California fines Kaiser Health $200 million for parity violations

October 13, 2023

The Kennedy Forum and the Steinberg Institute are thrilled to see record parity enforcement by California’s Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), representing an essential step towards ensuring compliance with California and federal parity laws. DMHC found widespread violations, including failure to use required medical necessity criteria from nonprofit clinical specialty associations as required by SB 855, the state’s groundbreaking parity law. Notably, The Kennedy Forum and the Steinberg Institute were proud to sponsor SB 855 and are heartened to see those provisions referenced throughout this settlement agreement.

Time after time, health plans have proven that we cannot take their word that they are abiding by parity laws. We believe similar practices likely exist across many health plans, and we urge regulators to continue thorough investigations of every health plan and include detailed reviews of plans’ compliance with state and federal parity laws within their investigations.

Given California’s ongoing mental health and addiction crisis, it is critical that DMHC and states across the country sustain this momentum to ensure that individuals get the care they need and to prevent harmful cost-shifts to families and taxpayers.

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