California is boosting oversight of narrow networks

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed S.B. 964, which increases oversight of narrow networks in the state, according to a Sacramento Business Journal report.

The legislation was introduced by Sen. Ed. Hernandez (D-West Covina) and requires health insurance plans sold through Covered California — the state's insurance exchange — to be reviewed annually. The reviews will determine if the plans are meeting timely access, network adequacy, continuity of care and quality management compliance standards.

From the beginning of January through Aug. 31, California's managed care agency received 300 complaints from Covered California enrollees who had problems, such as being unable to find a physician to treat them or being unable to get treatment in a timely manner, according to the report. 

Although the legislation has received support from consumer groups, many health insurance companies believe the additional oversight is unnecessary. Charles Bacchi, executive vice president of the California Association of Health Plans, believes the new reporting requirements are an unneeded expense since state regulators already review plans for timely access and network adequacy, according to the report.

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