California Health Insurance Negotiations

As negotiations with Republicans to put tax extensions on the ballot in June have stalled, Governor Jerry Brown said that he would consider a November ballot initiative to extend tax increases and bypass Republican opposition.  With $4 million left in his campaign account, funding to qualify the measure for the ballot is available but additional revenue for a statewide campaign would be needed. Brown has been negotiating with five Republican lawmakers to help extend temporary taxes on income, vehicles and sales, a central part of his budget plan. Reaching a two-thirds majority would require at least two Republican votes in each chamber, a measure of support Brown has failed to obtain to this point.

In legislative news, AARP’s proposed legislation to amend California health insurance law to incorporate Medicare Supplement 2010 Standardized Plans M and N will be heard in committee next week. The bill contains provisions that go beyond federal and NAIC requirements by expanding guarantee issue rights to Medicare Advantage (MA) plan enrollees experiencing premium increases, benefit changes or network modifications.  The legislative language specifies that if a MA plan does not offer Medicare Supplement Plan coverage, then these individuals are permitted to enroll on a guaranteed issue basis in a supplement plan from any Medicare supplement carrier. Aetna health insurance has expressed its concern about how broadly the bill is written.

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