Reforms to the individual health insurance market passed out of the Assembly and Senate in Sacramento on Thursday. Included in the bills were popular consumer provisions including: guaranteed issue, requiring insurers to cover all who apply; and rate setting rules that will make it illegal to charge people with pre-existing conditions more than anyone else or redline those conditions.
The bills are moving through a special session of the legislature. The Legislature is working to pass bills to bring the state in line with the requirements of the federal health care overhaul, the Affordable Care Act.
Assemblymember Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), chair of the Assembly Health committee, authored AB 1X 2. "I'm certainly happy it passed," Pan said in an interview. "It showed the legislature understands the nature of these historic reforms that we're putting place for California."
The ACA permits rate setting on four factors: family size, age, geographic region and tobacco use. But in Pan's bill tobacco use cannot be a factor in rate setting. Federal rules would have allowed smokers to be charged premiums up to 50 percent higher than others.