The California state Senate will move a bill along that would provide health benefits to undocumented immigrants; the first state to take this action.
Senate Bill 29 expands the funding of healthcare services further than the 19-25 age range that was in place previously and may potentially cost the state $1 billion, according to some sources. OneDigital’s SVP of Regulatory Affairs and Reform Initiatives Annette Bechtold and OneDigital Southern California’s VP Legal Counsel Jamie Webb-Akasaka explore the impact on the population, potential outcomes and employer considerations in the article, “California Moves to Cover Some Undocumented Immigrants,” published in Managed Healthcare Executive. By offering the means for individuals to seek treatment, this will encourage appropriate and preventive care in populations where this was not previously possible.
If coupled with education and encouragement of preventive care and early treatment, this program could help individuals improve their health and outcomes. This, in turn, promotes healthier individuals in the community and lower costs to the overall healthcare system. Financing healthcare is a challenge. The cost of medical goods and services continues to escalate. For many, these costs prevent them from seeking the treatment they need. This delay in treatment often results in more expensive treatment at the later stages of an illness or injury.
I think we can all agree that early access to healthcare is important. It provides the individual with diagnosis and treatment, enabling earlier management of illness or injury, thereby lessening the frequency and cost of care. This helps the individual, the community and the overall healthcare system.
— Annette Bechtold, SVP of Regulatory Affairs and Reform Initiatives, OneDigital Health and Benefits
Generally, there does not appear to be a direct impact on employers as a result of the pending California budget. However, the bill may encourage more employees to enroll in employer-sponsored benefits so as to avoid individual mandate penalties, or to enroll in the individual marketplace thereby decreasing overall prices. The level of each employer’s benefit sponsorship will determine whether increased employee enrollment will result in any added cost to employers. It is unclear if other states will follow suit because they each implemented ACA policies differently.
— Jamie Webb-Akasaka, VP, Legal Counsel, OneDigital Southern California
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