Key Patient Protections Pass Legislature, Now On Governor’s Desk

With the California Legislature adjourning after midnight last Saturday, most of the action on priority bills for health consumers moves to the Governor’s desk. Most of the Heath Access-sponsored bills protecting consumers from unfair out-of-pocket costs are now one Governor’s signature away from enactment. There were disappointments in the final days of this year’s legislative […] Read More

Senate Health Committee Passes AB 248 (Health Insurance Minimum Value) Out on 6-1 Vote

Today, the Senate Health Committee heard AB 248 (R. Hernández) and passed it out on a 6-1 vote, with Senator Nielsen voting no and Senator Nguyen abstaining. Sponsored by Health Access, AB 248 would close a loophole created by federal guidance that allows insurers and health plans to sell subminimum coverage to large employers. Specifically, AB248 protects […] Read More

Closing a Loophole on Subminimum Coverage

California Healthline this week is hosting a discussion on our bill, SB248 (Hernandez) to prohibit subminimum coverage. We sponsored this bill to close a loophole in the ACA that allows such coverage–prohibited in the individual and small group markets–to be offered by large employers, and if taken up could prohibit workers from getting subsidies for […] Read More

Removing the fear of the fine print…

As directed by the Affordable Care Act, the Institute of Medicine has been undertaking an important process to better determine what an “essential health benefits” package should look like. This is critical to the success of the Act, both in what Californians should be required to have in terms of coverage, and at what we […] Read More

Even cheap junk is still junk…

“Maybe something isn’t always better than nothing.” That’s the appropriate lead sentence in a New York Times article by Reed Abelson, detailing a Senate Commerce Committee hearing today that investigated so-called mini-med health plans–or “junk insurance” plans that offer so little coverage, you might as well have been uninsured and saved the premium dollars. The […] Read More

A deductible between you and your doctor…

The Los Angeles Times has an important story by Duke Helfand on the rise of high-deductible health plans, and the risk that come with them. It focuses on a new report by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, which reveals the increased costs–and delayed care–that patients experience under such coverage. Check out the study […] Read More

New data on debt shows need for action…

With new data being published about health coverage and medical debt, it’s clear we need state and federal action to prevent Californians from falling into uninsurance and underinsurance. More than 2.2 million California adults report having medical debt, and two-thirds of those incurred the debt while insured, according to the authors of “The State of […] Read More

Online help dealing with hospital bills…

With California’s large and growing uninsured & underinsured population, we at Health Access are really pleased to unveil a new website–http://www.HospitalBillHelp.org–to help California patients know their consumer rights and financial options to deal with the biggest bill they get in their entire life. Here’s the release that announces the new resource: New Consumer Protection Website […] Read More

Bitten by a snake (not COBRA)…

The Sacramento Bee had front-page coverage, by reporter Bobby Caina Calvan, of a specific angle on health reform, and the need for coverage to have some cap on out-of-pocket expenses. Otherwise, the patient who has been paying premiums is still faced with unlimited financial risk and burden. The major federal health reform bills, like H.R.3200, […] Read More

Insurance for Insurance

So UnitedHealth is going to start offering coverage that will ensure you can get coverage. Doesn’t it sound like a bizarre movie plot? So basically, if you pass a health test, and anticipate that you might have a pre-existing condition issue later that may prevent you from getting coverage, and may need itinerant coverage on […] Read More