Legislation sponsored by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara takes effect this year
Source: California Insurance Commissioner
Image: Creative Commons by NC-ND
January 4, 2022 (Sacramento) -- California consumers and hard-working families will have additional insurance protections under new laws now in effect in 2022. These include laws that provide new health coverage options for older adults being cared for by their adult children, expand requirements for medically necessary basic health care services including women’s reproductive services and increase insurance oversight to protect the safety of people recovering from substance use disorders and prevent child abuse by youth volunteers.
The California Department of Insurance will also implement new insurance requirements to protect those held in for-profit detention facilities and prisons – the first law of its kind nationwide.
“We are protecting Californians’ health with new coverage options for families caring for older adults while preventing discrimination and abuse,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, who sponsored these new laws. “My Department of Insurance is using every tool at our disposal to protect consumers including expanding and enforcing insurance laws as well as working with the Legislature and Governor Newsom on creating new laws.”
- Assembly Bill 570, authored by Assembly Member Miguel Santiago, will increase access to health coverage and help reduce coverage costs for older adults by allowing adult children to add their dependent parents, or step-parents, to their health coverage policies in the individual market just as dependent children can currently be added to their parents’ health coverage. The Department of Insurance will be implementing the new coverage option, which will be made available during the open enrollment period starting in November 2022, with coverage effective January 1, 2023.
- Senate Bill 280, authored by Senator Monique Limón, will remove discriminatory practices in the large group health insurance market by requiring these health insurance policies to cover medically necessary basic health care services such as women’s reproductive services, HIV medicines, cancer treatments, obesity care, and organ transplants. In addition, it codifies the federal Affordable Care Act’s prohibition on discriminatory large group health insurance benefit designs and marketing practices under California law and forbids discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Assembly Bill 1158, authored by Assembly Member Cottie Petrie-Norris, will ensure that licensed alcohol or drug abuse recovery and treatment facilities and recovery residences that contract with a government entity maintain minimum insurance coverage levels to ensure more adequate consumer protections.
- Assembly Bill 506, authored by Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez, will require youth service organizations to implement child abuse and neglect prevention measures, mandate administrators, employees, and regular volunteers of youth service organizations to take training on child abuse and neglect identification and reporting, and permit liability insurance companies to confirm compliance with these requirements.
- Senate Bill 334, authored by Senator María Elena Durazo, will require private, for-profit prisons and detention facilities operating in California to adhere to all state and local health, safety, fire, and labor standards already mandated today for state and local publicly managed prisons and facilities while also requiring they obtain workers’ compensation and liability insurance coverage from an admitted insurance carrier authorized by the Department of Insurance to do business in California.
Commissioner Lara has already taken steps to implement these new consumer protection laws:
- Ordering insurance companies to cover the costs of injectable PrEP medication to prevent HIV infection in at-risk adults and adolescents. The Federal Drug Administration approved the use of injectable PrEP on December 20, 2021. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control report that growing use of PrEP has helped to decrease new HIV infections. The Commissioner’s Bulletin also directs insurance companies to eliminate discriminatory benefit plans in large group insurance pursuant to SB 280.
- Issuing a notice to insurance companies about the new insurance requirements covering for-profit prisons and detention centers under SB 334.
Commissioner Lara thanked Governor Gavin Newsom for protecting California consumers through the signing of 11 bills that he sponsored this past legislative year. These new laws will expand access to insurance, ensure discriminatory insurance practices cannot continue, create critical protection measures in various essential business sectors, increase diversity on insurance company boards, and expand job opportunities for the state’s small and diverse businesses, among others. Visit the Department of Insurance website for a full list.