New Law Passed

“Grandmothering” law passes in California!  The new law allows qualifying non-grandfathered small employer health plans to remain in effect until December 31, 2015 even if they don't meet certain requirements under the Affordable Care Act.  This applies to employers with 50 or fewer employees.

This afternoon, in a 35-0 vote, the Senate passed SB 1446 (DeSaulnier) which will give small employers with non-grandfathered health insurance coverage purchased by December 31, 2013 the option to renew their existing coverage for one year, rather than be required to move to new coverage by the end 2014. This bill is necessary to make President Obama's policy for "Transition to Affordable Care Act Compliant Policies" available to small employers in California.

"Some small employers are concerned about having their existing health insurance coverage cancelled this year as required currently by state law," said Commissioner Dave Jones. "Our bill provides small employers the option to maintain their current coverage until December 2015 as the state transitions to meet the new requirements for small employer health insurance under the Affordable Care Act."

An urgency bill, SB 1446 is sponsored by Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and the California Department of Insurance and is supported by a number of organizations including the California Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, Small Business California, and the California Restaurant Association.

"It is important to help small businesses adapt to new components of healthcare reform to ensure the successful long-term implementation of the Affordable Care Act. As a former small business owner, and strong supporter of Obamacare, I am pleased to work with Commissioner Jones to continue California's commitment to health care reform," commented Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord).

The transition period this bill offers will provide small employers a choice between renewing their existing coverage or moving to the new health insurance products that comply with all of the January 1, 2014 Affordable Care Act (ACA) rules. Those who renew their existing coverage under the transition policy would need to find new coverage by December 31, 2015. The small employer policies that could be renewed under this bill already are required to comply with many ACA and state-based reforms such as preventative healthcare coverage without co-pays or deductibles, a ban on lifetime caps, the inclusion of maternity care, coverage for autism and the elimination of gender discrimination in setting premiums.

This bill includes an urgency clause and would go into effect immediately if signed by the Governor.

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