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Health-Related Bills Signed into Law Before Deadline

October 9 was Governor Brown’s deadline to sign pending legislation into law. This past week, the following bills were signed.

SB 51 (Alquist): Implements MLRs by requiring insurers to spend 80-85% of premium dollars on health care. Removes annual and lifetime caps on benefits. Supports provisions in ACA.

AB 922 (Monning): Improves Office of Patient Advocate (OPA) by providing a center to handle questions and complaints. Moves the Department of Managed Healthcare and OPA under HHSA.

AB 1296 (Bonilla): Requires HHSA to establish a standardized application for Medi-Cal, the Exchange, and county programs.

SB 222 (Evans) and AB 210 (Hernandez): Require small group and individual health plans to include maternity coverage beginning July 2012. Since 1975, California law has required HMOs and large group plans to include maternity coverage. Federal law requires employers who have 15+ employees and offer coverage to cover maternity services. New laws could increase premiums by an average of $6.92. ACA requires this provision in 2014.

SB 299 (Evans): Requires employers with group plans to maintain and pay for coverage for women who take maternity leave.

SB 946 (Steinberg): Requires private health plans to cover treatment for children with autism. Exempts Medi-Cal and Healthy Families.

Read more from the Sacramento Bee, California Healthline and Health Access.

Prior to last week, Brown signed the following bills.

SB 335 (Hernandez) extends a hospital fee to increase funding for Medi-Cal through 2013 and ABX 1 21 (Blumenfeld) extends a fee on Medi-Cal managed care plans for another year. SB 335 is estimated to generate $2.2B in fee revenue paid by private hospitals, $320M of which will be used for children’s coverage. The remaining $1.9B will be matched by federal dollars, generating approximately $3.7B in new payments to private hospitals. ABX1 21 is estimated to raise $207M in 2011-2012. Approximately half will be used to help fill a $130M funding gap in the Healthy Families Program caused by state budget cuts. Read more about SB 335 and ABX1 21 here.

 

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