New Bill Would Mandate Maternity Coverage in Individual Health Plans
This week, Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) -- chair of the Legislative Women's Caucus -- introduced a bill (SB 155) that would require health plans in the individual health insurance market to provide comprehensive maternity coverage, the Eureka Times-Standard reports.
Impetus for Legislation
State law already requires HMOs and group insurance plans to provide coverage for maternity services, but individual plans are not required to do so.
In California, the percentage of individual plans offering maternity coverage fell from 82% in 2004 to 19% in 2009, according to a statement from Evans' office. Evans' office said the lack of individual coverage for maternity services increases costs for pregnant women and those who could become pregnant.
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones (D) and the American Congress of Obstetricians & Gynecologists have expressed support for SB 155Â (Eureka Times-Standard, 2/4).
In the past, the insurance industry has opposed legislation similar to Evans' bill. The industry contends that mandating coverage for specific services limits consumer choice and drives up premiums (Weintraub, HealthyCal, 2/2).
Although the state Legislature passed a maternity coverage bill (AB 1825) last year, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) vetoed the measure (Eureka Times-Standard, 2/4).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.