Last stop: on these California bills 2018, it’s the governor’s call

WHAT THE BILL DOES

The legislature wants to ban so-called junk health insurance – short-term policies that are generally cheaper and offer less coverage than other plans and generally exclude pre-existing conditions. the Invoice would meet the federal Affordable Care Act standards for basic benefits that include coverage for pre-existing conditions.

The measure flies in the face of the Trump administration’s decision that states can allow insurance that excludes items such as cancer treatment, maternity care, prescription drugs, and pre-existing conditions such as allergies, asthma and diabetes. California is said to be the first state to explicitly enforce the ban, although several others States, including Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York State, said they would not allow short-term, low-cost unwanted insurance. Supporters of these policies say they may be a good option for some people.

Under the Affordable Care Act, short-term plans were designed to fill gaps in coverage for up to 90 days while people switching to new plans waited for them to take effect. The new federal rules allow states to turn these items into short-term plans into coverage for up to three years.

WHO SUPPORTS A PROHIBITION

Health care advocates, medical organizations, employer groups, and even some health insurance companies, such as Kaiser Permanente and California’s Blue Shield, have approved the bill.

Who opposes it

Three groups filed objections against the bill. The California Association of Health Underwriters and TechNet, two professional groups, have expressed concern that eliminating short-term plans could force some consumers to seek expensive emergency care if they lack coverage. Anthem Blue Cross said it was okay with the federal change and that short-term plans with limited coverage offer value for some clients.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT

People with short-term insurance still need health care, and if they get sick and find their insurance won’t pay for them, taxpayers may have to, in more expensive emergencies. . And short-term insurance results in higher premiums for others, according to one to study by the non-profit Urban Institute. This is because the young and healthy are the ones who tend to choose inexpensive health insurance with little coverage, which means that people with coverage at the Affordable Care Act level tend. to be in poorer health and require more care. Without limits on short-term insurance, the Urban Institute predicted a 17.8% increase in premium costs for more comprehensive policies.

GOVERNOR’S DECISION

Signed by Governor Brown on September 23, 2018.

—David Gorn

Bernard P. Love