State Health Care Reform Implementation

The Leadership Group will work to shape national comprehensive health care reform implementation, with an emphasis on cost containment.  Leadership Group advocacy has included a visit with Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius to promote cost controls and better Medicaid rates for California. The organization has helped passage of health care reform implementation bills on the state level, including bills to set up an insurance exchange, making California the first state to draw billions in federal funds. The Leadership Group has also helped pass legislation, making it easier for consumers to understand and compare health plans.

In 2011, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group was successful in passing 3 federal health legislation bills at the state level.

Health legislation, AB 1296 (Bonilla), also known as Health Care Eligibility Enrollment, and Retention Act, implements the requirement of creating a single and accessible statewide application along with related renewal procedures for Medi-Cal, the Healthy Families Program (HFP), the California Health Benefits Exchange, the Access for Infants and Mother’s Program (AIM), the Basic Health Program and other state health subsidy programs. Under this act, the bill will specify the duties of the agency and the State Department of Health Care Services which would then require the agency to provide specified information to the Legislature regarding policy changes needed to implement the bill by July 2012.

Health legislation, AB 922 (Monning) or Office of Patient Advocate, transfers the Office of Patient Advocate from the Department of Managed Health Care to instead operate as an independent state entity. It seeks to improve consumer assistance regarding health care and overage. This bill imposes specified duties and responsibilities on the office, partners with community organizations to provide and adopt standards and procedures regarding the organization, and establishes the California Health Consumer Assistance Trust Fund. These improvements are intended to better serve insurance consumers while leading up to the full implementation of the federal health reform law.

Finally, SB 51 (Alquist), better known as the Health Care Coverage bill, allows the Director of the Department of Managed Health Care and the Insurance Commissioner to disseminate regulations in order to implement requirements relating to the new federal Medical Loss Ratio described in the Affordable Care Act. The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state.

The health care law seeks to extend insurance to millions of people, primarily by expanding Medicaid and providing federal subsidies to help lower and middle income Americans by private coverage while also eliminating unnecessary hurdles. Governor Brown has signed off on vital health legislation bills at the State level and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group will continue to support bills that improve access, quality, prevention, and cost containment.

Health Law Guide for Business

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group has partnered up with The California Endowment to help create the Health Law Guide for Business. This is a new tool for companies and small business owners to navigate new provisions under the federal health care law.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the new federal health law, is complex but applying it to your business doesn’t have to be. The Health Law Guide for Business is a new, easy-to-use tool designed to help navigate the law’s business provisions.

While there are many tools online, Health Law Guide for Business is a first-of-its-kind website tailored specifically for California’s business community.  A collaborative effort of California’s leading statewide and regional business organizations, Health Law Guide for Business is designed to offer only the facts and highlight information regarding the provisions that affect businesses most, freeing your time to focus on keeping your business profitable and growing.

Many of the law’s provisions provide cost savings for California businesses. These may positively impact your business, but only if you know how to take advantage of them. For example, we know that health happens with prevention, and the health law is providing benefits that encourage business owners to support the health of their employees and their families; including tax credits to offset the cost of health care insurance premiums for small businesses that offer coverage to their employees. This new tool is your guide through important information on the benefits you could receive, significant dates, deadlines, and requirements of the law.

Know your options, make informed decisions, and maximize your benefits. Visit today to get started!

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Small Businesses concerns on Affordable Care Act- Presentation by Peter Lee, Executive Director of Covered California 

Covered California, the first-in-the-nation online health insurance marketplace established under the Affordable Care Act, will help individuals and small businesses compare health plans, gets answers to questions, find out if they qualify for federal tax credits and enroll in a plan that meets their specific needs. The state’s new small business marketplace, Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), is designed specifically for small employers and aims to level the playing field for these small businesses to be able to offer better health insurance choices at lower costs. In the video link below, Peter Lee, Executive Director of Covered California, clarifies issues confronted by small businesses in the new marketplace.

Obamacare Explained: A Guide for Californians  

This guide produced by KQED News and The California Report explains how the health law affects you, your family or your small business, here in California. It’s for people who already have insurance and people who don’t — but want to get it. It outlines the new health insurance options offered to Californians and show how to access them in a simple, understandable  and interactive way.