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Urgency bill to give small employers the option to keep existing health policy coverage passes Senate Health Committee

News: 2014 Press Release

For Release: May 8, 2014
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Urgency bill to give small employers the option to keep existing health policy coverage passes Senate Health Committee

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Late yesterday, the Senate Health Committee unanimously passed SB 1446 (DeSaulnier) which will give small employers with non-grandfathered health insurance coverage purchased by October 1, 2013 (including those policies renewed by December 31, 2013) the option to renew their existing coverage for one year, rather than be required to move by the end 2014 to new coverage. This bill is necessary to make President Obama's policy for "Transition to Affordable Care Act Compliant Policies" available to small employers in California. This transition period provides small employers a choice between renewing their existing coverage or moving to the new health insurance products that comply with all of the January 1, 2014 Affordable Care Act (ACA) rules. Those who renew their existing coverage under the transition policy would need to find new coverage by December 31, 2015.

SB 1446 is sponsored by Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and the California Department of Insurance and is supported by a number of organizations including the California Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, Small Business California, and the California Restaurant Association.

"Our bill gives small employers who have provided health insurance coverage to their employees an additional year to transition to new policies under the Affordable Care Act," explained Commissioner Jones. "Many small employers will choose to move to the new health insurance options right away, but our bill will give small employers more choices about what coverage to purchase for their employees. It is important to provide some flexibility as we transition to the new coverage options."

"This bill continues California's commitment to the successful long-term implementation of the Affordable Care Act. As a former small business owner, and strong supporter of Obamacare, I am pleased to work with Commissioner Jones to help small businesses adapt to new components of healthcare reform," commented Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord).

The small employer policies that could be renewed under this bill already are required to comply with many ACA and state-based reforms such as preventative healthcare coverage without co-pays or deductibles, a ban on lifetime caps, the inclusion of maternity care, coverage for autism and the elimination of gender discrimination in setting premiums.

This bill includes an urgency clause and would go into effect immediately if signed by the Governor.

The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.4357. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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