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SB-581 Cal-COBRA: disclosures.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 02/17/2017 02:00 PM
SB581:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 581


Introduced by Senator De León

February 17, 2017


An act to amend Section 1366.24 of the Health and Safety Code, and to amend Section 10128.54 of the Insurance Code, relating to health care coverage.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 581, as introduced, De León. Cal-COBRA: disclosures.
The Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act of 1975 provides for the licensure and regulation of health care service plans by the Department of Managed Health Care and makes a willful violation of the act a crime. Existing law also provides for the regulation of health insurers by the Department of Insurance. The California Continuation Benefits Replacement Act (Cal-COBRA) requires health care service plans and health insurers providing coverage under a group benefit plan to employers of 2 to 19 eligible employees to offer a continuation of that coverage for a specified period of time to certain qualified beneficiaries, as specified. Existing law requires a group benefit plan that is subject to Cal-COBRA to make specified disclosures to covered employees, including that a covered employee who is considering declining continuation of coverage should be aware that companies selling individual health insurance may require a review of the employee’s medical history that could result in a higher premium or denial of coverage.
This bill would eliminate the disclosure requirement described above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 1366.24 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:

1366.24.
 (a) Every health care service plan evidence of coverage, provided for group benefit plans subject to this article, that is issued, amended, or renewed on or after January 1, 1999, shall disclose to covered employees of group benefit plans subject to this article the ability to continue coverage pursuant to this article, as required by this section.
(b) This disclosure shall state that all enrollees who are eligible to be qualified beneficiaries, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 1366.21, shall be required, as a condition of receiving benefits pursuant to this article, to notify, in writing, the health care service plan, or the employer if the employer contracts to perform the administrative services as provided for in Section 1366.25, of all qualifying events as specified in paragraphs (1), (3), (4), and (5) of subdivision (d) of Section 1366.21 within 60 days of the date of the qualifying event. This disclosure shall inform enrollees that failure to make the notification to the health care service plan, or to the employer when under contract to provide the administrative services, within the required 60 days will disqualify the qualified beneficiary from receiving continuation coverage pursuant to this article. The disclosure shall further state that a qualified beneficiary who wishes to continue coverage under the group benefit plan pursuant to this article must shall request the continuation in writing and deliver the written request, by first-class mail, or other reliable means of delivery, including personal delivery, express mail, or private courier company, to the health care service plan, or to the employer if the plan has contracted with the employer for administrative services pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 1366.25, within the 60-day period following the later of (1) the date that the enrollee’s coverage under the group benefit plan terminated or will terminate by reason of a qualifying event, or (2) the date the enrollee was sent notice pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 1366.25 of the ability to continue coverage under the group benefit plan. The disclosure required by this section shall also state that a qualified beneficiary electing continuation shall pay to the health care service plan, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the plan contract, which shall be set forth in the notice to the qualified beneficiary pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 1366.25, the amount of the required premium payment, as set forth in Section 1366.26. The disclosure shall further require that the qualified beneficiary’s first premium payment required to establish premium payment be delivered by first-class mail, certified mail, or other reliable means of delivery, including personal delivery, express mail, or private courier company, to the health care service plan, or to the employer if the employer has contracted with the plan to perform the administrative services pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 1366.25, within 45 days of the date the qualified beneficiary provided written notice to the health care service plan or the employer, if the employer has contracted to perform the administrative services, of the election to continue coverage in order for coverage to be continued under this article. This disclosure shall also state that the first premium payment must shall equal an amount sufficient to pay any required premiums and all premiums due, and that failure to submit the correct premium amount within the 45-day period will disqualify the qualified beneficiary from receiving continuation coverage pursuant to this article.
(c) The disclosure required by this section shall also describe separately how qualified beneficiaries whose continuation coverage terminates under a prior group benefit plan pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 1366.27 may continue their coverage for the balance of the period that the qualified beneficiary would have remained covered under the prior group benefit plan, including the requirements for election and payment. The disclosure shall clearly state that continuation coverage shall terminate if the qualified beneficiary fails to comply with the requirements pertaining to enrollment in, and payment of premiums to, the new group benefit plan within 30 days of receiving notice of the termination of the prior group benefit plan.
(d) Prior to August 1, 1998, every health care service plan shall provide to all covered employees of employers subject to this article a written notice containing the disclosures required by this section, or shall provide to all covered employees of employers subject to this section a new or amended evidence of coverage that includes the disclosures required by this section. Any specialized health care service plan that, in the ordinary course of business, maintains only the addresses of employer group purchasers of benefits and does not maintain addresses of covered employees, may comply with the notice requirements of this section through the provision of the notices to its employer group purchasers of benefits.
(e) Every plan disclosure form issued, amended, or renewed on and after January 1, 1999, for a group benefit plan subject to this article shall provide a notice that, under state law, an enrollee may be entitled to continuation of group coverage and that additional information regarding eligibility for this coverage may be found in the plan’s evidence of coverage.

(f)Every disclosure issued, amended, or renewed on and after July 1, 2006, for a group benefit plan subject to this article shall include the following notice:

“Please examine your options carefully before declining this coverage. You should be aware that companies selling individual health insurance typically require a review of your medical history that could result in a higher premium or you could be denied coverage entirely.”

SEC. 2.

 Section 10128.54 of the Insurance Code is amended to read:

10128.54.
 (a) Every insurer’s evidence of coverage for group benefit plans subject to this article, that is issued, amended, or renewed on or after January 1, 1999, shall disclose to covered employees of group benefit plans subject to this article the ability to continue coverage pursuant to this article, as required by this section.
(b) This disclosure shall state that all insureds who are eligible to be qualified beneficiaries, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 10128.51, shall be required, as a condition of receiving benefits pursuant to this article, to notify, in writing, the insurer, or the employer if the employer contracts to perform the administrative services as provided for in Section 10128.55, of all qualifying events as specified in paragraphs (1), (3), (4), and (5) of subdivision (d) of Section 10128.51 within 60 days of the date of the qualifying event. This disclosure shall inform insureds that failure to make the notification to the insurer, or to the employer when under contract to provide the administrative services, within the required 60 days will disqualify the qualified beneficiary from receiving continuation coverage pursuant to this article. The disclosure shall further state that a qualified beneficiary who wishes to continue coverage under the group benefit plan pursuant to this article must shall request the continuation in writing and deliver the written request, by first-class mail, or other reliable means of delivery, including personal delivery, express mail, or private courier company, to the disability insurer, or to the employer if the plan has contracted with the employer for administrative services pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 10128.55, within the 60-day period following the later of (1) the date that the insured’s coverage under the group benefit plan terminated or will terminate by reason of a qualifying event, or (2) the date the insured was sent notice pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 10128.55 of the ability to continue coverage under the group benefit plan. The disclosure required by this section shall also state that a qualified beneficiary electing continuation shall pay to the disability insurer, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the policy or contract, which shall be set forth in the notice to the qualified beneficiary pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 10128.55, the amount of the required premium payment, as set forth in Section 10128.56. The disclosure shall further require that the qualified beneficiary’s first premium payment required to establish premium payment be delivered by first-class mail, certified mail, or other reliable means of delivery, including personal delivery, express mail, or private courier company, to the disability insurer, or to the employer if the employer has contracted with the insurer to perform the administrative services pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 10128.55, within 45 days of the date the qualified beneficiary provided written notice to the insurer or the employer, if the employer has contracted to perform the administrative services, of the election to continue coverage in order for coverage to be continued under this article. This disclosure shall also state that the first premium payment must shall equal an amount sufficient to pay all required premiums and all premiums due, and that failure to submit the correct premium amount within the 45-day period will disqualify the qualified beneficiary from receiving continuation coverage pursuant to this article.
(c) The disclosure required by this section shall also describe separately how qualified beneficiaries whose continuation coverage terminates under a prior group benefit plan pursuant to Section 10128.57 may continue their coverage for the balance of the period that the qualified beneficiary would have remained covered under the prior group benefit plan, including the requirements for election and payment. The disclosure shall clearly state that continuation coverage shall terminate if the qualified beneficiary fails to comply with the requirements pertaining to enrollment in, and payment of premiums to, the new group benefit plan within 30 days of receiving notice of the termination of the prior group benefit plan.
(d) Prior to August 1, 1998, every insurer shall provide to all covered employees of employers subject to this article written notice containing the disclosures required by this section, or shall provide to all covered employees of employers subject to this article a new or amended evidence of coverage that includes the disclosures required by this section. Any insurer that, in the ordinary course of business, maintains only the addresses of employer group purchasers of benefits, and does not maintain addresses of covered employees, may comply with the notice requirements of this section through the provision of the notices to its employer group purchases of benefits.
(e) Every disclosure form issued, amended, or renewed on and after January 1, 1999, for a group benefit plan subject to this article shall provide a notice that, under state law, an insured may be entitled to continuation of group coverage and that additional information regarding eligibility for this coverage may be found in the evidence of coverage.

(f)Every disclosure form issued, amended, or renewed on and after July 1, 2006, for a group benefit plan subject to this article shall include the following notice:

“Please examine your options carefully before declining this coverage. You should be aware that companies selling individual health insurance typically require a review of your medical history that could result in a higher premium or you could be denied coverage entirely.”