SB 437 by Sen. Martha Escutia (D-Norwalk) was amended to require counties to collaborate on developing an automated enrollment system for the Healthy Kids insurance program, thereby making it a state-mandated local program. The bill would eliminate family income eligibility requirements under the Medi-Cal Bridge Program and eliminate the time limit for receiving benefits under the Medi-Cal and Healthy Families bridge programs. The bridge programs currently allow people applying for Medi-Cal or Healthy Families to receive two months or one month of benefits, respectively, while their applications are pending. In addition, the amended bill would require counties to develop plans for enrolling more children in state-sponsored health insurance programs, to be funded through annual budget allocations or other sources. The bill previously would have eased eligibility requirements only for Healthy Families (Bill text, 5/11).
The Assembly Appropriations Committee voted 12-5 to pass AB 2281 by Assembly member Wilma Chan (D-Oakland) (Bill status, 5/17). The bill would require the Department of Managed Health Care director and the insurance commissioner to post information on their departments' Web sites that helps consumers evaluate health care coverage plans. The bill would require the information to be posted by July 1, 2007. The bill also would establish standards and disclosure requirements for health care plans and health insurance for policies beginning July 1, 2007 (Bill text, 5/10).
AB 409 by Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) was withdrawn from the Senate Government Modernization, Efficiency and Accountability Committee and re-referred to the Senate Health Committee (Bill history, 5/15). The bill was amended on May 10 to require the administrative director of the Division of Workers' Compensation to establish a utilization review process to be managed by a medical director. The amended bill would require the medical director to name physicians to approve, modify, delay or deny workers' treatment claims. The bill also would establish a fund to pay for the management and expenses of the utilization review unit (Bill text, 5/10). Originally, the bill addressed state contracts and small business bidding preferences (StateNet, Subscription required).