Senate Health Committee met this afternoon, and considered as part of its agenda, 3 bills of benefits to California health care consumers. We followed it on Twitter @healthaccess.
SB1410 (Hernandez) improves upon Independent Medical Review, the process by which consumers can appeal denial of care decisions. The changes are intended to make the process more robust and transparent, bolstering the requirements for the individuals performing reviews, and creating a searchable internet database of decisions (which are intended to serve as precedent for future complaints). The bill will also require race, ethnic, and language data collection to determine whether there are health equity issues that need to be addressed.
SB970 (De Leon) would implement “horizontal integration” or integration between health and human services programs. This would mean individuals who apply for social services programs could be automatically screened for health coverage programs and vice versa. For purposes of maximizing enrollment into new health coverage options, this would help identify uninsured individuals and help them seamlessly and effortlessly enroll in coverage. This bill would make great strides in the effort to creating a no wrong door approach to eligibility and enrollment that the state seeks to put into place in conjunction with the implementation of health reform.
SB951 (Hernandez) is an essential health benefits bill, the Senate version of AB1453 (Monning) which was heard yesterday. The bill reflect’s the state’s choice of the Kaiser Small Group HMO, its benefits and consumer protections as the baseline for what all plans sold in the individual and small group markets must cover. The discussion of the bill was almost identical to yesterday’s, with broad support and agreement over the importance of the essential health benefits in protecting consumers from purchasing inadequate coverage.
All three bills passed and move on to Appropriations.