SMALL EMPLOYER HEALTH INSURANCE AVAILABILITY ACT
41-4708. Availability of coverage — Preexisting conditions — Portability. (1) Every small employer carrier shall, as a condition of offering health benefit plans in this state to small employers, actively offer to small employers all benefit plans, including the small employer basic health benefit plan, the small employer standard health benefit plan, and the small employer catastrophic health benefit plan.
(2) (a) A small employer carrier shall file with the director, in a format and manner prescribed by the director, the small employer basic, standard and catastrophic health benefit plans to be used by the carrier. A health benefit plan filed pursuant to the provisions of this paragraph may be used by a small employer carrier beginning thirty (30) days after it is filed unless the director disapproves its use.
(b) The director at any time may, after providing notice and an opportunity for a hearing to the small employer carrier, disapprove the continued use by a small employer carrier of a basic, standard or catastrophic health benefit plan on the grounds that the plan does not meet the requirements of this chapter.
(3) Health benefit plans covering small employers shall comply with the following provisions:
(a) A health benefit plan shall not deny, exclude or limit benefits for a covered individual for covered expenses incurred more than twelve (12) months following the effective date of the individual’s coverage due to a preexisting condition. A health benefit plan shall not define a preexisting condition more restrictively than a condition, whether physical or mental, regardless of the cause of the condition, for which medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment was recommended or received during the six (6) months immediately preceding the effective date of coverage.
(b) Genetic information shall not be considered as a condition described in this subsection in the absence of a diagnosis of the condition related to such information.
(c) A health benefit plan shall waive any time period applicable to a preexisting condition exclusion or limitation period with respect to particular services for the period of time an individual was previously covered by qualifying previous coverage that provided benefits with respect to such services, provided that the qualifying previous coverage was continuous to a date not more than sixty-three (63) days prior to the effective date of the new coverage. The period of continuous coverage shall not include any waiting period for the effective date of the new coverage applied by the employer or the carrier. This paragraph does not preclude application of any waiting period applicable to all new enrollees under the health benefit plan.
(d) A health benefit plan may exclude coverage for late enrollees for the greater of twelve (12) months or for a twelve (12) month preexisting condition exclusion; provided that if both a period of exclusion from coverage and a preexisting condition exclusion are applicable to a late enrollee, the combined period shall not exceed twelve (12) months from the date the individual enrolls for coverage under the health benefit plan.
(e) (i) Except as provided in paragraph (e)(iv) of this subsection, requirements used by a small employer carrier in determining whether to provide coverage to a small employer, including requirements for minimum participation of eligible employees and minimum employer contributions, shall be applied uniformly among all small employers with the same number of eligible employees applying for coverage or receiving coverage from the small employer carrier.
(ii) A small employer carrier may vary application of minimum participation requirements and minimum employer contribution requirements only by the size of the small employer group.
(iii) In applying minimum participation requirements with respect to a small employer, a small employer carrier shall not consider employees or dependents who have qualifying existing coverage in determining whether the applicable percentage of participation is met.
(iv) A small employer carrier shall not increase any requirement for minimum employee participation or any requirement for minimum employer contribution applicable to a small employer at any time after the small employer has been accepted for coverage.
(f) (i) If a small employer carrier offers coverage to a small employer, the small employer carrier shall offer coverage to all of the eligible employees of a small employer and their dependents. A small employer carrier shall not offer coverage to only certain individuals in a small employer group or to only part of the group, except in the case of late enrollees as provided in paragraph (d) of this subsection.
(ii) A small employer carrier shall not modify a basic, standard or catastrophic health benefit plan with respect to a small employer or any eligible employee or dependent through riders, endorsements or otherwise, to restrict or exclude coverage for certain diseases or medical conditions otherwise covered by the health benefit plan.
(4) (a) A small employer carrier shall not be required to offer coverage or accept applications pursuant to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section in the case of the following:
(i) To a small employer, where the small employer is not physically located in the carrier’s established geographic service area;
(ii) To an employee, when the employee does not work or reside within the carrier’s established geographic service area; or
(iii) Within an area where the small employer carrier reasonably anticipates, and demonstrates to the satisfaction of the director, that it will not have the capacity within its established geographic service area to deliver service adequately to the members of such groups because of its obligations to existing group policyholders and enrollees.
(b) A small employer carrier that cannot offer coverage pursuant to the provisions of subsection (4)(a)(iii) of this section may not offer coverage in the applicable area to new cases of employer groups with more than fifty (50) eligible employees or to any small employer groups until the later of one hundred eighty (180) days following each such refusal or the date on which the carrier notifies the director that it has regained capacity to deliver services to small employer groups.
(5) A small employer carrier shall not be required to provide coverage to small employers pursuant to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section for any period of time for which the director determines that requiring the acceptance of small employers in accordance with the provisions of subsection (1) of this section would place the small employer carrier in a financially impaired condition.
[41-4708, added 1993, ch. 176, sec. 1, p. 443; am. 1994, ch. 427, sec. 6, p. 1357; am. 1995, ch. 360, sec. 5, p. 1244; am. 1997, ch. 321, sec. 14, p. 969; am. 1998, ch. 143, sec. 3, p. 512; am. 2000, ch. 472, sec. 5, p. 1612.]