ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT (Chapters 1 through 182)
HEALTH CARE FINANCE AND POLICY
Small business health insurance programs
[ Text of section effective until November 4, 2012. Repealed by 2012, 224, Sec. 132.]
Section 21. The division may establish programs to enable small businesses to purchase health insurance for their employees at rates which are as equivalent as possible to the rates at which large employers can purchase health insurance. Such programs shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(1) the study of the insurance market and the practices of insurance companies, hospital service corporations, medical service corporations and health maintenance organizations, to determine the causes of the relative unavailability of health insurance plans for small businesses and of disproportionate health insurance premium costs for small businesses and to recommend and develop initiatives and strategies to improve the availability and reduce the relative cost of health insurance for small businesses;
[ There is no subsection (2).]
(3) the awarding of technical assistance grants to private organizations to assist them to act as brokers on behalf of small businesses seeking to procure health insurance plans;
(4) the establishment of a small business health insurance pool for businesses consisting of six or fewer full-time employees, for the purpose of purchasing health insurance plans for employees and their dependents of businesses in the pool, and the study of the expansion of such pool to cover small businesses of up to ten full-time employees; provided, however, that not more than thirty per cent in the aggregate of the employees may be enrolled in a health insurance plan of a single health insurance company, hospital service corporation, or health maintenance organization;
(5) the evaluation of the effectiveness of the initiatives of the division and tax incentives in reducing the cost of health insurance to small businesses and the impact of such voluntary incentives on the number of small businesses offering health insurance to their employees.
Any small business health insurance pool program established by the division may, subject to appropriation or the availability of unappropriated funds, establish by negotiation with private third-party payors, and purchase on such terms as it deems to be in the best interest of the commonwealth and enrollees in said program, from one or more insurance companies, hospital service corporations, medical service corporations, or health maintenance organizations, a policy of group general or blanket insurance providing hospital, surgical, medical, and other health insurance benefits covering persons who are the employees and their dependents of small businesses in which the number of full-time employees does not exceed six. The division shall execute all agreements or contracts pertaining to said policies or any amendments thereto for and on behalf of and in the name of the division. Said division may negotiate a contract for such term not to exceed three years as it may, in its discretion, deem to be the most advantageous to the division and the eligible small business employees. The division shall endeavor to purchase health insurance plans in an economical manner and shall enroll individuals in managed health care plans whenever practicable; and provided, further, that the division shall ensure that every enrollee shall have a choice of at least two policies providing health care insurance benefits. The division shall promulgate regulations regarding eligibility criteria, enrollment, and termination policies. The division shall allow, on an annual basis, an opportunity for enrollees to transfer their enrollments among participating health insurance plans. The division shall establish a schedule of premium contributions, co-payments, deductibles, or co-insurance amounts to be paid by eligible small businesses and individual enrollees; provided, however that such schedule shall provide for enrollees to pay one hundred per cent of such premium contributions if their income substantially exceeds the non-farm poverty guidelines of the United States Office of Management and Budget.