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Approved Measure Sets Minimum Health Coverage for All Insurance Plans

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Aired 4/19/09

The California State Senate has approved a measure that would set minimum coverage standards for all health insurance plans. Supporters say too many policies have major gaps. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.

The measure would outlaw policies that only cover a person when they're hospitalized. Under the bill, all plans would at minimum have to cover doctors, hospitals, and preventive care. The measure would also set lifetime caps on out-of-pocket expenses. Jerry Flanagan is with the non-profit group Consumer Watchdog. He says that's not as good as it sounds.

Flanagan: It simply says that insurance companies have to limit the amount you have to pay out-of-pocket, but doesn't say how much you have to limit it to. So it would be perfectly fine under the legislation, that an insurance company could set the lifetime limit at $500,000, or a million dollars. 

The insurance industry is against the bill. It will soon be heard in the state assembly.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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