Poizner Recommends Health Coverage

In his final days in office,  Poizner issued a draft guidance statement for health insurers to clarify recently-passed health care legislation. AB 2244, which amends and adds to the California Insurance Code, requires that insurance companies offer coverage to all children under 19 years of age without exclusions or limitations due to any pre-existing condition.

"I want to make sure that insurers completely understand their obligations under the new health reform laws, especially as they relate to health coverage for children," said Commissioner Poizner. "I am issuing this guidance to provide clarity on a complicated new law, and to make sure insurance companies have clear direction regarding the new laws' requirements of greater access to health insurance coverage for children."

AB 2244, which was recently signed into law, follows national health care reform, which mandates that insurers may not impose pre-existing condition restrictions for children under 19 years old. The California law takes effect January 1, and allows the state to enforce this federally- and state-established requirement. 

The draft guidance clarifies that AB 2244 requires, among other provisions, every insurer writing individual health insurance must offer coverage to children under 19 years old on every    individual policy that it sells. The new law essentially prevents insurers from only offering health coverage for children on a limited number of policies. 

The new law requires insurers to offer coverage to children at all times during the year and places a limit on the allowable premium if a child applies during a specified Open Enrollment Period (usually the child's birth month) or Late Enrollment Periods. Premiums based on pre-existing conditions for those who apply outside those periods are not capped. 

Commissioner Poizner has provided interested parties until December 23 to provide comments and feedback on the guidance. The California Insurance Code is binding on insurers. The guidance tells insurers how to comply with the binding law.

Holiday Message

As he winds down his term as Insurance Commissioner, Steve Poizner sent out a holiday message summarizing the accomplishments of his two terms in office. IBA West recently commended Poizner for his administration’s efforts to improve the efficiency of the department and bring innovations to the insurance marketplace. 

 The Mercury News editorial board echoed those sentiments in their recent editorial, saying, “ Newly elected Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, a Democrat, is on the opposite end of the political spectrum from his predecessor, Republican Steve Poizner. But Jones would do well to emulate Poizner's approach to the office.” In his message, Poizner left the door open to future campaigns saying, “There is still much work to do to get California back on track, and I intend to closely watch the developments in Sacramento. I hope you will continue to support my efforts, and I look forward to working with you all once again to fix our great state!”