Two bills introduced in the California Legislature this week aim to shed additional light on financial disclosures from Kaiser Permanente and large group health plans.
Assembly Bill 731 would require large group health plans to comply with the state’s existing “rate review” process applied to health plans on individual and small group markets. The rate review process requires insurance companies to disclose the cause of rising premiums, co-pays and deductibles for workers.
Senate Bill 343 would require Kaiser Permanente to comply with existing transparency and disclosure requirements for the health care industry. Kaiser, as an integrated health system, has been exempt from complying with the transparency and disclosure requirements, according to a news release.
“Kaiser and all other health insurers and hospitals in California should play by the same rules for transparency,” said SB 343 author Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, in a news release. “Consumers need clear pricing and financial information so they are able to make informed choices regarding the value of their health coverage.”
John Nelson, vice president at Kaiser Permanente, said the health system is transparent.
“Kaiser Permanente is extremely transparent with our purchasers and regulators. Transparency is important to inform policies that can drive greater affordability, and we welcome the opportunity to review reporting requirements. We are not exempt from any disclosure or rate review laws. Current law simply recognizes the unique nature of our highly respected integrated delivery system. We have just begun our review of this bill and do not have a position at this time,” Nelson said in an email.
Under AB 731, introduced by Assemblyman Ash Kalra, D-San Jose, insurance companies would be required to notify large employer or union trust funds when state regulators deem rate increases unreasonable or unjustified. A joint news release from Kalra and Pan’s office claims the law requiring rate review for health plans on individual and small group markets has saved consumers an estimated $226 million.
Cosponsors of AB 731 include the California Labor Federation, SEIU California State Council and Health Access California.