THE CALIFORNIA INSURANCE EQUALITY ACT
HOW TO USE IT AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY
What is the California Insurance Equality Act?
The California Insurance Equality Act ( AB 2208) is a non- discrimination statute
that prohibits insurance providers from issuing policies or plans that treat
registered domestic partners and married spouses differently. It requires all
policies and plans that provide benefits to spouses or registered domestic partners
to provide them to both categories and do so in an identical manner.
Does the bill apply to all types of insurance?
Yes, in addition to health insurance plans ( including managed care plans), the Act
applies to auto, rental, disability, life, and all other forms of insurance regulated
by the Department of Insurance.
How does the Act prohibit discrimination against registered domestic partners?
The Act makes it illegal for an insurance provider to issue any insurance policy or
plan that fails to provide the same coverage, with the same terms and conditions,
for registered domestic partners that is provided for spouses. For example, a car
insurance company that automatically extends coverage to the spouse of a policy
holder must also provide the same coverage to the registered domestic partner of a
policy holder. Similarly, employers will not be able to purchase health insurance
that provides coverage for their employees’ spouses but does not provide identical
coverage for their employees’ domestic partners.
Does the law require employers to provide coverage for spouses and registered
The law does not require employers to provide coverage for spouses or registered
domestic partners. If the employer does provide coverage for spouses, however,
the employer will only be able to buy a plan that provides equal coverage for
registered domestic partners
Who authored the Act?
The Act was authored by Assemblywoman Christine Kehoe and sponsored by
Equality California and Insurance Commissioner Garamendi. Governor
Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law on September 13, 2004.
When does the Act go into effect?
The new law goes into effect on January 2, 2005 for group health insurance plans
and on January 1, 2005 for other types of insurance.
How is the law enforced? What do I do if my insurance company refuses to provide
equal coverage for my registered domestic partner?
For any problems concerning managed health care plans and health maintenance
organizations, consumers should contact the Department of Managed Health Care
at 888- 466- 2219. Their website is http:// www. dmhc. ca. gov. For problems
concerning other types of insurance, consumers should contact the Consumer
Services Division of the California Department of Insurance, at 800- 927- HELP
( 4357). Their website is http:// www. insurance. ca. gov/ docs/ FS- Consumer. htm.
For more information about registering as domestic partners with the State of
California, visit the Secretary of State’s website at http:// www. ss. ca. gov/ dpregistry/.
For more information, contact:
National Center for Lesbian Rights Equality California
www. nclrights. org www. eqca. org
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