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SB-718 Health care coverage: small employer groups.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 05/05/2021 09:00 PM
SB718:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  May 05, 2021
Amended  IN  Senate  March 09, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 718


Introduced by Senator Bates

February 19, 2021


An act to amend Section 1357.503 of the Health and Safety Code, and to amend Section 10753.05 of the Insurance Code, relating to health care coverage.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 718, as amended, Bates. Health care coverage: small employer groups.
Existing law, 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. Existing law provides for the regulation of individual, small employer, grandfathered small employer, and nongrandfathered small employer health care service plan contracts and health insurance policies, as defined.
Existing federal law, the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), authorizes multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs) in which 2 or more employers join together to provide health care coverage for employees or to their beneficiaries. Under existing state law, the status of each distinct member of an association determines whether that member’s association coverage is individual, small group, or large group health coverage.
This bill would authorize an association of employers to offer a large group health care service plan contract or large group health insurance policy to small group employer members of the association consistent with ERISA if certain requirements are met, including that the large group health care service plan contract or large group health insurance policy has been in continuous existence association is the sponsor of a MEWA that has offered a large group health care service plan contract since January 1, 2012, as in connection with an employee welfare benefit plan under ERISA, has consistently provided provides a specified level of coverage, and includes coverage for common law employees, and their dependents, who are employed by an association member in the biomedical industry with operations in California. The bill would also require the association to be an organization with business and organizational purposes unrelated to the provision of health care benefits and would require the participating employers to have a commonality of interests from being in the same industry, as specified. The bill would require the large group health care service plan contract or health insurance policy to be treated as a single-risk-rated contract or policy that would not condition premium rates or eligibility on health status, as prescribed. The bill would require the association and the MEWA to file applications for registration with the appropriate department on or before June 1, 2022, and would impose specified coverage restrictions on an association and MEWA that fail to register or comply with the annual filing requirements imposed by the bill.
The bill would prohibit a health care service plan or health insurer, on and after June 1, 2022, from marketing, issuing, amending, renewing, or delivering large employer health care service plan or health insurance coverage to any association or MEWA that provides a benefit to a resident in this state unless the association and MEWA have registered and are in compliance with the requirements described above. The bill would authorize the Department of Managed Health Care and the Department of Insurance to issue guidance to health care service plans and health insurers regarding these requirements, as specified. Because a violation of this prohibition by a health care service plan would be a crime, the bill would create a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NOYES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 1357.503 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:

1357.503.
 (a) (1) Each plan shall fairly and affirmatively offer, market, and sell all of the plan’s small employer health care service plan contracts to all small employers in each service area in which the plan provides or arranges for the provision of health care services.
(2) Each 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.
(A) Health coverage through an association that is not related to employment shall be considered individual coverage. The status of each distinct member of an association shall determine whether that member’s association coverage is individual, small group, or large group health coverage.
(B) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), an association of employers may offer a large group health care service plan contract to small group employer members of the association, consistent with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-406) (ERISA), as amended (29 U.S.C. Sec. 1001 et seq.), if all of the following requirements are met:
(i) The association is headquartered in this state, was established prior to March 23, 2010, has been in continuous existence since that date, and is a bona fide association or group of employers that may act as an employer under Section 3(5) of ERISA (29 U.S.C. Sec. 1002(5)). The association is the sponsor of a multiple employer welfare arrangement (MEWA), as defined under Section 3(40) of ERISA (29 U.S.C. Sec. 1002(40)).
(ii) The MEWA is fully insured as described in Section 514 of ERISA (29 U.S.C. Sec. 1144), is headquartered in California, and is in full compliance with all applicable state and federal laws.

(i)

(iii) The MEWA has offered a large group health care service plan contract has been in continuous existence since January 1, 2012, as in connection with an employee welfare benefit plan under Section 3(1) of ERISA (29 U.S.C. Sec. 1002(1)).

(ii)

(iv) The large group health care service plan offers to employees a level of coverage having an actuarial value or equivalent to to, or greater than, the platinum level of coverage pursuant to Section 1367.009 available through the California Health Benefit Exchange established pursuant to Section 100500 of the Government Code. Code and provides coverage for essential health benefits consistent with Section 1367.005 and any rules or regulations pursuant to that section.

(iii)

(v) The large group health care service plan includes coverage of common law employees, and their dependents, who are employed by an association member in the biomedical industry and whose employer has operations in California.

(iv)

(vi) The large group health care service plan offers only fully insured benefits through an insurance contract with an insurance carrier licensed by the Department of Insurance or with a health maintenance organization a health care service plan licensed by the Department of Managed Health Care.

(v)

(vii) Association members purchasing health coverage have a minimum of four full-time common law employees and are current employer members of the association sponsoring the plan. MEWA. Employer members of the association subsidize employee premiums by at least 51 percent.

(vi)

(viii) The association is an organization with business and organizational purposes unrelated to the provision of health care benefits and existed prior to the establishment of the large group health care service MEWA offering the employee welfare benefit plan.

(vii)

(ix) The participating member employers have a commonality of interests from being in the same industry, unrelated to the provision of health care benefits.

(viii)The participating

(x) Membership in the association is open solely to employers, and the participating member employers, either directly or indirectly, exercise control over the employee welfare benefit plan, the MEWA, and the large group health care service plan contract, both in form and substance.
(xi) The large group health care service plan contract is treated as a single-risk-rated contract that is guaranteed issued and renewable for member employers, as well as their employees and dependents. An employee or dependent is not charged premium rates based on health status and is not excluded from coverage based upon any preexisting condition. Employee and dependent eligibility are not directly or indirectly based on health status or claims of any person. An employer otherwise eligible is not excluded from participating in a MEWA, or offering or renewing the large group health care service plan contract based on health status or claims of any employee or dependent.
(xii) The MEWA at all times covers at least 101 employees.
(xiii) The association and the MEWA file applications for registration with the department on or before June 1, 2022.
(I) An association and MEWA that timely register with the department prior to June 1, 2022, and that are found to be in compliance with this subparagraph, shall annually file evidence of ongoing compliance with this subparagraph with the department, in a form and manner set forth by the department.
(II) Except as provided in clause (iii) of subparagraph (C), an association and MEWA that do not meet the requirements of subclause (I) shall be subject to the restrictions provided in subparagraph (A).
(III) An association and MEWA that have registered with the department and fail to show ongoing compliance in their annual filing shall be subject to the restrictions in subparagraph (A).
(C) (i) On or after June 1, 2022, a health care service plan shall not market, issue, amend, renew, or deliver large employer health care service plan coverage to any association or MEWA that provides any benefit to a resident in this state unless the association and MEWA has registered with the department and is found to be in compliance with the requirements set forth in subparagraph (B). The department shall have the authority to determine compliance with the requirements set forth in subparagraph (B).
(ii) The department may issue guidance to health care service plans, associations, and MEWAs regarding registration and compliance with subparagraph (B). The guidance shall not be subject to the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code).
(iii) Subparagraph (B) does not apply to, or in any way affect, a self-funded or partially self-funded multiple employer welfare arrangement subject to Article 4.7 (commencing with Section 742.20) of Chapter 1 of Part 2 of Division 1 of the Insurance Code.
(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 of Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Each 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 both of the following:
(1) The special enrollment period described in paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) of Section 1399.849.
(2) 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) A plan or solicitor shall not 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 the person 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) A plan or solicitor shall not, 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.
(H) Disability.
(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 the applicant’s 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 program established for the state pursuant to Section 1343 of PPACA and Exchange user fees, as described in subdivision (d) of Section 156.80 of Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The premium rate for all of the nongrandfathered small employer health benefit plans within the single risk pool required under paragraph (1) shall use the applicable marketwide adjusted index rate, 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.

SEC. 2.

 Section 10753.05 of the Insurance Code is amended to read:

10753.05.
 (a) A group or individual policy or contract or certificate of group insurance or statement of group coverage providing benefits to employees of small employers as defined in this chapter shall not be issued or delivered by a carrier subject to the jurisdiction of the commissioner regardless of the situs of the contract or master policyholder or of the domicile of the carrier nor, except as otherwise provided in Sections 10270.91 and 10270.92, shall a carrier provide coverage subject to this chapter until a copy of the form of the policy, contract, certificate, or statement of coverage is filed with and approved by the commissioner in accordance with Sections 10290 and 10291, and the carrier has complied with the requirements of Section 10753.17.
(b) (1) Each carrier shall fairly and affirmatively offer, market, and sell all of the carrier’s health benefit plans that are sold to, offered through, or sponsored by, small employers or associations that include small employers for plan years on or after January 1, 2014, to all small employers in each geographic region in which the carrier makes coverage available or provides benefits.
(2) A carrier that offers qualified health plans through the Exchange shall be deemed to be in compliance with paragraph (1) with respect to health benefit plans offered through the Exchange in those geographic regions in which the carrier offers plans through the Exchange.
(3) A carrier shall provide enrollment periods consistent with PPACA and described in Section 155.725 of Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Commencing January 1, 2014, a carrier shall provide special enrollment periods consistent with the special enrollment periods described in Section 10965.3, to the extent permitted by PPACA, except for both of the following:
(A) The special enrollment period described in paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) of Section 10965.3.
(B) 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 health benefit plans offered through the Exchange.
(4) This section does not require an association, or a trust established and maintained by an association to receive a master insurance policy issued by an admitted insurer and to administer the benefits thereof solely for association members, to offer, market, or sell a benefit plan design to those who are not members of the association. However, if the association markets, offers, or sells a benefit plan design to those who are not members of the association it is subject to the requirements of this section. This section applies to an association that otherwise meets the requirements of paragraph (8) formed by merger of two or more associations after January 1, 1992, if the predecessor organizations had been in active existence on January 1, 1992, and for at least five years prior to that date and met the requirements of paragraph (5).
(5) A carrier which (A) effective January 1, 1992, and at least 20 years prior to that date, markets, offers, or sells benefit plan designs only to all members of one association and (B) does not market, offer, or sell any other individual, selected group, or group policy or contract providing medical, hospital, and surgical benefits shall not be required to market, offer, or sell to those who are not members of the association. However, if the carrier markets, offers, or sells any benefit plan design or any other individual, selected group, or group policy or contract providing medical, hospital, and surgical benefits to those who are not members of the association it is subject to the requirements of this section.
(6) Each carrier that sells health benefit plans to members of one association pursuant to paragraph (5) shall submit an annual statement to the commissioner which states that the carrier is selling health benefit plans pursuant to paragraph (5) and which, for the one association, lists all the information required by paragraph (7).
(7) Each carrier that sells health benefit plans to members of any association shall submit an annual statement to the commissioner which lists each association to which the carrier sells health benefit plans, the industry or profession which is served by the association, the association’s membership criteria, a list of officers, the state in which the association is organized, and the site of its principal office.
(8) For purposes of paragraphs (4) and (6), an association is a nonprofit organization comprised of a group of individuals or employers who associate based solely on participation in a specified profession or industry, accepting for membership any individual or small employer meeting its membership criteria, which do not condition membership directly or indirectly on the health or claims history of any person, which uses membership dues solely for and in consideration of the membership and membership benefits, except that the amount of the dues shall not depend on whether the member applies for or purchases insurance offered by the association, which is organized and maintained in good faith for purposes unrelated to insurance, which has been in active existence on January 1, 1992, and at least five years prior to that date, which has a constitution and bylaws, or other analogous governing documents which provide for election of the governing board of the association by its members, which has contracted with one or more carriers to offer one or more health benefit plans to all individual members and small employer members in this state.
(A) Health coverage through an association that is not related to employment shall be considered individual coverage. The status of each distinct member of an association shall determine whether that member’s association coverage is individual, small group, or large group health insurance coverage.
(B) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), an association of employers may offer a large group health insurance policy to small group employer members of the association, consistent with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-406) (ERISA), as amended (29 U.S.C. Sec. 1001 et seq.), if all of the following requirements are met:
(i) The association is headquartered in this state, was established prior to March 23, 2010, has been in continuous existence since that date, and is a bona fide association or group of employers under ERISA that may act as an employer under Section 3(5) of ERISA (29 U.S.C. Sec. 1002(5)). The association is the sponsor of a multiple employer welfare arrangement (MEWA) as defined under Section 3(40) of ERISA (29 U.S.C. Sec. 1002(40)).
(ii) The MEWA is fully insured as described in Section 514 of ERISA (29 U.S.C. Sec. 1144), is headquartered in California, and is in full compliance with all applicable state and federal laws.

(i)

(iii) The MEWA has offered a large group health insurance policy has been in continuous existence since January 1, 2012, as in connection with an employee welfare benefit plan under Section 3(1) of ERISA (29 U.S.C. Sec. 1002(1)).

(ii)

(iv) The large group health insurance policy offers to employees a level of coverage having an actuarial value or equivalent to to, or greater than, the platinum level of coverage pursuant to Section 10112.297 available through the California Health Benefit Exchange established pursuant to Section 100500 of the Government Code. Code, and provides coverage for essential health benefits consistent with Section 10112.27 and Article 22 (commencing with Section 2594) of Subchapter 3 of Chapter 5 of Title 10 of the California Code of Regulations.

(iii)

(v) The large group health insurance policy includes coverage of common law employees, and their dependents, who are employed by an association member in the biomedical industry and whose employer has operations in California.

(iv)

(vi) The large group health insurance policy offers only fully insured benefits through an insurance contract with an insurance carrier licensed by the department or with a health maintenance organization a health insurance policy with a health insurer that is licensed by the Department of Managed Health Care. department.

(v)Association

(vii) The association members purchasing health coverage have a minimum of four full-time common law employees and are current employer members of the association sponsoring the policy. MEWA. Employer members of the association subsidize employee premium by at least 51 percent.

(vi)

(viii) The association is an organization with business and organizational purposes unrelated to the provision of health care benefits and existed prior to the establishment of the large group health insurance policy. MEWA offering the employee welfare benefit plan.

(vii)

(ix) The participating member employers have a commonality of interests from being in the same industry, unrelated to the provision of health care benefits.

(viii)The participating employers,

(x) Membership in the association is open solely to employers, and the participating member employers, either directly or indirectly, exercise control over the employee welfare benefit plan, the MEWA, and the large group health insurance policy, both in form and substance.
(xi) The large group health insurance policy is treated as a single-risk-rated contract that is guaranteed issued and renewable for member employers, as well as their employees and dependents. An employee or dependent is not charged premium rates based on health status and is not excluded from coverage based upon any preexisting condition. Employee and dependent eligibility are not directly or indirectly based on health status or claims of any person. An employer otherwise eligible for coverage is not excluded from participating in a MEWA, or offering or renewing the large group health insurance policy based on health status or claims of any employee or dependent.
(xii) The MEWA at all times covers at least 101 employees.
(xiii) The association and the MEWA file applications for registration with the department on or before June 1, 2022.
(I) An association and the MEWA that timely register with the department prior to June 1, 2022, and that are found to be in compliance with this subparagraph, shall annually file evidence of ongoing compliance with this subparagraph with the department, in a form and manner set forth by the department.
(II) Except as provided in clause (iii) of subparagraph (C), an association and MEWA that do not meet the requirements of subclause (I) shall be subject to the restrictions in subparagraph (A).
(III) An association and MEWA that have registered with the department and fail to show ongoing compliance in its annual filing shall be subject to the restrictions in subparagraph (A).
(C) (i) On or after June 1, 2022, an insurer shall not market, issue, amend, renew, or deliver large employer health insurance coverage to any association or MEWA that provides any benefit to a resident in this state unless the association and MEWA have registered with the department and are found to be in compliance with the requirements set forth in subparagraph (B). The department shall have the authority to determine compliance with the requirements set forth under subparagraph (B).
(ii) The department may issue guidance to health insurers, associations, and MEWAs regarding registration and compliance with subparagraph (B). The guidance shall not be subject to the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code).
(iii) Subparagraph (B) does not apply to, or in any way affect, a self-funded or partially self-funded multiple employer welfare arrangement subject to Article 4.7 (commencing with Section 742.20) of Chapter 1 of Part 2 of Division 1.
(c) Each carrier shall make available to each small employer all health benefit plans that the carrier offers or sells to small employers or to associations that include small employers for plan years on or after January 1, 2014. Notwithstanding subdivision (c) of Section 10753, for purposes of this subdivision, companies that are affiliated companies or that are eligible to file a consolidated income tax return shall be treated as one carrier.
(d) Each carrier shall do all of the following:
(1) Prepare a brochure that summarizes all of its health benefit plans and make this summary available to small employers, agents, and brokers upon request. The summary shall include for each plan information on benefits provided, a generic description of the manner in which services are provided, such as how access to providers is limited, benefit limitations, required copayments and deductibles, and a telephone number that can be called for more detailed benefit information. Carriers are required to keep the information contained in the brochure accurate and up to date, and, upon updating the brochure, send copies to agents and brokers representing the carrier. Any entity that provides administrative services only with regard to a health benefit plan written or issued by another carrier shall not be required to prepare a summary brochure which includes that benefit plan.
(2) For each health benefit plan, prepare a more detailed evidence of coverage and make it available to small employers, agents, and brokers upon request. The evidence of coverage shall contain all information that a prudent buyer would need to be aware of in making selections of benefit plan designs. An entity that provides administrative services only with regard to a health benefit plan written or issued by another carrier shall not be required to prepare an evidence of coverage for that health benefit plan.
(3) Provide copies of the current summary brochure to all agents or brokers who represent the carrier and, upon updating the brochure, send copies of the updated brochure to agents and brokers representing the carrier for the purpose of selling health benefit plans.
(4) Notwithstanding subdivision (c) of Section 10753, for purposes of this subdivision, companies that are affiliated companies or that are eligible to file a consolidated income tax return shall be treated as one carrier.
(e) Every agent or broker representing one or more carriers for the purpose of selling health benefit plans to small employers shall do all of the following:
(1) When providing information on a health benefit plan to a small employer but making no specific recommendations on particular benefit plan designs:
(A) Advise the small employer of the carrier’s obligation to sell to any small employer any of the health benefit plans it offers to small employers, consistent with PPACA, and provide them, upon request, with the actual rates that would be charged to that employer for a given health benefit plan.
(B) Notify the small employer that the agent or broker will procure rate and benefit information for the small employer on any health benefit plan offered by a carrier for whom the agent or broker sells health benefit plans.
(C) Notify the small employer that, upon request, the agent or broker will provide the small employer with the summary brochure required in paragraph (1) of subdivision (d) for any benefit plan design offered by a carrier whom the agent or broker represents.
(D) Notify the small employer of the availability of coverage and the availability of tax credits for certain employers consistent with PPACA and state law, including any rules, regulations, or guidance issued in connection therewith.
(2) When recommending a particular benefit plan design or designs, advise the small employer that, upon request, the agent will provide the small employer with the brochure required by paragraph (1) of subdivision (d) containing the benefit plan design or designs being recommended by the agent or broker.
(3) Prior to filing an application for a small employer for a particular health benefit plan:
(A) For each of the health benefit plans offered by the carrier whose health benefit plan the agent or broker is presenting, provide the small employer with the benefit summary required in paragraph (1) of subdivision (d) and the premium for that particular employer.
(B) Notify the small employer that, upon request, the agent or broker will provide the small employer with an evidence of coverage brochure for each health benefit plan the carrier offers.
(C) Obtain a signed statement from the small employer acknowledging that the small employer has received the disclosures required by this paragraph and Section 10753.16.
(f) A carrier, agent, or broker shall not induce or otherwise encourage a small employer to separate or otherwise exclude an eligible employee from a health benefit plan which, in the case of an eligible employee meeting the definition in paragraph (1) of subdivision (f) of Section 10753, is provided in connection with the employee’s employment or which, in the case of an eligible employee as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (f) of Section 10753, is provided in connection with a guaranteed association.
(g) A carrier shall not reject an application from a small employer for a health benefit plan provided:
(1) The small employer as defined by subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (q) of Section 10753 offers health benefits to 100 percent of its eligible employees as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (f) of Section 10753. 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.
(h) (1) A carrier or agent or broker shall not, directly or indirectly, engage in the following activities:
(A) Encourage or direct small employers to refrain from filing an application for coverage with a carrier because of the health status, claims experience, industry, occupation, or geographic location within the carrier’s approved service area of the small employer or the small employer’s employees.
(B) Encourage or direct small employers to seek coverage from another carrier because of the health status, claims experience, industry, occupation, or geographic location within the carrier’s approved service area of the small employer or the small employer’s employees.
(C) 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 the 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.
(2) This subdivision shall be enforced in the same manner as Section 790.03, including through Sections 790.035 and 790.05.
(i) A carrier shall not, directly or indirectly, enter into any contract, agreement, or arrangement with an agent or broker that provides for or results in the compensation paid to an agent or broker for a health benefit plan to be varied because of the health status, claims experience, industry, occupation, or geographic location of the small employer or the small employer’s employees. This subdivision shall not apply with respect to a compensation arrangement that provides compensation to an agent or broker 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.
(j) (1) A health benefit plan offered to a small employer, as defined in Section 1304(b) of PPACA and in Section 10753, shall not establish rules for eligibility, including continued eligibility, of an individual, or dependent of an individual, to enroll under the terms of the plan 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.
(H) Disability.
(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 10291.5, a carrier shall not require an eligible employee or dependent to fill out a health assessment or medical questionnaire prior to enrollment under a health benefit plan. A carrier shall not acquire or request information that relates to a health status-related factor from the applicant or the applicant’s dependent or any other source prior to enrollment of the individual.
(k) (1) A carrier shall consider as a single risk pool for rating purposes in the small employer market the claims experience of all insureds in all nongrandfathered small employer health benefit plans offered by the carrier 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 carrier outside of the Exchange.
(2) At least each calendar year, and no more frequently than each calendar quarter, a carrier 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 10112.27, 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 program established for the state pursuant to Section 1343 of PPACA and Exchange user fees, as described in subdivision (d) of Section 156.80 of Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The premium rate for all of the nongrandfathered health benefit plans within the single risk pool required under paragraph (1) shall use the applicable marketwide adjusted index rate, subject only to the adjustments permitted under paragraph (3).
(3) A carrier may vary premium rates for a particular nongrandfathered health benefit plan from its index rate based only on the following actuarially justified plan-specific factors:
(A) The actuarial value and cost-sharing design of the health benefit plan.
(B) The health benefit plan’s provider network, delivery system characteristics, and utilization management practices.
(C) The benefits provided under the health benefit plan 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 health benefit plans that offer those benefits in addition to essential health benefits.
(D) Administrative costs, excluding any user fees required by the Exchange.
(E) 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.
(l) If a carrier enters into a contract, agreement, or other arrangement with a third-party administrator or other entity to provide administrative, marketing, or other services related to the offering of health benefit plans to small employers in this state, the third-party administrator shall be subject to this chapter.
(m) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), this section shall become inoperative 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, in which case, 12 months after the repeal, carriers subject to this section shall instead be governed by Section 10705 to the extent permitted by federal law, and all references in this chapter to this section shall instead refer to Section 10705, except for purposes of paragraph (2).
(2) Paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) shall remain operative as it relates to health benefit plans offered through the Exchange.

SEC. 3.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.