Governor Signs Essential Health Benefits Bill

October 1, 2012

Governor Signs Essential Health Benefits Bill
California Gets Closer to ACA Implementation

Sacramento, CA – Landmark legislation implementing the federal Affordable Care Act was
signed yesterday by Governor Brown. Authored by California State Senator Ed Hernandez, O.D.
(D – West Covina), the legislation establishes the minimum health benefits that must be offered
to consumers and contains crucial protections for all Californians purchasing health insurance in
the small group and individual insurance markets.
Under the ACA, states must designate a benchmark for all individual and small group health
insurance plans incorporating ten broad categories of coverage, otherwise known as “Essential
Health Benefits.” Senator Hernandez’ legislation, SB 951, creates this benchmark for California.
“SB 951 establishes a strong, baseline standard of care that balances affordability with coverage
of vital health benefits important to all Californians” said Hernandez. “This law will finally put an
end to the sale of ‘junk insurance’ that is marketed as coverage but offers consumers little or no
SB 951 sets the minimum standards for health benefits that all insurers must offer, including
doctor visits, hospitalization, prescription drugs, emergency-room treatment, mental health
services and vision and dental care for children.
“California has embraced federal health care reform and leads the nation in the implementation
of this landmark law,” Hernandez stated. “I am thrilled that the Governor signed this bill and am
eager to continue our march toward full ACA implementation in the upcoming special legislative