Governor Newsom Signs Key Bills to Keep Californians Covered

  • Governor Newsom has signed a series of bills that will help keep Californians get on and stay on health coverage, connecting them to their health plan options. 
  • Today, he signed SB 644 (Leyva) which will connect those filing for unemployment insurance to Covered California and their health plan options.
  • Earlier this week, Newsom signed AB 2530 (Wood) to provide Covered California health benefits to workers that lose their health benefits while on strike.
  • Last month, the Governor signed SB 967 (Hertzberg) to add a check box on tax forms, to connect uninsured Californians with their Covered California and Medi-Cal health plan options.

SACRAMENTO, CA — Governor Newsom has taken action on a number of bills that will help keep Californians covered and better connect them to their health plan options.

Today he signed SB 644 by Senator Leyva to allow California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) to share contacts with Covered California for follow-up, ensuring that those losing their jobs, and likely their health benefits as well, are aware of their options for affordable health care plans through the state’s health insurance marketplace.

“In our current system, health care is closely tied to employment. When people lose their jobs, they often also lose their health benefits. California can now connect those who apply for unemployment benefits to their health coverage options,” said Jose Torres Casillas, policy and legislative advocate for Health Access California, a co-sponsor of SB 644. “This new law will help prevent harmful gaps in coverage and the health and financial consequences of becoming uninsured.”

Complementary to other bills in the #Care4AllCA package that expand health care access and affordability, SB 644 is one of three bills highlighted by the coalition that focused on making health coverage administratively easy to sign up for like when people are filing their taxes, for unemployment insurance, or going on strike. Also recently acted on by the Governor are:

  • SB 967 (Hertzberg): Connecting Taxpayers to Coverage Information. Since many Californians are uninsured due to lack of information about their options, Governor Newsom last month signed this bill that will add a check box on state tax forms for people to indicate if they are interested in receiving information about low-cost health care coverage options. The bill was co-sponsored by Health Access California and the American Heart Association.
  • AB 2530 (Wood): Keeping Striking Workers Covered. This new law, signed by the Governor this week, provides health benefits through Covered California to workers and their families who lose health benefits due to a labor dispute. Exercising their right to strike should not mean a worker loses health coverage for themselves or their families.

“These new laws will be key to connecting Californians with coverage, especially during life transitions or when engaging with other state agencies. In our fragmented health system, these laws will help prevent Californians from falling through the cracks of coverage and make it easier to get on and stay on health insurance,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California. “As we seek to make health coverage more accessible and affordable, we also need to make signing up more administratively simple, if not automatic. California is taking these important steps to make our health system a bit more seamless, so people don’t fall off coverage and face gaps in care.”