Health Care Coverage; Premium Rate Change; Notice
(a) (1) A change in premium rates or changes in coverage stated in a group health care service plan contract shall not become effective unless the plan has delivered in writing a notice indicating the change or changes at least 60 days prior to the contract renewal effective date.
(2) The notice delivered pursuant to paragraph (1) for large group health plans shall also include the following information:
(A) Whether the rate proposed to be in effect is greater than the average rate increase for individual market products negotiated by the California Health Benefit Exchange for the most recent calendar year for which the rates are final.
(B) Whether the rate proposed to be in effect is greater than the average rate increase negotiated by the Board of Administration of the Public Employees' Retirement System for the most recent calendar year for which the rates are final.
(C) Whether the rate change includes any portion of the excise tax paid by the health plan.
(b) A health care service plan that declines to offer coverage to or denies enrollment for a large group applying for coverage shall, at the time of the denial of coverage, provide the applicant with the specific reason or reasons for the decision in writing, in clear, easily understandable language.
(c) (1) For small group health care service plan contracts, 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 (a).
(2) The notification to the contractholder shall be developed by the department and 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) The contractholder has the option to obtain other coverage from this plan or another plan, or to keep this coverage.
(C) Small business purchasers may want to contact Covered California at www.coveredca.com for help in understanding available options.
(3) In developing the notification, the department shall take into consideration that this notice is required to be provided to a small group applicant pursuant to subdivision (g) of Section 1385.03.
(4) 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).
(5) 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.
(6) 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.
(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 498, Sec. 1.)