1997 Regular Session
By: Representatives Stevens, Montgomery
House Bill 1201
(As Passed the House)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 83-63-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE DEFINITION OF A SMALL EMPLOYER FOR PURPOSES OF QUALIFYING FOR A SMALL EMPLOYER HEALTH BENEFIT PLAN; TO CREATE A NEW SECTION TO BE CODIFIED AS SECTION 83-63-6, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT SMALL EMPLOYER CARRIERS SHALL ISSUE HEALTH BENEFIT PLANS TO ANY SMALL EMPLOYER WHO MEETS CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS; TO AUTHORIZE THE COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE TO ESTABLISH AND UTILIZE RULES AND REGULATIONS TO ENFORCE THE FEDERAL "HEALTH INSURANCE PORTABILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACT OF 1996"; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 83-63-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
83-63-3. For purposes of this chapter, the following terms are defined as follows:
(a) "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 Section 83-63-7, 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.
(b) "Base premium rate" means for each class of business as to a rating period, the lowest premium rate charged or which 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.
(c) "Carrier" means any entity that provides health insurance in this state such as an insurance company; a prepaid hospital or medical service plan; a nonprofit hospital, medical and surgical service corporation; a health maintenance organization; a fully insured multiple employer welfare arrangement; or any other entity providing a plan of health insurance subject to state insurance regulation.
(d) "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, but claim experience, health status and duration of coverage are not case characteristics for the purposes of this chapter.
(e) "Class of business" means all or a separate grouping of small employers established pursuant to Section 83-63-5.
(f) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Insurance.
(g) "Eligible employee" means an employee who works on a full-time basis and has a normal work week of thirty-two (32) or more hours. 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, but does not include an employee who works on a part-time, temporary or substitute basis.
(h) "Established geographic service area" means a geographical 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.
(i) "Health benefit plan" or "plan" means any hospital or medical policy or certificate, hospital or medical service plan contract, or health maintenance organization subscriber contract. Health benefit plan does not include accident-only, specified disease, credit, dental, vision, Medicare supplement, long-term care, or disability income insurance; coverage issued as a supplement to liability insurance; workers' compensation or similar insurance; or automobile medical-payment insurance.
(j) "Index rate" means for each class of business for small employees with similar case characteristics, the arithmetic average of the applicable base premium rate and the corresponding highest premium rate.
(k) "New business premium rate" means for each class of business as to a rating period, the premium rate 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.
(l) "Rating period" means the calendar period for which premium rates established by a small employer carrier are assumed to be in effect.
(m) "Small employer" means any person, firm, corporation, partnership or association actively engaged in business which, on at least fifty percent (50%) of its working days during the preceding year, employed no more than fifty (50) eligible employees. In determining the number of eligible employees, companies which are affiliated companies or which are eligible to file a combined tax return for purposes of state taxation shall be considered one (1) employer.
(n) "Small employer carrier" means any carrier which offers health benefit plans covering eligible employees of one or more small employers in this state.
SECTION 2. The following section shall be codified as Section 83-63-6, Mississippi Code of 1972:
83-63-6. Any small employer carrier shall issue any health benefit plan to any small employer that applies for the plan and agrees to make the required premium payments and to satisfy the other reasonable provisions of the health benefit plan not inconsistent with this chapter. However, no carrier is required to issue a health benefit plan to a self-employed individual who is covered by, or is eligible for coverage under, a health benefit plan offered by an employer.
SECTION 3. The Commissioner of Insurance may make use of any of the powers established under the insurance laws and regulations of this state to enforce the federal "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996." The commissioner may establish and, from time to time, amend the rules and regulations relating to the enforcement of and compliance with the "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996."
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.