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Health Insurers Fight to Block Bills Requiring Added Coverage

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Aired 4/19/09

Health insurance companies are crying foul over a number of bills moving through the California Legislature. The measures would require insurers to add coverage for a variety of medical services. Health plans warn the mandates would drive up costs. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.

One bill would require all health plans in California to cover maternity care, including pre-natal services. Another measure would force insurers to pay for expanded breast cancer screenings. Yet another would make plans cover HIV testing. Insurance companies say all told, the bills would cost them more than $2.5 billion a year. 

Anthony Wright directs the non-profit group Health Access California . He says insurers are taking the wrong approach.

Wright: Insurers are looking to save dollars now, rather than to focus on prevention, and save dollars in the long term.

Insurance companies warn if these mandates pass, they'll be forced to raise premiums. Companies say that would increase the number of uninsured. 

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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