Section 7A. There shall be in the division of insurance a health care access bureau overseen by a deputy commissioner for health care access, whose duties shall include, subject to the direction of the commissioner of insurance, administration of the division’s statutory and regulatory authority for oversight of the small group and individual health insurance market, oversight of affordable health plans, including coverage for young adults, as well as the dissemination of appropriate information to consumers about health insurance coverage and access to affordable products. The commissioner shall appoint at least the following employees of the health care access bureau: a deputy commissioner for health access, a health care finance expert, an actuary, and a research analyst. They shall devote their full time to the duties of their office, shall be exempt from chapters 30 and 31, and shall serve at the pleasure of the commissioner. The commissioner may appoint such other employees as the bureau may require.
The commissioner may make and collect an assessment against the carriers licensed under chapters 175, 176A, 176B and 176G to pay for the expenses of the bureau. The assessment shall be at a rate sufficient to produce $600,000 annually. In addition to that amount, the assessment shall include an amount to be credited to the General Fund which shall be equal to the total amount of funds estimated by the secretary for administration and finance to be expended from the General Fund for indirect and fringe benefit costs attributable to the personnel costs of the bureau. If the commissioner fails to expend for the costs and expenses of the bureau in a fiscal year the total amount of $600,000 for the purposes set forth in this section, any amount unexpended in that fiscal year shall be credited against the assessment to be made in the following fiscal year, and the assessment in the following fiscal year shall be reduced by that unexpended amount. The assessment shall be allocated on a fair and reasonable basis among all carriers licensed under said chapters 175, 176A, 176B and 176G. The funds produced by the assessments shall be expended by the division, in addition to any other funds which may be appropriated, to assist in defraying the general operating expenses of the bureau, and may be used to compensate consultants retained by the bureau. A carrier licensed under said chapters 175, 176A, 176B and 176G shall pay the amount assessed against it within 30 days after the date of the notice of assessment from the commissioner.