1357.503. Carrier Requirements
See also Insurance Code 10753 et seq
(a) (1) On and after October 1, 2013, a plan shall fairly and affirmatively offer, market, and sell all of the plan’s small employer health care service plan contracts for plan years on or after January 1, 2014, to all small employers in each service area in which the plan provides or arranges for the provision of health care services.
(2) On and after October 1, 2013, a plan shall make available to each small employer all small employer health care service plan contracts that the plan offers and sells to small employers or to associations that include small employers in this state for plan years on or after January 1, 2014. Health coverage through an association that is not related to employment shall be considered individual coverage pursuant to Section 144.102(c) of Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(3) A plan that offers qualified health plans through the Exchange shall be deemed to be in compliance with paragraphs (1) and (2) with respect to small employer health care service plan contracts offered through the Exchange in those geographic regions in which the plan offers plan contracts through the Exchange.
(b) A plan shall provide enrollment periods consistent with PPACA and described in Section 155.725 [Shop Enrollment] of Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Commencing January 1, 2014, a plan shall provide special enrollment periods consistent with the special enrollment periods described in Section 1399.849, to the extent permitted by PPACA, except for the triggering events identified in paragraphs (d)(3) and (d)(6) of Section 155.420 of Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations with respect to plan contracts offered through the Exchange.
(c) No plan or solicitor shall induce or otherwise encourage a small employer to separate or otherwise exclude an eligible employee from a health care service plan contract that is provided in connection with employee’s employment or membership in a guaranteed association.
(d) Every plan shall file with the director the reasonable employee participation requirements and employer contribution requirements that will be applied in offering its plan contracts. Participation requirements shall be applied uniformly among all small employer groups, except that a plan may vary application of minimum employee participation requirements by the size of the small employer group and whether the employer contributes 100 percent of the eligible employee’s premium. Employer contribution requirements shall not vary by employer size. A health care service plan shall not establish a participation requirement that (1) requires a person who meets the definition of a dependent in Section 1357.500 to enroll as a dependent if he or she is otherwise eligible for coverage and wishes to enroll as an eligible employee and (2) allows a plan to reject an otherwise eligible small employer because of the number of persons that waive coverage due to coverage through another employer. Members of an association eligible for health coverage under subdivision (m) of Section 1357.500, but not electing any health coverage through the association, shall not be counted as eligible employees for purposes of determining whether the guaranteed association meets a plan’s reasonable participation standards.
(e) The plan shall not reject an application from a small employer for a small employer health care service plan contract if all of the following conditions are met:
(1) The small employer offers health benefits to 100 percent of its eligible employees. Employees who waive coverage on the grounds that they have other group coverage shall not be counted as eligible employees.
(2) The small employer agrees to make the required premium payments.
(3) The small employer agrees to inform the small employer’s employees of the availability of coverage and the provision that those not electing coverage must wait until the next open enrollment or a special enrollment period to obtain coverage through the group if they later decide they would like to have coverage.
(4) The employees and their dependents who are to be covered by the plan contract work or reside in the service area in which the plan provides or otherwise arranges for the provision of health care services.
(f) No plan or solicitor shall, directly or indirectly, engage in the following activities:
(1) Encourage or direct small employers to refrain from filing an application for coverage with a plan because of the health status, claims experience, industry, occupation of the small employer, or geographic location provided that it is within the plan’s approved service area.
(2) Encourage or direct small employers to seek coverage from another plan because of the health status, claims experience, industry, occupation of the small employer, or geographic location provided that it is within the plan’s approved service area.
(3) Employ marketing practices or benefit designs that will have the effect of discouraging the enrollment of individuals with significant health needs or discriminate based on an individual’s race, color, national origin, present or predicted disability, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, expected length of life, degree of medical dependency, quality of life, or other health conditions.
(g) A plan shall not, directly or indirectly, enter into any contract, agreement, or arrangement with a solicitor that provides for or results in the compensation paid to a solicitor for the sale of a health care service plan contract to be varied because of the health status, claims experience, industry, occupation, or geographic location of the small employer. This subdivision does not apply to a compensation arrangement that provides compensation to a solicitor on the basis of percentage of premium, provided that the percentage shall not vary because of the health status, claims experience, industry, occupation, or geographic area of the small employer.
(h) (1) A policy or contract that covers a small employer, as defined in Section 1304(b) of PPACA and in Section 1357.500, shall not establish rules for eligibility, including continued eligibility, of an individual, or dependent of an individual, to enroll under the terms of the policy or contract based on any of the following health status-related factors:
(A) Health status.
(B) Medical condition, including physical and mental illnesses.
(C) Claims experience.
(D) Receipt of health care.
(E) Medical history.
(F) Genetic information.
(G) Evidence of insurability, including conditions arising out of acts of domestic violence.
(I) Any other health status-related factor as determined by any federal regulations, rules, or guidance issued pursuant to Section 2705 of the federal Public Health Service Act.
(2) Notwithstanding Section 1389.1, a health care service plan shall not require an eligible employee or dependent to fill out a health assessment or medical questionnaire prior to enrollment under a small employer health care service plan contract. A health care service plan shall not acquire or request information that relates to a health status-related factor from the applicant or his or her dependent or any other source prior to enrollment of the individual.
(i) (1) A health care service plan shall consider as a single risk pool for rating purposes in the small employer market the claims experience of all enrollees in all nongrandfathered small employer health benefit plans offered by the health care service plan in this state, whether offered as health care service plan contracts or health insurance policies, including those insureds and enrollees who enroll in coverage through the Exchange and insureds and enrollees covered by the health care service plan outside of the Exchange.
(2) At least each calendar year, and no more frequently than each calendar quarter, a health care service plan shall establish an index rate for the small employer market in the state based on the total combined claims costs for providing essential health benefits, as defined pursuant to Section 1302 of PPACA and Section 1367.005, within the single risk pool required under paragraph (1). The index rate shall be adjusted on a marketwide basis based on the total expected marketwide payments and charges under the risk adjustment and reinsurance programs established for the state pursuant to Sections 1343 and 1341 of PPACA. The premium rate for all of the health care service plan’s nongrandfathered small employer health care service plan contracts shall use the applicable index rate, as adjusted for total expected marketwide payments and charges under the risk adjustment and reinsurance programs established for the state pursuant to Sections 1343 and 1341 of PPACA, subject only to the adjustments permitted under paragraph (3).
(3) A health care service plan may vary premium rates for a particular nongrandfathered small employer health care service plan contract from its index rate based only on the following actuarially justified plan-specific factors:
(A) The actuarial value and cost-sharing design of the plan contract.
(B) The plan contract’s provider network, delivery system characteristics, and utilization management practices.
(C) The benefits provided under the plan contract that are in addition to the essential health benefits, as defined pursuant to Section 1302 of PPACA. These additional benefits shall be pooled with similar benefits within the single risk pool required under paragraph (1) and the claims experience from those benefits shall be utilized to determine rate variations for plan contracts that offer those benefits in addition to essential health benefits.
(D) With respect to catastrophic plans, as described in subsection (e) of Section 1302 of PPACA, the expected impact of the specific eligibility categories for those plans.
(E) Administrative costs, excluding any user fees required by the Exchange.
(j) A plan shall comply with the requirements of Section 1374.3.
(k) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), if Section 2702 of the federal Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 300gg-1), as added by Section 1201 of PPACA, is repealed, this section shall become inoperative 12 months after the repeal date, in which case health care service plans subject to this section shall instead be governed by Section 1357.03 to the extent permitted by federal law, and all references in this article to this section shall instead refer to Section 1357.03 except for purposes of paragraph (2).
(2) Subdivision (b) shall remain operative with respect to health care service plan contracts offered through the Exchange.