Quick Update from Monday’s Legislative Action

More health reform implementation bills moved closer to passage in the California Legislature today as the session approaches tomorrow’s end date. Three bills of note head to a final concurrence vote tomorrow before going to the Governor’s desk.

The Assembly passed SB 890 (Alquist), which would standardize the individual market, categorizing insurance plans by actuarial value. This is an important protection that will give consumers a better idea of the out-of-pocket expenses that they may incur. This bill will also shorten the period of time that individuals must wait before changing plans (without having to undergo underwriting again) to one year.

The Assembly also passed SB 1163 (Leno), a bill that would require insurers to provide regulators and put in public domain the data and methodology for such rates and rate increases, and would double the notice period for rate hikes from 30 to 60 days.

Both bills are in the Senate tomorrow.

The Senate passed AB2470 (De La Torre) to implement the part of federal health reform that eliminates rescissions. It will be up the Assembly tomorrow.

The Senate also considered AB2578 (Jones), to require insurers to justify their rates and to give regulators the authority to approve or reject rate hikes and changes, did come up for a vote, but failed to get the 21 votes needed for passage. It got 17 votes, with Republicans and three Democrats (Calderon, Correa, and Wright) voting no, and three other Democrats abstaning. The bill was granted reconsideration and could be up tomorrow for a final attempt at passage.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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