Whereas , The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to preserve and maintain forthwith the affordability of certain nongroup health insurance policies in the commonwealth, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
SECTION 1. Subsection (a) of section 4 of chapter 176M of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding after paragraph (5), added by section 195 of chapter 194 of the acts of 1998, the following paragraph:-
(6) When a carrier replaces coverage for members in a closed health plan with coverage in a guaranteed issue health plan in the allowable three year period, nothing in this section shall preclude said carrier from maintaining rates or limiting rate increases for the members formerly in any of its closed health plans during the remainder of said period. If a carrier chooses to maintain rates or limit rate increase as provided for herein, the carrier shall do so to the same extent for every member in the same rating classification, including any age rate and area rate adjustment, within each closed health plan, and consistent with such rate adjustments as specified in this section. In no event shall such rates exceed the carrier's prevailing rates for the guaranteed issue health plan.
SECTION 2. The provisions of this act shall take effect as of July 1, 1998.