Gov. Gavin Newson signed a bill Tuesday in Sacramento that will end co-payment for abortion procedures and other out-of-pocket costs.
According to Senate Bill 245, authored by Sen. Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), health care plans or disability insurance policies will not be allowed to impose a deductible, coinsurance, co-payment or other similar sharing requirement. costs on abortion and abortion-related services. Utilization management and utilization review of abortion services by health care companies and outpatient abortion service plans will also be prohibited under the bill.
Essentially, SB 245, also known as the Abortion Access Act, will eliminate out-of-pocket fees for Californians seeking abortions, ranging from $300 to $900 per procedure depending on the type of abortion they seek. The law is now due to come into effect on January 1, 2023, with the Department of Managed Healthcare and the Department of Insurance to pass related regulations no later than January 1, 2026.
SB 245 has been fighting for 14 months. After having been introduced in January 2021, the bill was tossed back and forth from committee to committee, put on hold, hearing dates changed and more uproar. The controversial nature of the bill, as well as issues on Capitol Hill ranging from COVID-19 procedures to lawmakers demanding changes to the bill, have been factors in the ongoing delays. Nevertheless, the bill passed slowly through committees until the summer when it was postponed indefinitely after weeks of inaction.
Considered by many to be dead in the water, Gonzalez announced the bill’s return in December due to an increase in laws restricting abortion in other states such as Texas.
California has even announced that the state will be an abortion sanctuary state.
Marking the high co-payment and other out-of-pocket costs as deterrents for many people seeking abortions in California, SB 245 was quickly amended to alleviate some remaining concerns and moved to both houses. On Monday, he received the final stint in the legislature and was transferred to Governor Newsom’s office. Less than 24 hours later, Tuesday, Newsom signed it into law.
“As states across the country attempt to set us back by restricting basic reproductive rights, California continues to protect and advance reproductive freedom for all,” Governor Newsom said Tuesday. “With this legislation, we will help ensure equitable and affordable access to abortion services so that out-of-pocket expenses do not prevent receiving care.”
California eliminates out-of-pocket fees for abortion services, ensuring cost is not a barrier to accessing care.
As states attempt to set us back by restricting basic reproductive rights, California continues to protect and advance reproductive freedom for all. pic.twitter.com/MGavA5l8Ir
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) March 23, 2022
Newsom signs SB 245 into law
California First Lady Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who was with the governor at the signing, also issued a statement of her support for the bill, saying, “In the face of nationwide attacks on reproductive rights, California has taken measures to improve access to reproductive care. removing financial barriers to this essential health care. In the Golden State, we value women and recognize all they do in their dual roles as caregivers and breadwinners. California will continue to lead by example and ensure that all women and pregnant women have autonomy over their bodies and the ability to control their own destinies.
Many abortion and women’s groups hailed the signing on Tuesday and Wednesday, as did many lawmakers such as Sen. Gonzalez, who viewed the bill’s signing as something that had been a long time coming. Many also noted that the signing of the bill took place only hours after the The Oklahoma House of Representatives has become the latest state legislature to pass a near-total abortion ban..
Governor Newsom signed our bill #SB245 -Law on accessibility to abortion to guarantee all pregnant women fair access to care without financial barriers! Thank you to the 1st Partner @JenSiebelNewsom and my colleagues from the Women’s Caucus for their unwavering support! We did it! 💪🏽 pic.twitter.com/SZh9JJmgKn
— Lena Gonzalez (@SenGonzalez_33) March 23, 2022
While SB 245 has garnered broad support, those who opposed the bill noted Wednesday that the state may not have the resources to address a surge in abortion patients.
“The state knows it’s a little behind on all of this,” LA County abortion clinic worker Kelly Davis told The Globe. “There’s no waiting period in California or anything, but we’re behind on who can do the procedure. I mean, California is trying to increase the number of people who can do the procedure. abortions right now due to the increased number of women coming here for abortions.
With at least 26 states set to ban all or most abortions, reports indicate that if this happened, California would see a dramatic 3,000% increase in the number of people traveling to California for abortions.
“And this bill now makes California one of the cheapest options for abortions. Other costs may rise, however, as insurance companies and hospitals now need lost money to come from other sources. See, that’s not what they’re talking about. Yes, abortions just lost co-payment and abortion tourism will increase, but that’s a lot of money lost for many people regarding these fees. Other Californians may now face the financial price because of this.
SB 245 is expected to become active law starting next year.