About Bill -- Links
SENATE BILL NO. 347
INTRODUCED BY S. STANG
AN ACT ELIMINATING THE RIGHT OF A SMALL GROUP CARRIER, UNDER THE SMALL EMPLOYER HEALTH INSURANCE AVAILABILITY ACT, TO CEDE NEW ENROLLEES UNDER THE REINSURANCE PROGRAM; ELIMINATING THE SMALL EMPLOYER HEALTH REINSURANCE PROGRAM AND ITS BOARD ON JULY 1, 2001; PROVIDING FOR A TRANSITION FOR THOSE PERSONS ALREADY CEDED TO THE REINSURANCE PROGRAM; AMENDING SECTIONS 33-22-1803 AND 33-22-1819, MCA; REPEALING SECTIONS 33-22-1818 AND 33-22-1819, MCA; AND PROVIDING EFFECTIVE DATES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Section 33-22-1803, MCA, is amended to read:
"33-22-1803. Definitions. As used in this part, the following definitions apply:
(1) "Actuarial certification" means a written statement by a member of the American academy of actuaries or other individual acceptable to the commissioner that a small employer carrier is in compliance with the provisions of 33-22-1809, based upon the person's examination, including a review of the appropriate records and of the actuarial assumptions and methods used by the small employer carrier in establishing premium rates for applicable health benefit plans.
(2) "Affiliate" or "affiliated" means any entity or person who directly or indirectly, through one or more intermediaries, controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with a specified entity or person.
(3) "Assessable carrier" means all carriers of disability insurance, including excess of loss and stop loss disability insurance.
(4) "Base premium rate" means, for each class of business as to a rating period, the lowest premium rate charged or that could have been charged under the rating system for that class of business by the small employer carrier to small employers with similar case characteristics for health benefit plans with the same or similar coverage.
(5) "Basic health benefit plan" means a health benefit plan, except a uniform health benefit plan, developed by a small employer carrier, that has a lower benefit value than the small employer carrier's standard benefit plan and that provides the benefits required by 33-22-1827.
(6) "Benefit value" means a numerical value based on the expected dollar value of benefits payable to an insured under a health benefit plan. The benefit value must be calculated by the small employer carrier using an actuarially based method and must take into account all health care expenses covered by the health benefit plan and all cost-sharing features of the health benefit plan, including deductibles, coinsurance, copayments, and the insured individual's maximum out-of-pocket expenses. The benefit value must apply equally to indemnity-type health benefit plans and to managed care health benefit plans, including health maintenance organization-type plans.
(7) "Board" means the board of directors of the program established pursuant to 33-22-1818. (8)(7) "Bona fide association" means an association that:
(a) has been actively in existence for at least 5 years;
(b) was formed and has been maintained in good faith for purposes other than obtaining insurance;
(c) does not condition membership in the association on a health status-related factor relating to an individual, including an employee of an employer or a dependent of an employee;
(d) makes health insurance coverage offered through the association available to a member regardless of a health status-related factor relating to the member or an individual eligible for coverage through a member;
(e) does not make health insurance coverage offered through the association available other than in connection with a member of the association; and
(f) meets any additional requirements required by law.
(9)(8) "Carrier" means any person who provides a health benefit plan in this state subject to state insurance regulation.
The term includes but is not limited to an insurance company, a fraternal benefit society, a health service corporation, and a
health maintenance organization. For purposes of this part, companies that are affiliated companies or that are eligible to
file a consolidated tax return must be treated as one carrier, except that the following may be considered as separate carriers:
(a) an insurance company or health service corporation that is an affiliate of a health maintenance organization located in this state;
(b) a health maintenance organization located in this state that is an affiliate of an insurance company or health service corporation; or
(c) a health maintenance organization that operates only one health maintenance organization in an established geographic service area of this state.
(10)(9) "Case characteristics" means demographic or other objective characteristics of a small employer that are
considered by the small employer carrier in the determination of premium rates for the small employer, provided that
gender, claims experience, health status, and duration of coverage are not case characteristics for purposes of this part. (11)(10) "Class of business" means all or a separate grouping of small employers established pursuant to 33-22-1808. (12)(11) "Dependent" means:
(a) a spouse or an unmarried child under 19 years of age;
(b) an unmarried child, under 23 years of age, who is a full-time student and who is financially dependent on the insured;
(c) a child of any age who is disabled and dependent upon the parent as provided in 33-22-506 and 33-30-1003; or
(d) any other individual defined as a dependent in the health benefit plan covering the employee.
(13)(12) "Eligible employee" means an employee who works on a full-time basis with a normal workweek of 30 hours or
more, except that at the sole discretion of the employer, the term may include an employee who works on a full-time basis
with a normal workweek of between 20 and 40 hours as long as this eligibility criteria is applied uniformly among all of the
employer's employees. The term includes a sole proprietor, a partner of a partnership, and an independent contractor if the
sole proprietor, partner, or independent contractor is included as an employee under a health benefit plan of a small
employer. The term does not include an employee who works on a part-time, temporary, or substitute basis. (14)(13) "Established geographic service area" means a geographic area, as approved by the commissioner and based on
the carrier's certificate of authority to transact insurance in this state, within which the carrier is authorized to provide
coverage. (15)(14) "Health benefit plan" means any hospital or medical policy or certificate providing for physical and mental
health care issued by an insurance company, a fraternal benefit society, or a health service corporation or issued under a
health maintenance organization subscriber contract. Health benefit plan does not include coverage of excepted benefits if
coverage is provided under a separate policy, certificate, or contract of insurance. (16)(15) "Index rate" means, for each class of business for a rating period for small employers with similar case
characteristics, the average of the applicable base premium rate and the corresponding highest premium rate. (17)(16) "New business premium rate" means, for each class of business for a rating period, the lowest premium rate
charged or offered or that could have been charged or offered by the small employer carrier to small employers with similar
case characteristics for newly issued health benefit plans with the same or similar coverage. (18) "Plan of operation" means the operation of the program established pursuant to 33-22-1818. (19)(17) "Premium" means all money paid by a small employer and eligible employees as a condition of receiving
coverage from a small employer carrier, including any fees or other contributions associated with the health benefit plan. (20) "Program" means the Montana small employer health reinsurance program created by 33-22-1818. (21)(18) "Rating period" means the calendar period for which premium rates established by a small employer carrier are
assumed to be in effect. (22) "Reinsuring carrier" means a small employer carrier participating in the reinsurance program pursuant to
33-22-1819. (23)(19) "Restricted network provision" means a provision of a health benefit plan that conditions the payment of
benefits, in whole or in part, on the use of health care providers that have entered into a contractual arrangement with the
carrier pursuant to Title 33, chapter 22, part 17, or Title 33, chapter 31, to provide health care services to covered
individuals. (24)(20) "Small employer" means a person, firm, corporation, partnership, or bona fide association that is actively
engaged in business and that, with respect to a calendar year and a plan year, employed at least 2 but not more than 50
eligible employees during the preceding calendar year and employed at least two employees on the first day of the plan year.
In the case of an employer that was not in existence throughout the preceding calendar year, the determination of whether
the employer is a small or large employer must be based on the average number of employees reasonably expected to be
employed by the employer in the current calendar year. In determining the number of eligible employees, companies are
considered one employer if they:
(a) are affiliated companies;
(b) are eligible to file a combined tax return for purposes of state taxation; or
(c) are members of a bona fide association.
(25)(21) "Small employer carrier" means a carrier that offers health benefit plans that cover eligible employees of one or
more small employers in this state. (26)(22) "Standard health benefit plan" means a health benefit plan that is developed by a small employer carrier and that
contains the provisions required pursuant to 33-22-1828."
Section 2. Section 33-22-1819, MCA, is amended to read:
"33-22-1819. Program plan of operation -- treatment of losses -- exemption from taxation. (1) Within 180 days after the appointment of the initial board, the board shall submit to the commissioner for review a plan of operation and may at any time submit amendments to the plan necessary or suitable to ensure the fair, reasonable, and equitable administration of the program. The commissioner may review the plan of operation to determine if it is suitable to ensure the fair, reasonable, and equitable administration of the program and if the plan of operation provides for the sharing of program gains or losses on an equitable and proportionate basis in accordance with the provisions of this section. The commissioner may make recommendations to the board if the commissioner determines the plan of operation does not meet the criteria of this subsection.
(2) The plan of operation must:
(a) establish procedures for the handling and accounting of program assets and money and for an annual fiscal reporting to the commissioner;
(b) establish procedures for selecting an administering carrier and setting forth the powers and duties of the administering carrier;
(c) establish procedures for reinsuring risks in accordance with the provisions of this section;
(d) establish procedures for collecting assessments from assessable carriers to fund claims incurred by the program;
(e) establish procedures for allocating a portion of premiums collected from reinsuring carriers to fund administrative expenses incurred or to be incurred by the program; and
(f) provide for any additional matters necessary for the implementation and administration of the program.
(3) The program has the general powers and authority granted under the laws of this state to insurance companies and health maintenance organizations licensed to transact business, except the power to issue health benefit plans directly to either groups or individuals. In addition, the program may:
(a) enter into contracts as are necessary or proper to carry out the provisions and purposes of this part, including the authority, with the approval of the commissioner, to enter into contracts with similar programs of other states for the joint performance of common functions or with persons or other organizations for the performance of administrative functions;
(b) sue or be sued, including taking any legal actions necessary or proper to recover any premiums and penalties for, on behalf of, or against the program or any reinsuring carriers;
(c) take any legal action necessary to avoid the payment of improper claims against the program;
(d) define the health benefit plans for which reinsurance will be provided and to issue reinsurance policies in accordance with the requirements of this part;
(e) establish conditions and procedures for reinsuring risks under the program;
(f) establish actuarial functions as appropriate for the operation of the program;
(g) appoint appropriate legal, actuarial, and other committees as necessary to provide technical assistance in operation of the program, policy and other contract design, and any other function within the authority of the program;
(h) to the extent permitted by federal law and in accordance with subsection
(7)(c) (8)(c), make annual assessments
against assessable carriers and make interim assessments to fund claims incurred by the program; and
(i) borrow money to effect the purposes of the program, including borrowing from the general fund at prevailing interest rates for a period not to exceed 2 years any funds necessary for the continued operation of the reinsurance plan. Any notes or other evidence of indebtedness of the program not in default are legal investments for carriers and may be carried as admitted assets.
(j) provide for the termination of and transition plan for the small employer health reinsurance program and its board by July 1, 2001.
reinsuring carrier may not reinsure any new or additional employees or dependents with the program as provided
for in this subsection: after [the effective date of this section]. (a) With respect to a basic health benefit plan or a standard health benefit plan, the program shall reinsure the level of
coverage provided and, with respect to other plans, the program shall reinsure up to the level of coverage provided in a
basic or standard health benefit plan. (b) A small employer carrier may reinsure an entire employer group within 60 days of the commencement of the group's
coverage under a health benefit plan. (c) A reinsuring carrier may reinsure an eligible employee or dependent within a period of 60 days following the
commencement of coverage with the small employer. A newly eligible employee or dependent of the reinsured small
employer may be reinsured within 60 days of the commencement of coverage. (d)(i) (5) (a) The program may not reimburse a reinsuring carrier with respect to the claims of a reinsured employee or
dependent in the program at the time of [the effective date of this section] until the carrier has incurred an initial level of
claims for the employee or dependent of $5,000 in a calendar year for benefits covered by the program. In addition, the
reinsuring carrier is responsible for 20% of the next $100,000 of benefit payments during a calendar year and the program
shall reinsure the remainder. A reinsuring carrier's liability under this subsection (4)(d)(i) (5)(a) may not exceed a maximum
limit of $25,000 in any calendar year with respect to any reinsured individual. (ii)(b) The board annually shall adjust the initial level of claims and maximum limit to be retained by the carrier to
reflect increases in costs and utilization within the standard market for health benefit plans within the state. The adjustment
may not be less than the annual change in the medical component of the consumer price index for all urban consumers of
the United States department of labor, bureau of labor statistics, unless the board proposes and the commissioner approves a
lower adjustment factor. (e)(c) A small employer carrier may terminate reinsurance with the program for one or more of the reinsured employees
or dependents of a small employer on any anniversary of the health benefit plan and shall terminate reinsurance with the
program for all reinsured employees or dependents of a small employer on a date set by the board but no later than July 1,
2001. (f) A small employer group health benefit plan in effect before January 1, 1994, may not be reinsured by the program
until the board determines that sufficient funding sources are available. (g)(d) A reinsuring carrier shall apply all managed care and claims-handling techniques, including utilization review,
individual case management, preferred provider provisions, and other managed care provisions or methods of operation
consistently with respect to reinsured and nonreinsured business. (5)(6) (a) As part of the plan of operation, the board shall establish a methodology for determining premium rates to be
charged by the program for reinsuring small employers and individuals pursuant to this section. The methodology must
include a system for classification of small employers that reflects the types of case characteristics commonly used by small
employer carriers in the state. The methodology must provide for the development of base reinsurance premium rates that
must be multiplied by the factors set forth in subsection (5)(b) (6)(b) to determine the premium rates for the program. The
base reinsurance premium rates must be established by the board, subject to the approval of the commissioner, and must be
set at levels that reasonably approximate the premiums necessary to recover one-half of the expenses for the calendar year.
For purposes of this section, expenses include administrative expenses and the actuarially anticipated claims to be incurred,
adjusted to reflect retention levels required under this part.
(b) Premiums for the program are as follows:
(i) An entire small employer group may be reinsured for a rate that is one and one-half times the base reinsurance
premium rate for the group established pursuant to this subsection
(ii) An eligible employee or dependent may be reinsured for a rate that is five times the base reinsurance premium rate
for the individual established pursuant to this subsection
(c) The board shall annually review the methodology established under subsection
(5)(a) (6)(a), including the system of
classification and any rating factors, to ensure that it is actuarially sound and that it reasonably reflects the claims
experience of the program. The board may propose changes to the methodology that are subject to the approval of the
(d) The board may consider adjustments to the premium rates charged by the program to reflect the use of effective cost containment and managed care arrangements.
(6)(7) If a health benefit plan for a small employer is entirely or partially reinsured with the program, the premium
charged to the small employer for any rating period for the coverage issued must meet the requirements relating to premium
rates set forth in 33-22-1809. (7)(8) (a) Before March 1 of each year, the board shall determine and report to the commissioner the program net loss
for the previous calendar year, including administrative expenses and incurred losses for the year, taking into account
investment income and other appropriate gains and losses, and the actuarially anticipated losses for the calendar year. The
sum of the program net loss for the previous calendar year plus one-half of the actuarially anticipated claims to be incurred
during the current calendar year and one-half of anticipated administrative expenses during the current calendar year must
equal the total assessment amount.
(b) (i) Each assessable carrier shall share in the program in an amount determined by multiplying the total assessment amount by a fraction, the numerator of which is the number of individuals in this state covered under disability insurance by the assessable carrier and the denominator of which is the number of all individuals in this state covered under disability insurance by all assessable carriers.
(ii) The board shall make a reasonable effort to ensure that each insured individual is counted only once for the purpose of assessment. The board shall require each assessable carrier that provides excess of loss or stop loss insurance to include in its count of insured individuals all individuals whose coverage is reinsured in whole or in part, including coverage under excess of loss or stop loss insurance. The board shall allow an assessable carrier who is an excess of loss or stop loss insurer to exclude from its count of insured individuals those who have been counted by a primary disability insurer or by a primary reinsurer.
(iii) The board may use any reasonable method of estimating the number of individuals insured by an assessable carrier if the specific number is unknown.
(c) The board shall make an annual determination in accordance with this section of each assessable carrier's liability for its share of the contribution to the program and, except as otherwise provided by this section, make an annual assessment against each assessable carrier to the extent of that liability. Payment of an assessment is due within 30 days of receipt by the assessable carrier of written notice of the assessment. An assessable carrier that ceases doing business within the state is liable for assessments until the end of the calendar year in which the assessable carrier ceased doing business. The board may determine not to assess an assessable carrier if the assessable carrier's liability determined in accordance with this section does not exceed $10.
(d) The board may establish and maintain program reserves not to exceed five times the actuarially anticipated losses for the calendar year.
(e) If the sum of the reinsurance premiums and assessments in any calendar year exceeds the sum of the administrative
expenses and incurred claims for that year, the board may proportionately credit the excess to assessable carriers or it may
place the excess in program reserves, subject to the limits in subsection
(7)(d) (8)(d). (8)(9) The participation in the program as reinsuring carriers; the establishment of rates, forms, or procedures; or any
other joint collective action required by this part may not be the basis of any legal action, criminal or civil liability, or
penalty against the program or any of its reinsuring carriers, either jointly or separately. (9) The board, as part of the plan of operation, shall develop standards setting forth the minimum levels of
compensation to be paid to producers for the sale of basic and standard health benefit plans. In establishing the standards,
the board shall take into consideration the need to ensure the broad availability of coverages, the objectives of the program,
the time and effort expended in placing the coverage, the need to provide ongoing service to small employers, the levels of
compensation currently used in the industry, and the overall costs of coverage to small employers selecting these plans.
(10) The program is exempt from taxation.
(11) On or before July 1 of each year, the commissioner shall evaluate the operation of the program and report to the governor and the legislature in writing the results of the evaluation. The report must include an estimate of future costs of the program, assessments necessary to pay those costs, the appropriateness of premiums charged by the program, the level of insurance retention under the program, the cost of coverage of small employers, and any recommendations for change to the plan of operation.
(12) All premiums and other money paid to the small employer carrier reinsurance program and all property and securities acquired through the use of money and interest and dividends earned on money belonging to the small employer carrier reinsurance program are solely the property of the program and must be used exclusively for the operations and obligations of the program. Money collected by the program is not subject to legislative appropriation."
Section 3. Repealer. Sections 33-22-1818 and 33-22-1819, MCA, are repealed.
Section 4. Effective dates. (1) [Section 2 and this section] are effective on passage and approval.
(2) [Sections 1 and 3] are effective July 1, 2001.
- END -
Latest Version of SB 347 (SB0347.ENR)
Processed for the Web on April 1, 1999 (10:18AM)
New language in a bill appears underlined, deleted material appears stricken.
Sponsor names are handwritten on introduced bills, hence do not appear on the bill until it is reprinted. See the status of the bill for the bill's primary sponsor.
Status of this Bill | 1999 Session | Leg. Branch Home
This bill in WP 5.1 | All versions of all bills in WP 5.1
Prepared by Montana Legislative Services