People with pre-existing conditions may become eligible for insurance

  ·  Ross Farrow, Lodi News-Sentinel   ·   Link to Article

State Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, introduced legislation on Tuesday that, if approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, will ensure that Californians with a pre-existing medical condition may purchase insurance at what Pan describes as a reasonable rate.

Assembly Bill 1X2 would limit the reasons health plans can charge Californians higher premium rates due to age, family size and geographic region.

The bill is a follow-up to the federal Affordable Care Act's goal of providing every American with quality, affordable health care by ending the denial of coverage for any reason, including any pre-existing conditions, Pan, who is a pediatrician, said in a news release.

The Affordable Care Act allows health plans to consider age, family size, geographic region and tobacco use when determining the premium rates they charge customers. However, to ensure that smokers can receive tobacco-cessation services, AB 1X2 doesn't allow health plans to consider tobacco use to determine premium rates for Californians.

"As a pediatrician, I know that smokers who quit can significantly improve their health and help us control health care costs," Pan said. "This bill ensures that Californians who smoke (can) afford coverage that includes tobacco-cessation services so that we can all benefit from a reduction in tobacco use in our state."

Pan's district includes the Lodi and Galt areas.