Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Five New Healthcare Bills in the California Legislature Could Greatly Impact Healthcare Costs, Choice and Coverage Levels

SB 910 — would remove an individual's ability to purchase short-term health insurance policies starting in 2019. The Department of Health and Human Services expressly allowed the sale on such plans last year. Recently, HHS further proposed a rule to expand short-term plans from less than 3 month terms to just under a year. CA SB 910’s supporters call these short-term plans “junk insurance” because they don’t have to cover each and every one of the so called 10 "essential benefits" required by PPACA. SB 910 would compel consumers to purchase plans covering areas of health that may not be needed for the purchaser.

SB 974 — would allow low-income adults who are in the U.S. unlawfully to sign up for Medi-Cal. Experts estimate that nearly 2 million of the 3 million uninsured Californians are in the country without legal documentation. State law already offers Medi-Cal to individuals under the age of 19 who are here illegally. This would expand taxpayer sponsored healthcare coverage to adults present unlawfully.

SB 538 — would prohibit agreements that the state viewed as "anti-competitive" between hospitals and insurers. SB 538 proponents believe the legislation would create more price competition among health care providers by adding more bureaucratic oversite at the state level.

AB 587 — This measure would expand the state’s bulk prescription drug purchasing program by allowing counties and local governments to join, potentially enabling them to purchase drugs at lower costs.

AB 595 — would give the state oversight of potential mergers between nationwide health insurance plans. The proposed law would mean that California could veto the marriage of insurance carriers within its boarders, ultimately leading to more carriers exiting California.