As the state launches its health benefit exchange today, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed a package of bills to continue implementing federal health care reform in California.
"While extreme radicals in Washington shut down our government, here in California we're taking action to extend decent health care to millions of families," said Governor Brown.
California has been a leader among states in implementing the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and establishing its health benefit exchange. The following legislation, signed by the Governor today, builds on these efforts:
AB 362 by Assemblymember Philip Y. Ting (D-San Francisco) -- Excludes until January 1, 2019, from gross income, any amounts received by an employee from an employer to compensate for additional federal income taxes that are incurred by the employee on employer-provided health-care benefits because, for federal income tax purposes, the same-sex spouse or domestic partner of the employee is not considered the spouse of the employee.
AB 422 by Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks) -- Requires information on Covered California's health care coverage and the continued availability of Medi-Cal options to be included on the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) notifications that school districts may provide to students, as specified, effective on January 1, 2014.
AB 1180 by Assemblymember Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) -- Updates California law implementing the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and other individual coverage rights related to losing group coverage to conform with the federal ACA. The bill also requires health plans and health insurers to notify specified individuals about the availability of guaranteed issue coverage through Covered California.
SB 28 by Senator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) -- Furthers implementation of the state's expansion of Medi-Cal, authorized and required by the ACA, by giving the Department of Health Care Services greater flexibility in issuing all-county letters until regulations are adopted, and updating the budgeting methodology for Medi-Cal county administrative costs.
SB 138 by Senator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) -- Requires health care service plans and health insurers to take specified steps to protect the confidentiality of an insured individual's medical information for purposes of sensitive services or if disclosure will endanger an individual, as specified.
SB 161 by Senator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) -- Establishes new regulatory requirements for stop-loss insurance sold to small employers but allows stop-loss insurance issued prior to September 1, 2013, to be renewed or reissued by the same or different insurer under the same terms and conditions, without meeting the new requirements.
SB 249 by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) -- Authorizes the Department of Public Health and qualified entities to share health records involving the diagnosis, care, and treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) related to a beneficiary's enrollment in federal Ryan White Act (RWA) funded programs to coordinate care and enrollment as beneficiaries transition to new health coverage programs.
SB 332 by Senator Bill Emmerson (R-Redlands) -- Makes Covered California's contracts and rates of payment to vendors and contractors, and other board and staff work open to public inspection under the California Public Records Act (PRA), except for health plan contracts and their rates, which are made public in three and four years respectively.
SB 353 by Senator Ted W. Lieu (D-Torrance) -- Requires health plans and health insurers that provide essential health benefits to translate specified coverage documents in the same language they use to market or advertise to an individual or small employer, if that language is not already required to be translated under existing law.
SB 800 by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) -- Requires the Department of Health Care Services to provide Covered California with information about parents or caretakers of children enrolled in the Healthy Families program (HFP) or the targeted low-income Medi-Cal program in order to conduct outreach to potentially eligible individuals. Transfers specified employees of the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board (MRMIB) to Covered California and DHCS, as specified.