Small Employer Health Coverage urgency bill signed into law
News: 2014 Press Release
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -Today SB 1446 (DeSaulnier) which will give small employers the option to keep existing health policy coverage was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. SB 1446 was sponsored by Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and authored by State Senator Mark DeSaulnier. The urgency clause included in the bill means the law is effective immediately.
"The signing of SB 1446 is a victory for all California small businesses, as small employers who need time to transition to Affordable Care Act compliant policies will now have additional time to make the transition," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "While many small employers will move to new health insurance options right away,
SB 1446 provides additional choices to those who choose to use the transition period."
Under the new law, small employers with non-grandfathered health insurance coverage purchased by December 31, 2013 have the option to renew their existing coverage for one year, rather than be required to move by the end of 2014 to new coverage. This extension is necessary to make President Obama's policy for "Transition to Affordable Care Act Compliant Policies" available to small employers in California. Those who renew their existing coverage under the transition policy would need to find new coverage by December 31, 2015.
"As a former small business owner, and strong supporter of Obamacare, I would like to thank Governor Brown for signing this important legislation to help small businesses adapt to new components of healthcare reform," Senator Mark DeSaulnier said. "Commissioner Jones has been key in working to ensure the successful long-term implementation of the Affordable Care Act. SB 1446 will continue California's commitment to health care reform."
SB 1446 was 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.
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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.
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 www.insurance.ca.gov. 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.