SACRAMENTO — California lawmakers took the first step Thursday toward passing new consumer protections under the federal health care overhaul, such as guaranteeing coverage even with pre-existing conditions.
Democrats in both houses of the Legislature passed bills dealing with individual insurance regulations that would prevent insurers from discriminating and overcharging customers.
The bills, ABx1 2 by Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, and SBx1 2 by Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Baldwin Park, also seek to ensure quality health coverage.
The bills now switch houses while lawmakers work out the details with Gov. Jerry Brown to eventually pass and sign just one of them. One of the sticking points is how many geographic regions health insurers will be able to use to determine premiums.
Both bills prevent insurers from discriminating based on an individual’s health status, medical condition, plan experience and genetic information. The measures essentially add the Affordable Care Act into California law so state agencies have the power to enforce and regulate new rules.