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Showing posts from May, 2009

AB 98 Update

Looks like AB 98, the mandatory maternity bill, is being shelved for the remainder of the year. I will be curious to see if it is resurrected in the future.

AB 23 Signed Into Law

California Assembly Bill 23 was signed into law today by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

AB 23 legalizes the continuation subsidy for Cal-COBRA beneficiaries, which is intended to mirror the federal COBRA subsidy.

According to my information, this subsidy is to be provided directly by the health insurance carriers and only the carriers are allowed to take the tax credit to offset the subsidy.

I will blog with more details in the next few days. AB 23 was created and signed into law because the state mini-COBRA law needed a correction to approve the subsidy.

California AB 98 & Individual/Family Health Plans

Happy Thursday! One more day to go then the weekend.

The California legislature is currently working on a new bill, AB 98, which, if passed and signed into law, will make a significant change to California individual health coverage.

The bill would require all individual & family health insurance plans in California, whether registered with the DMHC or the DOI, to contain mandatory maternity benefits. As I interpret the bill, any plan sold in 2010 would have to contain maternity benefits, and any plan sold prior to 2010 would be adjusted to include maternity at plan renewal.

Many Californians currently covered on individual & family plans have chosen plans without maternity benefits to save premium. Maternity benefits on a health plan are assumed at 100% utilization, meaning that all plans with maternity benefits are priced with the expectation that every subscriber will use the benefit. Those who do not need maternity coverage would lose the choice of purchasing a non-matern…

Mini-COBRA Expansion States

Hope everyone is having a great spring. Just wanted to update on the increase in mini-COBRA state continuation coverage programs going on currently.

Last month Viriginia added a state mini-COBRA program which went into effect in early April, 2009. I found out today that Pennsylvania is also finishing legislation to add a mini-COBRA program. Virginia's program runs 9 months to coincide with the subsidy. I expect Pennsylvania to go 9 or 18 months, again with the first 9 being subject to the subsidy.

For those who are not aware, a part of the ARRA legislation requires state mini-COBRA programs to provide the same 65% subsidy to qualified beneficiaries as the federal COBRA program.

In California, we have a program called "Cal-COBRA" which is the state mini-COBRA program with a special feature not found in other states.

Cal-COBRA applies to groups 2-19 employees which fall below the federal COBRA size. Additionally, Cal-COBRA contains an extension of coverage provision under AB 1…