BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 2208
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   May 12, 2004

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                   Judy Chu, Chair

                    AB 2208 (Kehoe) - As Amended:  April 27, 2004 

          Policy Committee:                              Health        
          Vote:        12-5
                        Judiciary                               8-3   

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          Yes    Reimbursable:              No

           SUMMARY  

          This bill requires group health plans, health insurance, and all  
          forms of insurance to provide equal coverage to domestic  
          partners.  Specifically, this bill:

          1)Requires group health plans and health insurers to  provide   
            equal coverage to employers for the domestic partner of an  
            employee or subscriber to the same extent, and subject to the  
            same terms and conditions, as provided to a spouse of the  
            employee or subscriber.  (Existing law requires group health  
            plans and health insurers to  offer  domestic partner coverage.)

          2)Prohibits a health plan or health insurer from offering or  
            providing coverage for a domestic partner that is not equal to  
            the coverage provided to the spouse of an employee or  
            subscriber. 

          3)Limits the ability of a health plan or health insurer to  
            verify the status of the domestic partnership to cases in  
            which it also requests verification of marital status from the  
            employee whose spouse is provided coverage.

          4)Requires every insurance policy issued, amended, delivered, or  
            renewed in this state to provide coverage for the domestic  
            partner of an insured or policyholder that is equal to, and  
            subject to the same terms and conditions as, the coverage  
            provided to a spouse of an insured or policyholder. 

          5)Prohibits a policy from offering or providing coverage for a  
            domestic partner if it is not equal to the coverage provided  








                                                                  AB 2208
                                                                  Page  2

            for the spouse of an insured or policyholder. 

          6)Deems a health plan contract and a health insurance policy  
            that is issued, amended, delivered, or renewed on or after  
            January 1, 2005 to provide coverage for domestic partners that  
            is equal to the coverage provided to a spouse of an insured or  
            policyholder. 

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          1)Minor and absorbable costs to the Department of Managed Health  
            Care and Department of Insurance to enforce the provisions of  
            this bill.

          2)No state fiscal impact to CalPERS as it currently provides  
            health benefits to domestic partners.

           COMMENTS  

           1)Purpose  .  This bill is co-sponsored by Insurance Commissioner  
            John Garamendi and Equality California.  Commissioner  
            Garamendi argues the bill simply conforms insurance statutes  
            with AB 205 (Goldberg) from last year, and establishes a  
            necessary and consistent standard of non-discrimination in  
            insurance.  Equality California suggests that lesbian, gay,  
            bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Californians are not always  
            covered under their partner's insurance policies in the same  
            way spouses are covered.  The author states this bill would  
            conform the Health and Safety and Insurance Codes to the  
            requirements of AB 205 (Goldberg) enacted last year and bring  
            those provisions in line with requirements made in existing  
            non-discrimination provisions that ensure that domestic  
            partners receive the same insurance coverage as spouses. 

           2)Background  .  Domestic partners are defined as two adults who  
            have chosen to share their lives in an intimate and committed  
            relationship of mutual caring who meet certain conditions,  
            including being either the same sex, or qualifying for Social  
            Security benefits for aged individuals.  Currently, there are  
            approximately 25,880 domestic partnerships registered with the  
            Secretary of State.  

          AB 205 (Goldberg), Chapter 421, Statutes of 2003 enacted the  
            "The California Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities  
            Act of 2003," which, among other provisions, required that  








                                                                  AB 2208
                                                                  Page  3

            registered domestic partners have the same rights,  
            protections, and benefits, and are subject to the same  
            responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, as  
            spouses.

           3)Opposition  .  The Capitol Resource Institute (CRI) is opposed  
            to the bill because it believes this bill would force private  
            businesses to pay for same-sex relationships to the same  
            degree as marriage.  In addition, CRI is concerned that this  
            bill will result in higher employer costs and force employers  
            to recognize domestic partnerships to the same degree as  
            marriage, despite religious or moral convictions against it.   
            CRI further suggests that this bill is disrespectful and  
            intolerant of those who believe homosexuality is wrong. 



           Analysis Prepared by  :    Scott Bain / APPR. / (916) 319-2081