CA SB 1236

Title: Medicare supplement coverage: open enrollment periods.
Author: Catherine S. Blakespear

SB 1236, as amended, Blakespear. Medicare supplement coverage: open enrollment periods. Existing federal law provides for the Medicare Program, which is a public health insurance program for persons 65 years of age and older and specified persons with disabilities who are under 65 years of age. Existing federal law specifies different parts of Medicare that cover specific services, such as Medicare Part B, which generally covers medically necessary services and supplies and preventive services. Existing law, the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act of 1975, provides for the licensure and regulation of health care service plans by the Department of Managed Health Care, and makes a willful violation of the act a crime. Existing law provides for the regulation of health insurers by the Department of Insurance.Existing federal law additionally provides for the issuance of Medicare supplement policies or certificates, also known as Medigap coverage, which are advertised, marketed, or designed primarily as a supplement to reimbursements under the Medicare Program for the hospital, medical, or surgical expenses of persons eligible for the Medicare Program, including coverage of Medicare deductible, copayment, or coinsurance amounts, as specified. Existing law, among other provisions, requires supplement benefit plans to be uniform in structure, language, designation, and format with the standard benefit plans, as prescribed. Existing law prohibits an issuer from denying or conditioning the offering or effectiveness of any Medicare supplement contract, policy, or certificate available for sale in this state, or discriminating in the pricing of a contract, policy, or certificate because of the health status, claims experience, receipt of health care, or medical condition of an applicant in the case of an application that is submitted prior to or during the 6-month period beginning with the first day of the first month in which an individual is both 65 years of age or older and is enrolled for benefits under Medicare Part B. Existing law requires an issuer to make available specified Medicare supplement benefit plans to a qualifying applicant under those circumstances who is 64 years of age or younger who does not have end stage renal disease.This bill would delete the exclusion of otherwise qualified applicants who have end stage renal disease, thereby making the specified Medicare supplement benefit plans available to those individuals. The bill, on and after January 1, 2025, would prohibit an issuer of Medicare supplement coverage in this state from denying or conditioning the issuance or effectiveness of any Medicare supplement coverage available for sale in the state, or discriminate in the pricing of that coverage because of the health status, claims experience, receipt of health care, medical condition, or age of an applicant, if an application for coverage is submitted during an open enrollment period, as specified in the bill. The bill would entitle an individual enrolled in Medicare Part B to a 90-day annual open enrollment period beginning on January 1 of each year, as specified, during which period the bill would require applications to be accepted for any Medicare supplement coverage available from an issuer, as specified. The bill would require the open enrollment period to be a guaranteed issue period.Because a violation of the bill’s requirements by a health care service plan would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

May 16 hearing: Held in committee and under submission.

Bill Documents
CA SB 1236 - 04/29/24 - Amended Senate
04/29/24 - CA SB 1236 (04/29/24 - Amended Senate)

CA SB 1236 - 02/15/24 - Introduced
02/15/24 - CA SB 1236 (02/15/24 - Introduced)

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Author Details

  • Catherine Blakespear - D
    Senator - State Senate - CA

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