Bill Text

Bill Information


Add To My Favorites | print page

AB-2 Insurance.(2003-2004)

SHARE THIS:share this bill in Facebookshare this bill in Twitter
AB2:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2003–2004 4th Ext.

Assembly Bill
No. 2


Introduced  by  Assembly Member Nation

November 18, 2003


An act to amend Section 1871.8 of the Insurance Code, to amend Section 5307.1 of the Labor Code, and to amend Sections 549 and 550 of the Penal Code, relating to insurance.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2, as introduced, Nation. Insurance.
Existing law establishes a workers’ compensation system to compensate an employee for injuries sustained in the course of his or her employment. Chapter 639 of the Statutes of 2003 (SB 228) will make changes to the workers’ compensation system effective January 1, 2004.
This bill would make technical, nonsubstantive changes to Chapter 639.
Existing law provides for criminal penalties in connection with various actions relating to insurance fraud, generally providing for a fine of up to $50,000 and imprisonment for one or more years.
This bill would increase the criminal fines in these cases from $50,000 to $150,000.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 1871.8 of the Insurance Code is amended to read:

1871.8.
 An insurer or self-insured employer may provide the following notice to an injured worker on or with a check for temporary disability benefits:
Warning: Acceptance of employment with a different employer that requires the performance of activities that you have stated that you cannot perform because of the injury for which you are receiving temporary disability benefits could constitute fraud and could result in criminal prosecution. If convicted, you could lose your rights to workers’ compensation benefits and face imprisonment for up to five years and a fine of up to one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) ($150,000) or double the amount of the fraud, whichever is greater.

SEC. 2.

 Section 5307.1 of the Labor Code, as added by Chapter 639 of the Statutes of 2003, is amended to read:

5307.1.
 (a) The administrative director, after public hearings, shall adopt and revise periodically an official medical fee schedule that shall establish reasonable maximum fees paid for medical services other than physician services, drugs and pharmacy services, health care facility fees, home health care, and all other treatment, care, services, and goods described in Section 4600 and provided pursuant to this section. Except for physician services, all fees shall be in accordance with the fee-related structure and rules of the relevant Medicare and Medi-Cal payment systems, provided that employer liability for medical treatment, including issues of reasonableness, necessity, frequency, and duration, shall be determined in accordance with Section 4600. Commencing January 1, 2004, and continuing until the time the administrative director has adopted an official medical fee schedule in accordance with the fee-related structure and rules of the relevant Medicare payment systems, except for the components listed in subdivisions (k) and (l), maximum reasonable fees shall be 120 percent of the estimated aggregate fees prescribed in the relevant Medicare payment system for the same class of services before application of the inflation factors provided in subdivision (e) (g), except that for pharmacy services and drugs that are not otherwise covered by a Medicare fee schedule payment for facility services, the maximum reasonable fees shall be 100 percent of fees prescribed in the relevant Medi-Cal payment system. Upon adoption by the administrative director of an official medical fee schedule pursuant to this section, the maximum reasonable fees paid shall not exceed 120 percent of estimated aggregate fees prescribed in the Medicare payment system for the same class of services before application of the inflation factors provided in subdivision(e) (g). Pharmacy services and drugs shall be subject to the requirements of this section, whether furnished through a pharmacy or dispensed directly by the practitioner pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 4024 of the Business and Professions Code.
(b) In order to comply with the standards specified in subdivision (f), the administrative director may adopt different conversion factors, diagnostic related group weights, and other factors affecting payment amounts from those used in the Medicare payment system, provided estimated aggregate fees do not exceed 120 percent of the estimated aggregate fees paid for the same class of services in the relevant Medicare payment system.
(c) Notwithstanding subdivisions (a) and (d), the maximum facility fee for services performed in an ambulatory surgical center, or in a hospital outpatient department, may not exceed 120 percent of the fee paid by Medicare for the same services performed in a hospital outpatient department.
(d) If the administrative director determines that a medical treatment, facility use, product, or service is not covered by a Medicare payment system, the administrative director shall establish maximum fees for that item, provided that the maximum fee paid shall not exceed 120 percent of the fees paid by Medicare for services that require comparable resources. If the administrative director determines that a pharmacy service or drug is not covered by a Medi-Cal payment system, the administrative director shall establish maximum fees for that item, provided, however, that the maximum fee paid shall not exceed 100 percent of the fees paid by Medi-Cal for pharmacy services or drugs that require comparable resources.
(e) Prior to the adoption by the administrative director of a medical fee schedule pursuant to this section, for any treatment, facility use, product, or service not covered by a Medicare payment system, including acupuncture services, or, with regard to pharmacy services and drugs, for a pharmacy service or drug that is not covered by a Medi-Cal payment system, the maximum reasonable fee paid shall not exceed the fee specified in the official medical fee schedule in effect on December 31, 2003.
(f) Within the limits provided by this section, the rates or fees established shall be adequate to ensure a reasonable standard of services and care for injured employees.
(g) (1) (A) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the official medical fee schedule shall be adjusted to conform to any relevant changes in the Medicare and Medi-Cal payment systems no later than 60 days after the effective date of those changes, provided that both of the following conditions are met:
(i) The annual inflation adjustment for facility fees for inpatient hospital services provided by acute care hospitals and for hospital outpatient services shall be determined solely by the estimated increase in the hospital market basket for the 12 months beginning October 1 of the preceding calendar year.
(ii) The annual update in the operating standardized amount and capital standard rate for inpatient hospital services provided by hospitals excluded from the Medicare prospective payment system for acute care hospitals and the conversion factor for hospital outpatient services shall be determined solely by the estimated increase in the hospital market basket for excluded hospitals for the 12 months beginning October 1 of the preceding calendar year.
(B) The update factors contained in clauses (i) and (ii) of subparagraph (A) shall be applied beginning with the first update in the Medicare fee schedule payment amounts after December 31, 2003.
(2) The administrative director shall determine the effective date of the changes, and shall issue an order, exempt from Sections 5307.3 and 5307.4 and the rulemaking provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11370) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code), informing the public of the changes and their effective date. All orders issued pursuant to this paragraph shall be published on the Internet Web site of the division of Workers’ Compensation.
(3) For the purposes of this subdivision, the following definitions apply:
(A) “Medicare Economic Index” means the input price index used by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to measure changes in the costs of a providing physician and other services paid under the resource-based relative value scale.
(B) “Hospital market basket” means the input price index used by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to measure changes in the costs of providing inpatient hospital services provided by acute care hospitals that are included in the Medicare prospective payment system.
(C) “Hospital market basket for excluded hospitals” means the input price index used by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to measure changes in the costs of providing inpatient services by hospitals that are excluded from the Medicare prospective payment system.
(h) Nothing in this section shall prohibit an employer or insurer from contracting with a medical provider for reimbursement rates different from those prescribed in the official medical fee schedule.
(i) Except as provided in Section 4626, the official medical fee schedule shall not apply to medical-legal expenses, as that term is defined by Section 4620.
(j) The following Medicare payment system components may not become part of the official medical fee schedule until January 1, 2005:
(1) Inpatient skilled nursing facility care.
(2) Home health agency services.
(3) Inpatient services furnished by hospitals that are exempt from the prospective payment system for general acute care hospitals.
(4) Outpatient renal dialysis services.
(k) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), for the calendar years 2004 and 2005, the existing official medical fee schedule rates for physician services shall remain in effect, but these rates shall be reduced by 5 percent. The administrative director may reduce fees of individual procedures by different amounts, but in no event shall the administrative director reduce the fee for a procedure that is currently reimbursed at a rate at or below the Medicare rate for the same procedure.
(l) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the administrative director, commencing January 1, 2006, shall have the authority, after public hearings, to adopt and revise, no less frequently than biennially, an official medical fee schedule for physician services. If the administrative director fails to adopt an official medical fee schedule for physician services by January 1, 2006, the existing official medical fee schedule rates for physician services shall remain in effect until a new schedule is adopted or the existing schedule is revised.

SEC. 3.

 Section 549 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

549.
 Any firm, corporation, partnership, or association, or any person acting in his or her individual capacity, or in his or her capacity as a public or private employee, who solicits, accepts, or refers any business to or from any individual or entity with the knowledge that, or with reckless disregard for whether, the individual or entity for or from whom the solicitation or referral is made, or the individual or entity who is solicited or referred, intends to violate Section 550 of this code or Section 1871.4 of the Insurance Code is guilty of a crime, punishable upon a first conviction by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year or by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, two years, or three years, or by a fine not exceeding one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) ($150,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. A second or subsequent conviction is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison or by imprisonment in the state prison and a fine of one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) ($150,000).

SEC. 4.

 Section 550 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

550.
 (a) It is unlawful to do any of the following, or to aid, abet, solicit, or conspire with any person to do any of the following:
(1) Knowingly present or cause to be presented any false or fraudulent claim for the payment of a loss or injury, including payment of a loss or injury under a contract of insurance.
(2) Knowingly present multiple claims for the same loss or injury, including presentation of multiple claims to more than one insurer, with an intent to defraud.
(3) Knowingly cause or participate in a vehicular collision, or any other vehicular accident, for the purpose of presenting any false or fraudulent claim.
(4) Knowingly present a false or fraudulent claim for the payments of a loss for theft, destruction, damage, or conversion of a motor vehicle, a motor vehicle part, or contents of a motor vehicle.
(5) Knowingly prepare, make, or subscribe any writing, with the intent to present or use it, or to allow it to be presented, in support of any false or fraudulent claim.
(6) Knowingly make or cause to be made any false or fraudulent claim for payment of a health care benefit.
(7) Knowingly submit a claim for a health care benefit that was not used by, or on behalf of, the claimant.
(8) Knowingly present multiple claims for payment of the same health care benefit with an intent to defraud.
(9) Knowingly present for payment any undercharges for health care benefits on behalf of a specific claimant unless any known overcharges for health care benefits for that claimant are presented for reconciliation at that same time.
(10) For purposes of paragraphs (6) to (9), inclusive, a claim or a claim for payment of a health care benefit also means a claim or claim for payment submitted by or on the behalf of a provider of any workers’ compensation health benefits under the Labor Code.
(b) It is unlawful to do, or to knowingly assist or conspire with any person to do, any of the following:
(1) Present or cause to be presented any written or oral statement as part of, or in support of or opposition to, a claim for payment or other benefit pursuant to an insurance policy, knowing that the statement contains any false or misleading information concerning any material fact.
(2) Prepare or make any written or oral statement that is intended to be presented to any insurer or any insurance claimant in connection with, or in support of or opposition to, any claim or payment or other benefit pursuant to an insurance policy, knowing that the statement contains any false or misleading information concerning any material fact.
(3) Conceal, or knowingly fail to disclose the occurrence of, an event that affects any person’s initial or continued right or entitlement to any insurance benefit or payment, or the amount of any benefit or payment to which the person is entitled.
(4) Prepare or make any written or oral statement, intended to be presented to any insurer or producer for the purpose of obtaining a motor vehicle insurance policy, that the person to be the insured resides or is domiciled in this state when, in fact, that person resides or is domiciled in a state other than this state.
(c) (1) Every person who violates paragraph (1), (2), (3), (4), or (5) of subdivision (a) is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or five years, and by a fine not exceeding one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) ($150,000), unless the value of the fraud exceeds one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) ($150,000), in which event the fine may not exceed double of the value of the fraud.
(2) Every person who violates paragraph (6), (7), (8), or (9) of subdivision (a) is guilty of a public offense.
(A) Where the claim or amount at issue exceeds four hundred dollars ($400), the offense is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or five years, or by a fine not exceeding one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) ($150,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine, unless the value of the fraud exceeds one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($50,000)($150,000), in which event the fine may not exceed double the value of the fraud, or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.
(B) Where the claim or amount at issue is four hundred dollars ($400) or less, the offense is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed six months, or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine, unless the aggregate amount of the claims or amount at issue exceeds four hundred dollars ($400) in any 12-consecutive-month period, in which case the claims or amounts may be charged as in subparagraph (A).
(3) Every person who violates paragraph (1), (2), (3), or (4) of subdivision (b) shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or five years, or by a fine not exceeding one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) ($150,000), unless the value of the fraud exceeds one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) ($150,000), in which event the fine may not exceed double the value of the fraud, or by both that imprisonment and fine; or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by a fine of not more than one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500), or by both that imprisonment and fine.
(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, probation shall not be granted to, nor shall the execution or imposition of a sentence be suspended for, any adult person convicted of felony violations of this section who previously has been convicted of felony violations of this section or Section 548, or of Section 1871.4 of the Insurance Code, or former Section 556 of the Insurance Code, or former Section 1871.1 of the Insurance Code as an adult under charges separately brought and tried two or more times. The existence of any fact that would make a person ineligible for probation under this subdivision shall be alleged in the information or indictment, and either admitted by the defendant in an open court, or found to be true by the jury trying the issue of guilt or by the court where guilt is established by plea of guilty or nolo contendere or by trial by the court sitting without a jury.
Except when the existence of the fact was not admitted or found to be true or the court finds that a prior felony conviction was invalid, the court shall not strike or dismiss any prior felony convictions alleged in the information or indictment.
This subdivision does not prohibit the adjournment of criminal proceedings pursuant to Division 3 (commencing with Section 3000) or Division 6 (commencing with Section 6000) of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(e) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (f), any person who violates subdivision (a) or (b) and who has a prior felony conviction of an offense set forth in either subdivision (a) or (b), in Section 548, in Section 1871.4 of the Insurance Code, in former Section 556 of the Insurance Code, or in former Section 1871.1 of the Insurance Code shall receive a two-year enhancement for each prior felony conviction in addition to the sentence provided in subdivision (c). The existence of any fact that would subject a person to a penalty enhancement shall be alleged in the information or indictment and either admitted by the defendant in open court, or found to be true by the jury trying the issue of guilt or by the court where guilt is established by plea of guilty or nolo contendere or by trial by the court sitting without a jury. Any person who violates this section shall be subject to appropriate orders of restitution pursuant to Section 13967 of the Government Code.
(f) Any person who violates paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) and who has two prior felony convictions for a violation of paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) shall receive a five-year enhancement in addition to the sentence provided in subdivision (c). The existence of any fact that would subject a person to a penalty enhancement shall be alleged in the information or indictment and either admitted by the defendant in open court, or found to be true by the jury trying the issue of guilt or by the court where guilt is established by plea of guilty or nolo contendere or by trial by the court sitting without a jury.
(g) Except as otherwise provided in Section 12022.7, any person who violates paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) shall receive a two-year enhancement for each person other than an accomplice who suffers serious bodily injury resulting from the vehicular collision or accident in a violation of paragraph (3) of subdivision (a).
(h) This section shall not be construed to preclude the applicability of any other provision of criminal law or equitable remedy that applies or may apply to any act committed or alleged to have been committed by a person.
(i) Any fine imposed pursuant to this section shall be doubled if the offense was committed in connection with any claim pursuant to any automobile insurance policy in an auto insurance fraud crisis area designated by the Insurance Commissioner pursuant to Article 4.6 (commencing with Section 1874.90) of Chapter 12 of Part 2 of Division 1 of the Insurance Code.