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AB 2244 – Now More Important Than Ever

Assembly Bill 2244 (Feuer) is one of more than a dozen bills on the Governor’s desk that would implement key policies of the PPACA.

If passed, AB 2244 would, among others, prevent insurance companies from denying coverage for sick children and limit how much insurers would be able to charge families of children with pre-existing conditions.

Starting today, the PPACA requires that health insurers honor all applications for child-only coverage. Fearing that parents will enroll their children only when they get sick, several private insurers in California said earlier this week that they will stop writing new child-only plans because of this coverage requirement (the federal reform provision only applies to existing child-only plans).

For more on the insurers’ announcement, see this article in Monday’s California HealthLine.

With this announcement, AB 2244 becomes even more important. If signed into law, the bill would impose a penalty on non-compliant insurance companies, preventing them from selling new plans in California for five years if they decide to go forward with their plan not to sell new child-specific insurance plans.

To put the overstated concerns of these particular private insurers in a real-world context, we researched the number of uninsured California children in poor health with incomes above 250% of the federal poverty level (and thus not eligible for Medi-Cal or Healthy Families). According to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, in 2007 the number was a mere 4,000 out of the 10 million children in California.

The Governor has until September 30th to sign or veto all bills.

On this, the six-month anniversary of the PPACA, we at ITUP hope that our state truly begins increasing opportunities for coverage, especially for children who desperately need and deserve care.

Will you join us?