Assembly Passes Continuity of Care Bill

  ·  David Gorn, California Healthline   ·   Link to Article

The Assembly last week unanimously approved a measure aimed at making sure patients will be able to complete certain courses of treatment despite changes in insurance coverage because of the Affordable Care Act.

AB 369 by Assembly member Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), carried over from the previous session, received unanimous approval. That's unusual for any proposal related to the ACA. Bills related to health care reform often get a contingent of Republican "no" votes. In this case, the vote was 73-0.

"This bill provides for someone in certain types of treatment, such as treatment for cancer, when health insurance coverage was terminated due to the protections of the Affordable Care Act, because the insurance company withdrew from the market," Pan said at Thursday's Assembly floor vote.

"It ensures a patient can remain under treatment … with an existing provider group for completion of that treatment," Pan said. "Let's be sure people can get the treatment that they're in the midst of getting."

In an Assembly Committee on Health hearing earlier last month, Nick Louizos of the California Association of Health Plans expressed slight concern about the bill, but CAHP did not oppose the bill.

"As a matter of perspective, health plans are in the middle of enrolling hundreds of thousands of Californians at this very moment … and [given] the increased hours and work … there are some transition issues," Louizos said. "There is a strong interest among health plans to provide a level of continuity to enrollees. … We don't have any problem with the intent of the bill."

The urgency bill needed a two-thirds vote to pass. It now heads to the Senate.