Throughout the United States, health insurance has become a major issue. A growing portion of Americans are either uninsured or underinsured as the costs of health care and insurance continue to rise dramatically. For California medical insurance providers the issue is at the forefront of political and economic debates.

California Medical Insurance – CostsChanges in the marketplace have affected California medical insurance and the consumers it servers in recent year. Consumers are expected now to cover more of their own medical costs. According to “The Price of Illness: Cost Sharing and Health Plan Benefits”, a report created by the California Healthcare Foundation, the out-of-pocket maximum for insurance plans in California can reach up to $12,000 per year because of differences in meaning about exactly what constitutes “out-of-pocket” expenses.

Those high costs, in part, have caused some political turmoil.California Medical Insurance – Prescriptions & PoliticsIn November, 2005, voters will get to choose between two propositions that will change the face of California medical insurance and prescription coverage.

Proposition 79, known as Cheaper Prescription Drugs for California Act, would provide significant cost discounts to consumers whose families make less than $77,000 a year or whose medical expenses cost more than 5% of their total income. Drug companies would be forced to cover these discounts and those companies which refused to participate could be prevented from selling their drugs through the state’s Medi-Cal program. This measure is being supported by numerous groups throughout California, including several labor unions and health care organizations. It has also been endorsed by the Consumers Union.

On the other hand, Proposition 78, which is known as the California State Pharmacy Assistance Program, would provide discounts on prescriptions for families earning under $58,000. Under this program, drug companies would work with the state’s Department of Health to determine how much of a discount to offer, if any. Drug companies would not have to participate in the program. This proposal is sponsored by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a trade group for drug and medical research firms which are spending over $75 million to promote Proposition 78.To learn more about both Proposition 78 and 79, visit College students in and around California may also want to read “College Student Health Insurance.”

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