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Legal Resources | Health and Safety Code |  HS  1389.25  

Health Care Coverage; Premium Rate Change   

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(a) (1) This section shall apply only to a full service health care service plan offering health coverage in the individual market in California and shall not apply to a specialized health care service plan, a health care service plan contract in the Medi-Cal program (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 14000) of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code), a health care service plan conversion contract offered pursuant to Section 1373.6, a health care service plan contract in the Healthy Families Program (Part 6.2 (commencing with Section 12693) of Division 2 of the Insurance Code), or a health care service plan contract offered to a federally eligible defined individual under Article 4.6 (commencing with Section 1366.35).

(2) A local initiative, as defined in subdivision (w) of Section 53810 of Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations, that is awarded a contract by the State Department of Health Care Services pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 53800 of Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations, shall not be subject to this section unless the plan offers coverage in the individual market to persons not covered by Medi-Cal or the Healthy Families Program.

(b) (1) No change in the premium rate or coverage for an individual plan contract shall become effective unless the plan has provided a written notice of the change at least 10 days prior to the start of the annual enrollment period applicable to the contract or 60 days prior to the effective date of the contract renewal, whichever occurs earlier in the calendar year.

(2) The written notice required pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be provided to the individual contractholder at his or her last address known to the plan. The notice shall state in italics and in 12-point type the actual dollar amount of the premium rate increase and the specific percentage by which the current premium will be increased. The notice shall describe in plain, understandable English any changes in the plan design or any changes in benefits, including a reduction in benefits or changes to waivers, exclusions, or conditions, and highlight this information by printing it in italics. The notice shall specify in a minimum of 10-point bold typeface, the reason for a premium rate change or a change to the plan design or benefits.

(c) (1) If the department determines that a rate is unreasonable or not justified consistent with Article 6.2 (commencing with Section 1385.01), the plan shall notify the contractholder of this determination. This notification may be included in the notice required in subdivision (b). The notification to the contractholder shall be developed by the department. The development of the notification required under this subdivision 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).

(2) The notification to the contractholder shall include the following statements in 14-point type:

(A) The Department of Managed Health Care has determined that the rate for this product is unreasonable or not justified after reviewing information submitted to it by the plan.

(B) During the open enrollment period, the contractholder has the option to obtain other coverage from this plan or another plan, or to keep this coverage.

(C) The contractholder may want to contact Covered California at www.coveredca.com for help in understanding available options.

(D) Many Californians are eligible for financial assistance from Covered California to help pay for coverage.

(3) The plan may include in the notification to the contractholder the Internet Web site address at which the plan's final justification for implementing an increase that has been determined to be unreasonable by the director may be found pursuant to Section 154.230 of Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(4) The notice shall also be provided to the solicitor for the contractholder, if any, so that the solicitor may assist the purchaser in finding other coverage.

(5) In developing the notification, the department shall take into consideration that this notice is required to be provided to an individual applicant pursuant to subdivision (g) of Section 1385.03.

(d) If a plan rejects a dependent of a subscriber applying to be added to the subscriber's individual grandfathered health plan, rejects an applicant for a Medicare supplement plan contract due to the applicant having end-stage renal disease, or offers an individual grandfathered health plan to an applicant at a rate that is higher than the standard rate, the plan shall inform the applicant about the California Major Risk Medical Insurance Program (MRMIP) (Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 15870) of Part 3.3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code) and about the new coverage options and the potential for subsidized coverage through Covered California. The plan shall direct persons seeking more information to MRMIP, Covered California, plan or policy representatives, insurance agents, or an entity paid by Covered California to assist with health coverage enrollment, such as a navigator or an assister.

(e) A notice provided pursuant to this section is a private and confidential communication and, at the time of application, the plan shall give the individual applicant the opportunity to designate the address for receipt of the written notice in order to protect the confidentiality of any personal or privileged information.

(f) For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) "Covered California" means the California Health Benefit Exchange established pursuant to Section 100500 of the Government Code.

(2) "Grandfathered health plan" has the same meaning as that term is defined in Section 1251 of PPACA.

(3) "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 pursuant to that law.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 498, Sec. 5.)