Committee and a hearing was scheduled for June 21 (Bill status, 6/14).
AB 2889 by Assembly member Dario Frommer (D-Glendale) was amended to require health plans and insurers to allow an individual who has had health coverage for at least 18 months to transfer, without medical underwriting, to another individual health plan or health benefit that is offered by the health plan or insurer and has equal or greater cost-sharing. The measure originally expanded the definition of a "federally eligible defined individual" to include a person who has had 18 months of creditable health care coverage and would have prohibited health plans from denying coverage to a larger group of individuals (Bill text, 6/12). The bill was rereferred to the Senate Banking, Finance and Insurance Committee and a hearing was schedule for June 21 (Bill status, 6/12).
The Senate Health Committee voted 5-4 to approve AB 1840 by Assembly member Jerome Horton (D-Ingelwood), and it was rereferred to the Senate Banking, Finance and Insurance Committee (Bill status, 6/14). The bill would require DHS and MRMIB to report to the Legislature by March 15, 2007, businesses that employ at least 25 workers who are beneficiaries of public health insurance programs. The bill also would require public disclosure of the report (Bill text, 6/12). A hearing was scheduled for June 21 (StateNet, Subscription required).