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CALIFORNIA WELL ALONG IN MEETING CLINTON HEALTH REFORMS; SMALL BUSINESSES ALREADY REAPING BENEFITS OF REFORM

 LOS ANGELES, Aug. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- As the White House prepares to release its long-awaited health care reform proposal, California is already reaping the benefits of many of those reforms according to Alan Katz, a principal at Centerstone Insurance and Financial Services.
 "President Clinton is right to call for insurers to stop denying coverage to small businesses because of a pre-existing condition. He's right to insist that coverage be portable from job to job, and that dropping or overcharging for coverage -- simply because someone actually uses their insurance -- is wrong and must be stopped. And since July 1, those practices are illegal in California, thanks to the implementation of AB 1672," said Katz.
 That law, authored by Assemblyman Burt Margolin, D-West Los Angeles, radically changes the way that small group health insurance is sold, serviced and administered in the state. Many of its provisions mirror those expected to be proposed by Clinton.
 For example, both Clinton and AB 1672:
 -- Prohibit insurers from rejecting a small business due to the health of its employees;
 -- Eliminate occupational "redlining" by requiring carriers to accept every small business regardless of the nature of its business;
 -- Make coverage portable by permitting employees to change jobs without having to resatisfy waiting periods of pre-existing conditions;
 -- Prohibit carriers from overcharging small businesses because of the health conditions of employees; and
 -- Require carriers to renew coverage regardless of the claims experience of the small business.
 Further, both Clinton and SB 1333 by Sen. Torres, D-East Los Angeles, cut administrative overhead by establishing standardized claim forms to be used by all carriers. When implemented, the law will serve to greatly reduce the paperwork burden on doctors, hospitals and consumers.
 Clinton also calls for the creation of Health Alliances to permit small businesses to band together into large purchasing pools. Fully insured Multiple Employer Trusts (METs) have been available to California small businesses for decades. In addition, AB 1672 created the Health Insurance Plan of California, a state administered purchasing pool.
 "AB 1672 does not meet all the goals set forth by Clinton," noted Katz. "It does not achieve universal coverage and many of its provisions, such as guaranteed issue, only benefit businesses of five- to-50 employees. Yet, expanding AB 1672 to cover individuals and larger businesses is relatively simple. And what is important is that the nation's largest state is already experiencing the benefits of the reforms contemplated by the White House.
 "California is well ahead of the curve on health care reform. We are showing that these reforms can work and that the creation of new governmental bureaucracies are not necessary to achieve change," Katz said.
 Katz is immediate past president of the California Association of Health Underwriters, an organization of insurance agents and other professionals who specialize in the service and sale of health insurance and related products. He was intimately involved in the negotiations that led to the passage of AB 1672. Katz is now legislative chair for the National Association of Health Underwriters.
 Centerstone is one of the nation's largest life and health insurance brokerage firms. It is based in Woodland Hills, Calif. with offices in Los Angeles and Anaheim. Katz may be reached at 818-348-1200, ext. 272.
 -0- 8/23/93
 /CONTACT: Mike Carll of Centerstone Insurance and Financial Services, 818-348-1200, ext. 212/


CO: Centerstone Insurance and Financial Services ST: California IN: INS HEA SU: LEG

JB-LM -- LA030 -- 5205 08/23/93 17:33 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 23, 1993
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