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State Senate Considers Mandatory Maternity Benefits

— The California State Senate is considering a measure that would require all health insurance plans to include maternity coverage. The assembly has already approved the bill.

Federal law requires all group health plans that cover 15 or more employees to include maternity benefits. There are no such requirements for individual insurance plans in California. That gap affects more than 800,000 women.

Those who want insurance that covers maternity have to pay extra. Supporters say that's discriminatory. They say women shouldn't have to pay more for what many consider to be essential medical care.

Governor Schwarzenegger says insurance mandates drive up costs. That's the reason he says he's vetoed similar bills over the last four years.

Five states, including Oregon, require all insurance plans to include maternity care.

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