FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2011
Sacramento—The California State Assembly has passed the Insurance Nondiscrimination Act (SB 757.) Authored by Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) and sponsored by Equality California, the bill would eliminate an exemption in state law that enables insurance companies to discriminate against same-sex couples.
“Under existing California law, insurers are required to provide the same coverage to domestic partners that they provide to a spouse,” Senator Lieu said. “Unfortunately, unscrupulous out-of-state insurers use a loop-hole to avoid providing these benefits. My bill would slam this loophole shut by requiring any health insurance policy issued to someone in California to be subject to the state’s requirements for equal coverage. SB 757 would not only end a discriminatory practice but also help ensure a level playing field for California’s licensed insurers.”
Under California law, insurance companies and service providers are prohibited from issuing policies that discriminate against same-sex couples. However, there is an exemption for group policies that are purchased outside of California by an employer when its principal place of business and the majority of its employees are located outside of California. This leaves the same sex spouses and partners of employees who reside in California with different insurance coverage than their colleagues. This bill would remove this exemption and would require insurance companies outside of California to follow state law.
“SB 757 will require insurance companies to provide the same benefits to same-sex couples as they do for others,” said Roland Palencia, Executive Director of Equality California. “Until we achieve full marriage equality, Equality California will continue working toward eliminating discrimination against same-sex couples and securing equality for all Californians. We thank Senator Lieu for championing this critical bill.”
Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil rights protections in the nation. Equality California has passed more than 70 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org