Resolution for the New Year: Get to Know New Insurance Laws in California; Top Insurance Lawyer Frank N. Darras Offers Tips
With the New Year here, insurers and consumers should be aware of changes in insurance law in California. Governor Jerry Brown signed several pieces of insurance legislation in September that will impact numerous types of insurance coverage, including health and life insurance policies. The provisions of the new bills that went into effect on January 1, 2013.
“Consumers and insurance companies alike should pay attention to these new provisions, especially the ones related to the Affordable Care Act. Being familiar with the new laws will enable you to be better informed about your insurance policies,” says Frank Darras, America’s top insurance lawyer.
One new piece of legislation officially enacts the provisions of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in California’s small group health insurance market. This includes the prohibition preventing insurance companies from using preexisting conditions in underwriting policies. Premium rates can now, only be based on age, family size, and geographic location.
“AB 1083, which Governor Brown signed earlier this year, further protects consumers in California. It prohibits insurers and health care service plans from requiring health assessments before enrollment in a small group plan, even if the federal law is repealed. This is a victory for all Californians and one that all consumers should be mindful of,” says Darras.
Another piece of new legislation affects the grace period on life insurance policies. AB 1747 requires a policy issued or delivered in California to provide a grace period of no less than 60 days from the premium due date. During this time, the policy coverage must remain effective and the policyholder given the right to designate at least one other person to receive notice of nonpayment of a premium. Notice of nonpayment must be sent to the policyholder and the designees at least 30 days before termination.
“This is essential to protect consumers in the case of miscommunication or even job loss. The 60-day grace period allows policyholders to make a decision while still being protected by a policy they have paid into. The designee requirement builds in another protection against miscommunication or failure to receive or pay the first nonpayment notice,” says Darras.
California residents with health or life insurance should educate themselves further about the new legislation Governor Brown has signed by talking to their insurance company or visiting the state’s Department of Insurance website.
“Educating yourself is the best way for you to stay an informed and be a smart consumer. These new bills provide further protections for California citizens against insurance bad faith and greater access to health care,” says Darras.