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Bill Capping Hospital Rates For Uninsured Gains Momentum in California

AB 232 Would Help Uninsured Receive Needed Healthcare Without Risking Financial Bankruptcy

SACRAMENTO, CA – Legislation aimed at helping the uninsured obtain needed healthcare without facing financial ruin is gaining momentum in the California legislature. AB 232, introduced by Assemblymember Wilma Chan, has already been passed by the California Assembly and was approved by the Senate Health Committee on July 9. The Senate Health Committee vote brings the legislation one step closer to becoming state law and providing critical protections to the uninsured that could establish a precedent for the rest of the nation.
“The uninsured often face devastating financial consequences because of exorbitantly high hospital bills,” said Earl Lui, Senior Attorney at Consumers Union. “This legislation offers important protections that will help prevent difficult health problems from turning into financial nightmares for the uninsured.”
Under AB 232, hospital charges to uninsured patients would be limited to the price paid under the Medicare, Medi-Cal or workers compensation fee schedule, whichever is greater. The bill also requires hospitals to notify uninsured patients about the availability of charity care and other public health insurance programs, and to delay aggressive bill collection tactics so that reasonable payment plans can be established.
For a more complete description of AB 232, see Consumers Union’s letter to the California Senate Health Committee in support of the bill.