Today, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 137, a bill by Senator Ed Hernandez, to ensure accurate, updated, and standardized provider directories. Co-sponsored by California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN), Consumers Union, and Health Access California, SB 137 will:
Make updated provider directories available to consumers both when they are shopping for plans and when they are using their benefits.
Update provider directories weekly—better than the federal standard of at least monthly.
Providing accurate information on important specifics such as office location and whether the provider is accepting new patients.
Allow consumers from diverse backgrounds to identify health plans and providers that can best meet their needs by indicating what languages other than English (if any) providers and their staff speak (for more details and rationale,see separate SB 137 fact sheet).
The measure had strong support from a range of consumer and community groups, with new urgency given the additional Californians in coverage under the Affordable Care Act — some with new ability to shop but needing accurate provider to make informed plan selections; others newly insured but who live paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford inadvertent out-of-network costs.
We are very close to enacting some important changes to our health care system and your support can make a difference! All three of our sponsored bills are on their way to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk and your letters of support can help encourage him to sign them into law. The bills will help consumers enroll in and access the care they need. Please send in letters of support today!
We need your support to ensure consumers are informed about their health insurance benefits and know what doctors and hospitals are in their networks. Urge the Senate Committee on Health to pass legislation requiring translation of a health plan's summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) and ensuring provider directories are accurate and up-to-date. Please send in your letter of support for SB 388 (Mitchell) and SB 137 (Hernandez).
SB 388 (Mitchell) requires a health insurance plan’s SBC to be translated into non-English languages consistent with California’s existing language access requirements for other vital documents and would require the California Department of Managed Health Care and the California Department of Insurance to make available translated templates of the SBC on their websites. Download a sample letter of support for SB 388.
SB 137 (Hernandez) creates standards for provider directories and requires regular updates so that they include accurate information about which doctors and hospitals are in a patient's network and the languages spoken when shopping for coverage or seeking care. CPEHN is co-sponsoring this legislation with Consumers Union and Health Access. Download a sample letter of support for SB 137.