Measures on Maternity Coverage Provisions Await Brown’s Decision
Three bills before Gov. Jerry Brown (D) would adjust provisions of health care coverage for pregnant women in California, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The governor has not indicated his position on any of the measures.
Bill Requiring Individual Plans To Cover Maternity Care
Brown is considering a bill (SB 222), by Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), that would require health plans in the individual market to cover maternity care.
In California, HMOs and employer-sponsored insurance policies must include maternity care, but individual plans do not have the same requirement.
The costs of maternity care and delivery can be in the tens of thousands of dollars, and taxpayers generally pay the costs for those who do not have insurance.
Evans said the bill would help reduce public expenses because women who cannot find coverage turn to state-supported health care.
She said about 19% of people with individual policies had maternity coverage in 2009, compared with 82% in 2004.
Richard Wiebe -- a spokesperson for the Association of California Life and Health Insurance Companies -- said some insurers argue that people who do not need maternity coverage should not have to pay for it.
Other insurers have said establishing a new maternity coverage mandate in the state is not needed because the federal health reform law will require it in 2014.
Other Bills Address Workplace Maternity Leave, Prison Maternity Care
Two other bills related to maternity coverage also are before Brown.
SB 299, by Evans, would require employers to continue providing coverage for women who have taken maternity leave.
AB 568, by Assembly members Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), would ban the use of shackles on most pregnant prisoners and allow less restrictive restraints (Gorman, Los Angeles Times, 10/1).
On Friday, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reported on legislation to adjust maternity health care coverage in California (Bartolone, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 9/30).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.