Code Section

Health and Safety Code - HSC

DIVISION 2. LICENSING PROVISIONS [1200 - 1797.8]

  ( Division 2 enacted by Stats. 1939, Ch. 60. )
  

CHAPTER 2.2. Health Care Service Plans [1340 - 1399.864]

  ( Chapter 2.2 added by Stats. 1975, Ch. 941. )
  

ARTICLE 3.16. Nongrandfathered Small Employer Plans [1357.500 - 1357.516]
  ( Article 3.16 added by Stats. 2012, Ch. 852, Sec. 3. )

  
1357.500.  

As used in this article, the following definitions shall apply:

(a) “Child” means a child described in Section 22775 of the Government Code and subdivisions (n) to (p), inclusive, of Section 599.500 of Title 2 of the California Code of Regulations.

(b) “Dependent” means the spouse or registered domestic partner, or child, of an eligible employee, subject to applicable terms of the health care service plan contract covering the employee, and includes dependents of guaranteed association members if the association elects to include dependents under its health coverage at the same time it determines its membership composition pursuant to subdivision (m).

(c) “Eligible employee” means either of the following:

(1) Any permanent employee who is actively engaged on a full-time basis in the conduct of the business of the small employer with a normal workweek of an average of 30 hours per week over the course of a month, at the small employer’s regular places of business, who has met any statutorily authorized applicable waiting period requirements. The term does not include sole proprietors or the spouses of those sole proprietors, partners of a partnership or the spouses of those partners, or employees who work on a part-time, temporary, or substitute basis. It includes any eligible employee, as defined in this paragraph, who obtains coverage through a guaranteed association. Employees of employers purchasing through a guaranteed association are eligible employees if they would otherwise meet the definition except for the number of persons employed by the employer. Permanent employees who work at least 20 hours but not more than 29 hours are eligible employees if all four of the following apply:

(A) They otherwise meet the definition of an eligible employee except for the number of hours worked.

(B) The employer offers the employees health coverage under a health benefit plan.

(C) All similarly situated individuals are offered coverage under the health benefit plan.

(D) The employee shall have worked at least 20 hours per normal workweek for at least 50 percent of the weeks in the previous calendar quarter. The health care service plan may request any necessary information to document the hours and time period in question, including, but not limited to, payroll records and employee wage and tax filings.

(2) Any member of a guaranteed association as defined in subdivision (m).

(d) “Exchange” means the California Health Benefit Exchange created by Section 100500 of the Government Code.

(e) “In force business” means an existing health benefit plan contract issued by the plan to a small employer.

(f) “Late enrollee” means an eligible employee or dependent who has declined enrollment in a health benefit plan offered by a small employer at the time of the initial enrollment period provided under the terms of the health benefit plan consistent with the periods provided pursuant to Section 1357.503 and who subsequently requests enrollment in a health benefit plan of that small employer, except where the employee or dependent qualifies for a special enrollment period provided pursuant to Section 1357.503. It also means any member of an association that is a guaranteed association as well as any other person eligible to purchase through the guaranteed association when that person has failed to purchase coverage during the initial enrollment period provided under the terms of the guaranteed association’s plan contract consistent with the periods provided pursuant to Section 1357.503 and who subsequently requests enrollment in the plan, except where that member or person qualifies for a special enrollment period provided pursuant to Section 1357.503.

(g) “New business” means a health care service plan contract issued to a small employer that is not the plan’s in force business.

(h) “Preexisting condition provision” means a contract provision that excludes coverage for charges or expenses incurred during a specified period following the enrollee’s effective date of coverage, as to a condition for which medical advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment was recommended or received during a specified period immediately preceding the effective date of coverage. No health care service plan shall limit or exclude coverage for any individual based on a preexisting condition whether or not any medical advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment was recommended or received before that date.

(i) “Creditable coverage” means:

(1) Any individual or group policy, contract, or program that is written or administered by a disability insurer, health care service plan, fraternal benefits society, self-insured employer plan, or any other entity, in this state or elsewhere, and that arranges or provides medical, hospital, and surgical coverage not designed to supplement other private or governmental plans. The term includes continuation or conversion coverage but does not include accident only, credit, coverage for onsite medical clinics, disability income, Medicare supplement, long-term care, dental, vision, coverage issued as a supplement to liability insurance, insurance arising out of a workers’ compensation or similar law, automobile medical payment insurance, or insurance under which benefits are payable with or without regard to fault and that is statutorily required to be contained in any liability insurance policy or equivalent self-insurance.

(2) The Medicare Program pursuant to Title XVIII of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1395 et seq.).

(3) The Medicaid program pursuant to Title XIX of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1396 et seq.).

(4) Any other publicly sponsored program, provided in this state or elsewhere, of medical, hospital, and surgical care.

(5) Chapter 55 (commencing with Section 1071) of Title 10 of the United States Code (Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS)).

(6) A medical care program of the Indian Health Service or of a tribal organization.

(7) A health plan offered under Chapter 89 (commencing with Section 8901) of Title 5 of the United States Code (Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP)).

(8) A public health plan as defined in federal regulations authorized by Section 2701(c)(1)(I) of the federal Public Health Service Act, as amended by Public Law 104-191, the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

(9) A health benefit plan under Section 5(e) of the federal Peace Corps Act (22 U.S.C. Sec. 2504(e)).

(10) Any other creditable coverage as defined by subsection (c) of Section 2704 of Title XXVII of the federal Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 300gg-3(c)).

(j) “Rating period” means the period for which premium rates established by a plan are in effect and shall be no less than 12 months from the date of issuance or renewal of the plan contract.

(k) (1) “Small employer” means any of the following:

(A) For plan years commencing on or after January 1, 2014, and on or before December 31, 2015, any person, firm, proprietary or nonprofit corporation, partnership, public agency, or association that is actively engaged in business or service, that, on at least 50 percent of its working days during the preceding calendar quarter or preceding calendar year, employed at least one, but no more than 50, eligible employees, the majority of whom were employed within this state, that was not formed primarily for purposes of buying health care service plan contracts, and in which a bona fide employer-employee relationship exists. For plan years commencing on or after January 1, 2016, any person, firm, proprietary or nonprofit corporation, partnership, public agency, or association that is actively engaged in business or service, that, on at least 50 percent of its working days during the preceding calendar quarter or preceding calendar year, employed at least one, but no more than 100, employees, the majority of whom were employed within this state, that was not formed primarily for purposes of buying health care service plan contracts, and in which a bona fide employer-employee relationship exists. In determining whether to apply the calendar quarter or calendar year test, a health care service plan shall use the test that ensures eligibility if only one test would establish eligibility. In determining the number of employees or eligible employees, companies that are affiliated companies and that are eligible to file a combined tax return for purposes of state taxation shall be considered one employer. Subsequent to the issuance of a health care service plan contract to a small employer pursuant to this article, and for the purpose of determining eligibility, the size of a small employer shall be determined annually. Except as otherwise specifically provided in this article, provisions of this article that apply to a small employer shall continue to apply until the plan contract anniversary following the date the employer no longer meets the requirements of this definition. It includes any small employer as defined in this paragraph who purchases coverage through a guaranteed association, any employer purchasing coverage for employees through a guaranteed association, and any small employer as defined in this paragraph who purchases coverage through any arrangement.

(B) Any guaranteed association, as defined in subdivision (l), that purchases health coverage for members of the association.

(2) For plan years commencing on or after January 1, 2019, for purposes of determining whether an employer has one employee, sole proprietors and their spouses, and partners of a partnership and their spouses, are not employees.

(3) For plan years commencing on or after January 1, 2016, the definition of small employer, for purposes of determining employer eligibility in the small employer market, shall be determined using the method for counting full-time employees and full-time equivalent employees set forth in Section 4980H(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code.

(l) “Guaranteed association” means 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 employer meeting its membership criteria, and that (1) includes one or more small employers as defined in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (k), (2) does not condition membership directly or indirectly on the health or claims history of any person, (3) 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 to the association, (4) is organized and maintained in good faith for purposes unrelated to insurance, (5) has been in active existence on January 1, 1992, and for at least five years prior to that date, (6) has included health insurance as a membership benefit for at least five years prior to January 1, 1992, (7) has a constitution and bylaws, or other analogous governing documents that provide for election of the governing board of the association by its members, (8) offers any plan contract that is purchased to all individual members and employer members in this state, (9) includes any member choosing to enroll in the plan contracts offered to the association provided that the member has agreed to make the required premium payments, and (10) covers at least 1,000 persons with the health care service plan with which it contracts. The requirement of 1,000 persons may be met if component chapters of a statewide association contracting separately with the same carrier cover at least 1,000 persons in the aggregate.

This subdivision applies regardless of whether a contract issued by a plan is with an association, or a trust formed for or sponsored by an association, to administer benefits for association members.

For purposes of this subdivision, an association formed by a merger of two or more associations after January 1, 1992, and otherwise meeting the criteria of this subdivision shall be deemed to have been in active existence on January 1, 1992, if its predecessor organizations had been in active existence on January 1, 1992, and for at least five years prior to that date and otherwise met the criteria of this subdivision.

(m) “Members of a guaranteed association” means any individual or employer meeting the association’s membership criteria if that person is a member of the association and chooses to purchase health coverage through the association. At the association’s discretion, it also may include employees of association members, association staff, retired members, retired employees of members, and surviving spouses and dependents of deceased members. However, if an association chooses to include these persons as members of the guaranteed association, the association shall make that election in advance of purchasing a plan contract. Health care service plans may require an association to adhere to the membership composition it selects for up to 12 months.

(n) “Affiliation period” means a period that, under the terms of the health care service plan contract, must expire before health care services under the contract become effective.

(o) “Grandfathered health plan” has the meaning set forth in Section 1251 of PPACA.

(p) “Nongrandfathered small employer health care service plan contract” means a small employer health care service plan contract that is not a grandfathered health plan.

(q) “Plan year” has the meaning set forth in Section 144.103 of Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(r) “PPACA” means the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148), as amended by the federal Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-152), and any rules, regulations, or guidance issued thereunder.

(s) “Small employer health care service plan contract” means a health care service plan contract issued to a small employer.

(t) “Waiting period” means a period that is required to pass with respect to an employee before the employee is eligible to be covered for benefits under the terms of the contract.

(u) “Registered domestic partner” means a person who has established a domestic partnership as described in Section 297 of the Family Code.

(v) “Family” means the subscriber and his or her dependent or dependents.

(w) “Health benefit plan” means a health care service plan contract that provides medical, hospital, and surgical benefits for the covered eligible employees of a small employer and their dependents. The term does not include coverage of Medicare services pursuant to contracts with the United States government, Medicare supplement coverage, or coverage under a specialized health care service plan contract.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 700, Sec. 2. (SB 1375) Effective January 1, 2019.)