Key CA bills to protect patients and increase transparency advance to floor vote

Sacramento, CA – Key bills to protect California consumers and help increase transparency in health care costs passed legislative Appropriations Committees today, sending them to floor votes next week, before a June 3rd deadline.

“While we have made progress under the Affordable Care Act, California can and should do more to protect patients and provide greater transparency on health care costs. With these votes, the California Legislature can continue to make improvements so health care consumers get the information they need to avoid unfair and unexpected costs,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. “California consumers should not have to face unreasonable health insurance rate hikes or unjustified increases in prescription drug costs, without the information and protections that these bills provide.”

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed several bills sponsored by Health Access California, aimed at providing consumers more information about health care costs as well as their rights as patients.

SB 908 (Hernandez) requires insurance companies to notify policy holders if the premium for a plan they choose is found “unreasonable” or “unjustified” and be given an open enrollment period to find another plan.

SB 1010 (Hernandez) adds detailed, publicly available information on prescription drug costs to existing health plan rate review. Also provides notice of increases in prescription drug costs to health plans and state purchasers.

SB 1135 (Monning) requires health plans and insurers to notify consumers and health care providers about patients’ right to timely care and language assistance.