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Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Highlights Importance of Maternity Coverage Laws

News: 2012 Press Release

For Release: June 29, 2012
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Highlights Importance of Maternity Coverage Laws
New Laws Significantly Enhance Health Insurance Coverage for Maternity Care

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today reminded Californians that beginning July 1, two important laws that expand maternity care coverage in California go into effect.

SB 222, by Senator and Legislative Women's Caucus Chair Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), will require health insurers in the individual market to provide coverage for maternity care. A companion measure, AB 210 by Assembly Assistant Majority Whip Roger Hernández (D-West Covina), will ensure equitable maternity coverage in California by requiring health insurance in the large and small group markets to cover maternity care.

"I would like to thank Senator Evans and Assembly Member Hernández for their tremendous leadership on this critical health issue that will positively impact millions of women and their families in California," said Commissioner Jones. "This is a vitally important issue and it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to help strongly advocate for such important changes."

"California is ahead of the curve for making the rights of pregnant mothers a priority. With this week's affirmation of the Affordable Care Act all women, not just in California, will have access to maternity care," said Senator Evans, Chair of the Legislative Women's Caucus and author of SB 222. "The implementation of SB 222 ensures that mothers-to-be no longer need to go without maternity care or maternity health insurance coverage protecting their health and the health of their child."

"Women and expectant mothers are now assured that their maternity services will be covered under the most basic insurance plan," said Assembly Member Hernández. "AB 210 guarantees that women will receive fair and affordable access to quality maternity care."

Both SB 222 and AB 210 will have a significant cost-saving effect because by increasing maternity coverage for women in California, the burden on the state to provide maternity coverage may also decrease. The federal Affordable Care Act, which was entirely upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday, requires maternity services to be covered as a basic benefit in state-run health insurance exchanges that will provide health coverage to millions of individuals. These new maternity laws help ensure this important coverage is provided and accessible to all.

Expanding coverage will also reduce the occurrence of premature births due to inadequate prenatal care.

Furthermore, a number of studies have shown that prenatal care essentially pays for itself by helping to minimize the prevalence of severity of low-birth weight babies. According to one study by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, every dollar cut from prenatal care ends up costing taxpayers up to $3.33 in neonatal care for sick babies.

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The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2013 the California Department of Insurance received more than 170,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $63 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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