(a) The Legislature finds and declares that the unique, private, and personal relationship between women patients and their obstetricians and gynecologists warrants direct access to obstetrical and gynecological physician services.
(b) Commencing January 1, 1999, every policy of disability insurance that covers hospital, medical, or surgical expenses, and that is issued, amended, delivered, or renewed in this state, shall allow a policyholder the option to seek obstetrical and gynecological physician services directly from an obstetrician and gynecologist or directly from a participating family practice physician and surgeon designated by the plan as providing obstetrical and gynecological services.
(c) In implementing this section, a disability insurer may establish reasonable provisions governing utilization protocols and the use of obstetricians and gynecologists or family practice physicians and surgeons, as provided for in subdivision (b), provided that these provisions shall be consistent with the intent of this section and shall be those customarily applied to other physicians and surgeons, including primary care physicians and surgeons, to whom the policyholder has direct access, and shall not be more restrictive for the provision of obstetrical and gynecological physician services. A policyholder shall not be required to obtain prior approval from another physician, another provider, or the insurer prior to obtaining direct access to obstetrical and gynecological physician services, but the insurer may establish reasonable requirements for the participating obstetrician and gynecologist or the family practice physician and surgeon, as provided in subdivision (b), to communicate with the policyholders primary care physician regarding the policyholders condition, treatment, and any need for followup care.
(d) This section shall not be construed to diminish the provisions of Section 10123.83.
(e) The Insurance Commissioner shall report to the Legislature, on or before January 1, 2000, on the implementation of this section.