SACRAMENTO – The “right to die”, this is a subject of controversy among religious leaders, religious followers as well as unaffiliated individuals. The California Department of insurance in a Thursday morning release reminded California residents that The End of Life Option Act (Death with Dignity) goes into effect today.
The law, Assembly Bill X2-15 was passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Brown. This was also supported by the California State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones who believes this allows patients while still of sound mind and that meet other qualifications to end the suffering of terminal illness by requesting aid-in-dying medication.
“Terminally ill patients in California now have a choice when facing end-of-life decisions and do not have to worry that the choice will cause them to lose their life or health insurance or annuity policy,” said Commissioner Jones. “Many of the health care services someone would seek at the end of life under the new law are considered basic health care services that are required to be covered in most health insurance policies sold today. Existing law also requires many health insurance plans to cover all FDA approved outpatient prescription drugs, so I expect that many health insurance policies and health plans will cover drugs that physicians may prescribe to patients for aid-in-dying. This law will make it possible for those who meet the protections in the new law to have the option to obtain a prescription for an aid-in-dying drug from their physician.”
A recent article, by the Victorville Daily Press stated that hospitals are afforded the choice to opt out of the provision of aid-in-dying medications.
This new law raised questions regarding death benefits for the beneficiaries on the policies of those who chose to seek aid in dying. “Under the new law, if a terminally ill Californian, who meets the criteria in the law, chooses to take the medication to end their own life, the law is clear that this is not a suicide, so life insurance policy exclusions for suicide do not apply,” California State Insurance Officials said. A toll free line is available for consumers and their families who have questions regarding the new law, the number is (800)927-4357.
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