BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 2208
                                                                  Page  1

          ASSEMBLY THIRD READING
          AB 2208 (Kehoe)
          As Amended April 27, 2004
          Majority vote 

           HEALTH              12-5        JUDICIARY           8-3         
           
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Ayes:|Cohn, Chan, Chavez,       |Ayes:|Corbett, Jackson, Laird,  |
          |     |Frommer, Goldberg,        |     |Lieber, Longville,        |
          |     |Lieber, Montanez, Nakano, |     |Montanez, Steinberg,      |
          |     |Negrete McLeod,           |     |Levine                    |
          |     |Ridley-Thomas, Salinas    |     |                          |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
          |-----+--------------------------+-----+--------------------------|
          |Nays:|Spitzer, Dutton,          |Nays:|Harman, Bates, Maddox     |
          |     |Nakanishi, Plescia,       |     |                          |
          |     |Richman                   |     |                          |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
           APPROPRIATIONS      16-4                                        
           
           -------------------------------- 
          |Ayes:|Chu, Berg, Calderon,      |
          |     |Corbett, Correa,          |
          |     |Firebaugh, Goldberg,      |
          |     |Leno, Nation, Negrete     |
          |     |McLeod, Oropeza, Pavley,  |
          |     |Ridley-Thomas, Wesson,    |
          |     |Wiggins, Yee              |
          |     |                          |
          |-----+--------------------------|
          |Nays:|Runner, Bates, Daucher,   |
          |     |Keene                     |
          |     |                          |
           -------------------------------- 
           SUMMARY  :  Clarifies existing law that extends health care  
          benefits to domestic partners.  Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Requires group health care service plans and  health insurance  
            policies to provide equal coverage to the domestic partner of  
            an employee or subscriber with the same terms and conditions  
            that are provided to a spouse of an employee or subscriber if  
            that plan or policy offers spousal benefits.









                                                                  AB 2208
                                                                  Page  2

          2)Precludes plans and policies from offering or providing  
            coverage to a domestic partner that is not equal to that  
            offered or provided to the spouse of an employee or  
            subscriber.

          3)Allows health care service plans and health insurance policies  
            to require verification of a domestic partnership and its  
            termination only if it also requests verification of marital  
            status and notification of the dissolution of the marriage.

          4)Requires insurance policies to provide coverage for domestic  
            partners that are equal to the coverage provided to spouses  
            and precludes a policy from offering to provide coverage for a  
            domestic partner if that coverage is not equal to that offered  
            to a spouse.

          5)Applies only to plans or policies issued, amended, delivered,  
            or renewed on or after January 1, 2005.

          6)Replaces "dependent" with "spouse" when referring to health  
            benefits.

          7)Renames a policy of "disability" insurance to a policy of  
            "health" insurance.

           EXISTING LAW  : 

          1)Requires group health insurance plans and disability insurance  
            policies to offer coverage to employers or guaranteed  
            associations 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 dependent of the employee or  
            subscriber.

          2)Defines "domestic partners" as two adults who have chosen to  
            share in a committed relationship.  Establishes domestic  
            partnerships in California when both persons file a  
            Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of  
            State.  Affords domestic partners the same rights,  
            protections, benefits, responsibilities, obligations, and  
            duties as are guaranteed to and imposed upon spouses.   
            Provides former domestic partners the same rights,  
            protections, benefits, responsibilities, obligations and  
            duties to as imposed upon former spouses.









                                                                  AB 2208
                                                                  Page  3

          3)Requires every insurance policy that is issued, amended,  
            delivered or renewed in California to provide coverage for the  
            domestic partner of an insured or policyholder that is equal  
            to the same terms and conditions offered to a spouse of an  
            insured or policy holder.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee analysis, minor and absorbable costs to the Department  
          of Managed Health Care and Department of Insurance to enforce  
          the provisions of this bill.  No state fiscal impact to CalPERS  
          as it currently provides health benefits to domestic partners. 

           COMMENTS  :  According to the author, this bill conforms  
          provisions in the Health and Safety and Insurance Codes made in  
          AB 205 (Goldberg), Chapter 421, Statutes of 2003.  It also  
          brings those provisions in line with requirements made in  
          existing non-discrimination provisions that ensure that domestic  
          partners receive the same insurance coverage and spouses.

          AB 2208 is cosponsored by Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi,  
          who states AB 2208 simply conforms insurance statutes with AB  
          205 and establishes a necessary and consistent standard of  
          non-discrimination in insurance.  Equality California, the other  
          cosponsor of 
          AB 2208, suggests that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender  
          (LGBT) Californians are not always covered under their partners'  
          policies in the same way spouses are covered.  As a result, LGBT  
          Californians are being denied benefits, paying discriminatory  
          higher premiums, or being denied coverage.  The California  
          National Organization of Women agrees that AB 2208 would clarify  
          the law to afford domestic partners equal insurance coverage.

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

          
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Clara Craven / HEALTH / (916) 319-2097
                                                                FN: 0005357