June 8, 2015 — On Thursday, the California Assembly in a 59-8 vote approved a bill (AB 1102) that would make pregnancy a qualifying event to purchase health coverage through California's insurance marketplace outside of the exchange's open enrollment period, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.
The proposal now proceeds to the state Senate for consideration (AP/Sacramento Bee, 6/4).
The Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) permits individuals to purchase health insurance outside of the standard open enrollment period if they have certain "qualifying life events." Currently, the list of qualifying events includes occasions such as marriage, the loss of employer-sponsored coverage and childbirth.
In March, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in a letter called on the California insurance marketplace, called Covered California, to add pregnancy to the list of "qualifying life events" that permit individuals to buy coverage outside of an open enrollment period.
The letter to Covered California followed a similar push by a group of U.S. senators to include pregnancy as a qualifying life event on the national level (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/12).
AB 1102, proposed by Assembly member Miguel Santiago (D), would require insurers to allow individuals who do not have minimum essential coverage to enroll or change their health plan when they become pregnant.
The measure would take effect in 2017 (AP/Sacramento Bee, 6/4).