BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                       


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          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                  AB 2208|
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                                 THIRD READING


          Bill No:  AB 2208
          Author:   Kehoe (D), et al
          Amended:  8/16/04 in Senate
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE INSURANCE COMMITTEE  :  6-3, 6/16/04
          AYES:  Speier, Escutia, Figueroa, Ortiz, Scott, Soto
          NOES:  Morrow, Denham, Oller

           SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE  :  5-1, 6/29/04
          AYES:  Escutia, Cedillo, Ducheny, Kuehl, Sher
          NOES:  Ackerman
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Morrow

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  Senate Rule 28.8

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  : 46-31, 5/20/04 - See last page for vote


           SUBJECT  :    Health care and insurance benefits:  domestic  
          partners

           SOURCE  :     Insurance Commissioner
                      Equality California


           DIGEST  :    This bill enacts the California Insurance  
          Equality Act which requires group health plans, health  
          insurance, and all forms of insurance to provide equal  
          coverage to registered domestic partners.

           Senate Floor Amendments  of 8/16/04 clarify that the "terms  
          and conditions" governing health care insurance or service  
                                                           CONTINUED





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          plan that must be provided equally to a spouse and a  
          registered domestic partner of an employee do not include  
          instances of differential treatment of domestic partners  
          and spouses under federal law.  Under certain federal laws,  
          some benefits that are provided to spouses could not be  
          provided to domestic partners, regardless of registration.   
          Thus, terms and conditions of health care coverage that  
          would be affected by these federal laws would not be within  
          the scope of this bill.  The amendments clearly state this  
          intent.

           ANALYSIS  :    Existing law, the Knox-Keene Health Care  
          Service Plan Act of 1975, provides for the licensure and  
          regulation of health care service plans and makes a  
          violation of the act's provisions a crime.  Existing law  
          also provides for the regulation of health insurers and all  
          other forms of insurance by the Department of Insurance.   
          Under existing law, health care service plans and health  
          insurers are required to offer coverage for the registered  
          domestic partner of an employee, subscriber, insured, or  
          policyholder to the same extent and subject to the same  
          terms and conditions as provided to a dependent of those  
          persons.

          This bill:

          1.Requires group health care service plans and health  
            insurance policies to provide equal coverage to the  
            registered 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.  Precludes plans and  
            policies from offering or providing coverage to a  
            registered domestic partner that is not equal to that  
            offered or provided to the spouse of an employee or  
            subscriber. 

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

          3.Requires insurance policies to provide coverage for  







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

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

          5.Replaces "dependent" with "spouse" when referring to  
            health benefits. 

          6.Renames a policy of "disability" insurance to a policy of  
            "health" insurance. 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
          Local:  Yes

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/16/04)

          Insurance Commissioner (co-source) 
          Equality California (co-source) 
          Aids Project Los Angeles Metropolitan Community Church, Los  
          Angeles
          American Civil Liberties Union
          Anti-Defamation League
          Being Alive Los Angeles, Inc.
          California Commission on the Status of Women
          California Labor Federation
          California Medical Association
          California National Organization for Women
          California Nurses Association
          California Retired Teachers Association
          California Schools Employees Association
          California State Employees Association
          California Teachers Association
          Employment Law Center
          Kaiser Hospital
          Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund
          Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
          National Center for Lesbian Rights
          Office of the Attorney General
          Our Family Coalition
          Planned Parenthood







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          San Francisco Aids Foundation
          Southern California Regional Chapter of Pride at Work
          Stonewall Democratic Club of Greater Sacramento
          The Legal Aid Society
          The San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender  
          Community Center Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbian  
          and Gays, Ventura County
          Transgender Law Center

           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  8/16/04)

          Campaign for California Families
          Capitol Resource Institute
          Concerned Women for America

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author's office,  
          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. 

          This bill is cosponsored by Insurance Commissioner John  
          Garamendi, who states this bill 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 this bill,  
          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 this bill would clarify the law to afford  
          domestic partners equal insurance coverage.

           ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION  :    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  







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          is disrespectful and intolerant of those who believe  
          homosexuality is wrong.  Other opponents point to increased  
          health risks because of same-sex relationships and that the  
          bill would cause increased costs to insurers and  
          subscribers.  
           
           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :
          AYES:  Berg, Bermudez, Calderon, Canciamilla, Chan, Chavez,  
            Chu, Cohn, Corbett, Correa, Diaz, Dutra, Dymally,  
            Firebaugh, Frommer, Goldberg, Hancock, Jerome Horton,  
            Jackson, Kehoe, Koretz, Laird, Leno, Levine, Lieber, Liu,  
            Longville, Lowenthal, Montanez, Mullin, Nakano, Nation,  
            Negrete McLeod, Parra, Pavley, Reyes, Ridley-Thomas,  
            Salinas, Simitian, Steinberg, Vargas, Wesson, Wiggins,  
            Wolk, Yee, Nunez
          NOES:  Aghazarian, Bates, Benoit, Bogh, Campbell, Cogdill,  
            Cox, Daucher, Dutton, Harman, Haynes, Shirley Horton,  
            Houston, Keene, La Malfa, La Suer, Leslie, Maddox,  
            Maldonado, Matthews, McCarthy, Mountjoy, Nakanishi,  
            Pacheco, Plescia, Richman, Runner, Samuelian, Spitzer,  
            Strickland, Wyland
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Garcia, Maze, Oropeza


          DLW:nl  8/17/04   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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