Section 34 (Part 2): Carriers Required To Offer Plan to Small Group Purchasing Cooperative

(a) As a condition of continued offer of small group health, a carrier that, as of the close of a preceding calendar year, has a combined total of at least 5,000 eligible individuals, eligible employees and eligible dependents who are enrolled in health benefit plans sold, issued, delivered, made effective or renewed to qualified small businesses or eligible individuals shall be annually required to file a plan with each group purchasing cooperative for its consideration if a group purchasing cooperative requests such health plan proposals for its next plan year.

(b) Health benefit plans offered by carriers to group purchasing cooperatives shall:

(i) include all state-mandated benefits;

(ii) apply preexisting condition limitations and waiting periods in the same manner as the carrier applies them to small group products offered outside the group purchasing cooperative;

(iii) apply open enrollment periods for individuals in the same manner as the carrier applies them for individuals outside the group purchasing cooperative, provided, however that small business group purchasing cooperatives shall establish rules and open enrollment periods for qualified association members to enter or exit group purchasing cooperatives;

(iv) apply continuation of coverage provisions in the same manner as the carrier applies those provisions to small group products offered outside the group purchasing cooperative;

(v) apply managed care practices in the same manner as the carrier applies those practices to small group products offered outside the group purchasing cooperative; and

(vi) apply rating rules, including rating bands, rating factors and the value of rating factors, in the same manner as the carrier applies those rules to small group products offered outside the group purchasing cooperative; provided, that such plans may make limited deviations from these rating factors with the prior approval of the commissioner.

(c) Carriers shall comply with a group purchasing cooperative's wellness program's data processing systems to provide information that will enable the group purchasing cooperative to effectively provide guidance to members on targeted wellness programs.

Summary: 
Requires any insurance carrier that has a combined total of at least 5,000 eligible individuals, employees, and dependents, and wishes to continue offering health plans in the individual and small group market, to file a plan with each group purchasing cooperative if the group purchasing cooperative requests such health plan proposal for its next plan year. Any health plan option offered to a cooperative must include all state mandated benefits, and must apply the same preexisting coverage limitations, waiting periods, open enrollment periods and rating rules as applied to small groups outside the cooperative.