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The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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IN THE YEAR OF TWO THOUSAND AND TEN

                             __________________

 

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A N A CT TO PROMOTE COST CONTAINMENT, TRANSPARENCY AND EFFICIENCY IN THE PROVISION OF QUALITY HEALTH INSURANCE FOR INDIVIDUALS AND SMALL BUSINESSES

 

Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to provide forthwith for the containment, transparency and efficiency in the provision of quality health insurance for individuals and small businesses, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public health.

 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled,

      And by the authority of the same, as follows:


SECTION   Section 38C of chapter 3 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following subsection:-

(e)  The division of health care finance and policy shall issue a comprehensive report at least once every 4 years on the cost and public health impact of all existing mandated benefits.   In conjunction with this review, the division shall consult with the department of public health and the University of Massachusetts Medical School in a clinical review of all mandated benefits to ensure that all mandated benefits continue to conform to existing standards of care in terms of clinical appropriateness or evidence-based medicine. The division may file legislation that would amend or repeal existing mandated benefits that no longer meet these standards.

SECTION Section 16K of chapter 6A of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out subsections (a) to (c), inclusive, and inserting in place thereof the following 3 subsections:-

(a) There shall be established a health care quality and cost council, which shall be an independent public entity not subject to the supervision and control of any other executive office, department, commission, board, bureau, agency or political subdivision of the commonwealth.  The council shall promote public transparency of the quality and cost of health care in the commonwealth, and shall seek to support the long-term sustainability of health care reform in the commonwealth by developing recommendations for containing health care costs, while facilitating access to information on health care quality improvement efforts.  The council shall disseminate health care quality and cost data to consumers, health care providers and insurers through a consumer health information website under subsections (e) and (g); establish cost containment goals under subsection (h); and coordinate ongoing quality improvement initiatives under subsection ( i ). 

(b) The council shall consist of 19 members and shall be comprised of: (1) 9 ex-officio members, including the secretary of health and human services, the secretary of administration and finance, the state auditor, the inspector general, the attorney general, the commissioner of insurance, the commissioner of health care finance and policy, the commissioner of public health and the executive director of the group insurance commission, or their designees; and (2) 10 representatives of nongovernmental organizations to be appointed by the governor, 1 of whom shall be a representative of a health care quality improvement organization recognized by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement recommended by the organization's board of directors, 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Association of Health Underwriters, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Medicaid Policy Institute, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a expert in health care policy from a foundation or academic institution, 1 of whom shall be a representative of a non-governmental purchaser of health insurance, 1 of whom shall be an organization representing the interests of small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, 1 of whom shall be an organization representing the interests of large businesses with 50 or more employees and 1 of whom shall be a clinician licensed to practice in the commonwealth.  At least 2 members of the council shall be clinicians licensed to practice in the commonwealth.  Members of the council shall vote annually to elect a chair and an executive committee, which shall consist of 4 council members and the chair.  The executive committee shall meet as required to fulfill the mission of the council. Members of the council shall be appointed for terms of 3 years and shall serve until the term is completed or until a successor is appointed. Members shall be eligible to be reappointed and shall serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses reasonably incurred in the performance of their duties which may include reimbursement for reasonable travel and living expenses while engaged in council business.  All council members shall be subject to chapter 268A; provided, however, that the council may purchase from, sell to, borrow from, contract with or otherwise deal with any organization in which any council member is in anyway interested or involved; provided further that such interest or involvement shall be disclosed in advance to the council and recorded in the minutes of the proceedings of the council; and provided further, that no council member having such interest or involvement may participate in any decision relating to such organization.

(c) All meetings of the council shall comply with chapter 30A. The council may, subject to chapter 30B and subject to appropriation, procure equipment, office space, goods and services.

The executive office of health and human services may provide staff and administrative support as requested by the council; provided, however, that all work completed by the executive office of health and human services shall be subject to approval by the council .  The council shall appoint an executive director to oversee the operation and maintenance of the website, ensure compliance with the requirements of this section, and coordinate work completed by the executive office of health and human services and may, subject to appropriation, employ such additional staff or consultants as it deems necessary. 

The council shall promulgate rules and regulations and may adopt by-laws necessary for the administration and enforcement of this section.

SECTION   Said section 16K of said chapter 6A,  as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out subsections (h) and ( i ), as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following 2 subsections:-

(h) The council, in consultation with its advisory committee, shall develop annual health care cost containment goals. The goals shall be designed to promote affordable, high-quality, safe, effective, timely, efficient, equitable and patient centered health care. The council shall also establish goals that are intended to reduce health care disparities in racial, ethnic and disabled communities.  In establishing cost containment goals, the council shall utilize claims data collected from carriers under this section, and information gathered as part of the division of health care finance and policy’s public hearings on health care costs under section 6 ½ of chapter 118G.   For each goal, the council shall identify: ( i ) the parties that will be impacted;(ii) the agencies, departments, boards or councils of the commonwealth responsible for overseeing and implementing the goals; (iii) the steps needed to achieve the goals;(iv) the projected costs associated with implementing the goals; (v) and the potential cost savings, both short and long-term, attributable to the goals. The council may recommend legislation or regulatory changes to achieve these goals.  The council shall publish a report on the progress towards achieving the costs containment goals. 

( i )  The council, in consultation with its advisory committee, shall coordinate and compile data on quality improvement programs conducted by state agencies and public and private health care organizations.  The council shall consider programs designed to: ( i ) improve patient safety in all settings of care; (ii) reduce preventable hospital readmissions; (iii) prevent the occurrence of and improve the treatment and coordination of care for chronic diseases; and (iv) reduce variations in care.  The council shall make such information available on the council’s consumer health information website.  The council may recommend legislation or regulatory changes as needed to further implement quality improvement initiatives.

SECTION   Section 2 of chapter 32A of the General Laws, as amended by section 64 of chapter 25 of the acts of 2009 , is hereby amended by adding the following  subsection:-

( i ) “Wellness program”, a program designed to measure and improve individual health by identifying risk factors, principally through diagnostic testing and establishing plans to meet specific health goals which include appropriate preventive measures.  Risk factors may include but shall not be limited to demographics, family history, behaviors and measured biometrics.

SECTION   Said chapter 32A is hereby further amended by adding the following section:-

Section 25.   The commission shall, subject to appropriation, negotiate with and purchase, on such terms as it deems to be in the best interest of the commonwealth and its employees, from 1 or more entities that can manage a wellness program covering persons in the service of the commonwealth and their dependents, and shall execute all agreements or contracts pertaining to the program.  The commission may negotiate a contract for such term not exceeding 5 years as it may, in its discretion, deem to be the most advantageous to the commonwealth; provided, however that the program shall be able to evaluate individual and aggregate data, give employees access to their individual information confidentially and allow the commission to receive collective reports summarizing baseline and ongoing data regarding the behavior and well being of enrollees.  The commission may reduce premiums or co-payments or offer other incentives to encourage enrollees to comply with the wellness program goals.

Beginning 1 year after the end of the fiscal year in which the commission has implemented the wellness program, the commission shall submit an annual report to the governor, the secretary of health and human services, the secretary of administration and finance, the chairs of the joint committee on health care financing, chairs of the house and senate committees on ways and means, the speaker of the house of representatives and the senate president. The report shall include the collective results, including, but not limited to, the level of participation among employees, incentives provided for participation, the number and type of screenings and diagnostic tests conducted, the instance of undiagnosed risks defined as out of range diagnostic tests and number of employees seeking and receiving preventative treatment.  The commission shall use this information in the negotiating and purchasing, on such terms as it deems in the best interest of the commonwealth and its employees, from 1 or more insurance companies, savings banks or non-profit hospital or medical service corporations, of a policy or policies of group life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance covering persons in the service of the commonwealth and group general or blanket insurance providing hospital, surgical, medical, dental and other health insurance benefits covering persons in the service of the commonwealth and their dependents. 

Beginning 1 year after the end of the fiscal year in which the commission has implemented the wellness program, the commission shall annually submit a report to the governor, secretary of administration and finance, the chairs of the joint committee on health care financing, the chairs of the house and senate committees on ways and means, the speaker of the house of representatives and the senate president on the savings that have been achieved in procuring such insurance policies since implementing the wellness program.

SECTION Subsection (b) of section 9of chapter 94C of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition,  is hereby by adding the following paragraph:-

This section shall not be construed to prohibit a physician or an optometrist from the in-office dispensing and sale of therapeutic contact lenses as long as the medication contained in such lenses is within the profession’s designated scope of practice.

For the purposes of this section, “therapeutic contact lenses” shall mean contact lenses which contain 1 or more medications and which deliver such medication to the eye.

SECTION   Chapter 111 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 25O the following section:-

Section 25P  Every health care provider, as defined by section 1 or otherwise licensed under chapter 112, shall track and report quality information at least annually under regulations promulgated by the department. 

SECTION   Section 217 of said chapter 111, as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “plans”, in line 33,  the following words:– ; and

(7) administer and grant enrollment waivers under paragraph (4) of subsection (a) of section 4 of chapter 176J; provided, however, that the office of patient protection may grant a waiver to an eligible individual who certifies, under penalty of perjury, that such individual did not intentionally forego enrollment into coverage for which the individual is eligible and that is at least actuarially equivalent to minimum creditable coverage; provided further, that the office shall establish by regulation standards and procedures for enrollment waivers.          

SECTION Said chapter 111 is hereby further amended by adding the following section: -

Section 222.   There shall be a commission on falls preventions within the department.  The commission shall consist of the commissioner of public health or the commissioner’s designee, who shall chair the commission; the secretary of elder affairs or the secretary’s designee; the director of MassHealth or the director’s designee; and 8 members to be appointed by the governor, 1 of whom shall be a member of the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a member of the AARP, 1 of whom shall be a member of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a member of the Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging, Inc. 1 of whom shall be a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society Alliance, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a member of the Massachusetts Assisted Living Facilities Association, 1 of whom shall be a member of Mass Home Care and 1 of whom shall be a member of the Massachusetts Pharmacists Association Foundation, Inc.

The commission on falls prevention shall make an investigation and comprehensive study of the effects of falls on older adults and the potential for reducing the number of falls by older adults.  The commission shall monitor the effects of falls by older adults on health care costs, the potential for reducing the number of falls by older adults and the most effective strategies for reducing falls and health care costs associated with falls. The commission shall:

(1) consider strategies to improve data collection and analysis to identify fall risk, health care cost data and protective factors;

(2) consider strategies to improve the identification of older adults who have a high risk of falling;

(3) consider strategies to maximize the dissemination of proven, effective fall prevention interventions and identify barriers to those interventions;

(4) assess the risk and measure the incidence of falls occurring in various settings;

(5) identify evidence-based strategies used by long-term care providers to reduce the rate of falls among older adults and reduce the rate of hospitalizations related to such falls;

(6) identify evidence-based community programs designed to prevent falls among older adults;

(7) review falls prevention initiatives for community-based settings; and

(8) examine the components and key elements of the above falls prevention initiatives, consider their applicability in the commonwealth and develop strategies for pilot testing, implementation and evaluation.

The commission on falls prevention shall submit to the secretary of health and human services and the joint committee on health care financing, not later than September 22, annually, a report that includes findings from the commission’s review along with recommendations and any suggested legislation to implement those recommendations. The report shall include recommendations for:

(1) intervention approaches, including physical activity, medication assessment and reduction of medication when possible, vision enhancement and home-modification strategies;

(2) strategies that promote collaboration between the medical community, including physicians, long-term care providers and pharmacists to reduce the rate of falls among their patients;

(3) programs that are targeted to fall victims who are at a high risk for second falls and that are designed to maximize independence and quality of life for older adults, particularly those older adults with functional limitations;

(4) programs that encourage partnerships to prevent falls among older adults and prevent or reduce injuries when falls occur; and

(5) programs to encourage long-term care providers to implement falls- prevention strategies which use specific interventions to help all patients avoid the risks for falling in an effort to reduce hospitalizations and prolong a high quality of life.

SECTION Section 66B of chapter 112 of the General Laws is hereby amended after the third paragraph by inserting the following:-

This section shall not be construed to prohibit an optometrist from the in-office dispensing and sale of therapeutic contact lenses as long as the medication contained in such lenses is within the profession’s designated scope of practice.

For the purposes of this section, “therapeutic contact lenses” shall mean contact lenses which contain 1 or more medications and which deliver such medication to the eye.

SECTION   Section 1 of chapter 118G of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the definition of “Health maintenance organization” the following definition:-

“Health status adjusted total medical expenses”, the total cost of care for the patient population associated with a provider group based on allowed claims for all categories of medical expenses and all non-claims related payments to providers, adjusted by health status, and expressed on a per member per month basis, as calculated under section 6 and the regulations promulgated by the commissioner.

SECTION   Said section 1 of said chapter 118G, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the definition of “Purchaser” the following definition:-

“Relative prices”, the contractually negotiated amounts paid to providers by each private and public carrier for health care services, including non-claims related payments and expressed in the aggregate relative to the payer’s network-wide average amount paid to providers, as calculated under section 6 of chapter 118G and regulations promulgated by the commissioner.

SECTION   Section 6 of said chapter 118G of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out the fourth and fifth paragraphs, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following 3 paragraphs: -

The division shall require the submission of data and other information from each private health care payer offering small or large group health plans including, but not limited to: ( i ) average annual individual and family plan premiums for each payer’s most popular plans for a representative range of group sizes, as further determined in regulations and average annual individual and family plan premiums for the lowest cost plan in each group size that meets the minimum standards and guidelines established by the division of insurance under section 8H of chapter 26; (ii) information concerning the actuarial assumptions that underlie the premiums for each plan; (iii) summaries of the plan designs for each plan; (iv) information concerning the medical and administrative expenses, including medical loss ratios for each plan, using a uniform methodology, and collected under section 21 of chapter 176O; (v) information concerning the payer’s current level of reserves and surpluses; (vi) information on provider payment methods and levels; (vii) health status adjusted total medical expenses by provider group and local practice group and zip code calculated according to a uniform methodology; (viii) relative prices paid to every hospital, physician group, ambulatory surgical center, freestanding imaging center, mental health facility, rehabilitation facility, skilled nursing facility and home health provider in the payer’s network, by type of provider and calculated according to a uniform methodology; and (ix) hospital inpatient and outpatient costs, including direct and indirect costs, according to a uniform methodology.

The division shall require the submission of data and other information from public health care payers including, but not limited to: ( i ) average premium rates for health insurance plans offered by public payers and information concerning the actuarial assumptions that underlie these premiums; (ii) average annual per-member per-month payments for enrollees in MassHealth primary care clinician and fee for service programs; (iii) summaries of plan designs for each plan or program; (iv) information concerning the medical and administrative expenses, including medical loss ratios for each plan or program; (v) where appropriate, information concerning the payer’s current level of reserves and surpluses; (vi) information on provider payment methods and levels, including information concerning payment levels to each hospital for the 25 most common medical procedures provided to enrollees in these programs, in a form that allows payment comparisons between Medicaid programs and managed care organizations under contract to the office of Medicaid; (vii) health status adjusted total medical expenses by provider group and local practice group and zip code calculated according to a uniform methodology; (viii) relative prices paid to every hospital, physician group, ambulatory surgical center, freestanding imaging center, mental health facility, rehabilitation facility, skilled nursing facility and home health provider in the payer’s network, by type of provider and calculated according to a uniform methodology.

The division shall require the submission of data and other such information from each acute care hospital on hospital inpatient and outpatient costs, including direct and indirect costs, according to a uniform methodology.

The division shall publicly report and place on its website information on health status adjusted total medical expenses, relative prices and hospital inpatient and outpatient costs, including direct and indirect costs under this section on an annual basis; provided, however, that at least 10 days prior to the public posting or reporting of provider specific information the affected provider shall be provided the information for review.  The division shall request from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services the health status adjusted total medical expenses of provider groups that serve Medicare patients.

SECTION   Section 6C of said chapter 118G is hereby amended by striking out subsection (c), as amended by section 9 of chapter 65 of the acts of 2009, and inserting in place thereof the following subsection:-

(c) Information that indentifies individual employees by name or health insurance status shall not be a public record, but the information shall be exchanged with the department of revenue, the commonwealth health insurance connector authority, and the health care access bureau in the division of insurance under an interagency services agreement for the purposes of enforcing this section, sections 3, 6B and 18B of chapter 118H, and sections 3 to 7A, inclusive, of chapter 176Q.  An employer who knowingly falsifies or fails to file with the division any information required by this section or by any regulation promulgated by the division shall be punished by a fine of not less than $1,000 not more than $5,000.

SECTION   Section 47H of chapter 175 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the last sentence and inserting in place thereof the following 2 sentences :- For purposes of this section, ‘infertility’ shall mean the condition of an individual who is unable to conceive or produce conception during a period of 1 year if the female is age 35 or younger or during a period of 6 months if the female is over the age of 35 . F or purposes of meeting the criteria for infertility in this section, if a person conceives but is unable to carry that pregnancy to live birth, the period of time she attempted to conceive prior to achieving that pregnancy shall be included in the calculation of the 1 year or 6 month period, as applicable.

SECTION   Section 8K of chapter 176A of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the last sentence and inserting in place thereof the following 2 sentences :- For purposes of this section, ‘infertility’ shall mean the condition of an individual who is unable to conceive or produce conception during a period of 1 year if the female is age 35 or younger or during a period of 6 months if the female is over the age of 35. For purposes of meeting the criteria for infertility in this section, if a person conceives but is unable to carry that pregnancy to live birth, the period of time she attempted to conceive prior to achieving that pregnancy shall be included in the calculation of the 1 year or 6 month period, as applicable.

SECTION   Section 4J of chapter 176B of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the last sentence and inserting in place thereof the following 2 sentences :- For purposes of this section, ‘infertility’ shall mean the condition of an individual who is unable to conceive or produce conception during a period of 1 year if the female is age 35 or younger or during a period of 6 months if the female is over the age of 35. For purposes of meeting the criteria for infertility in this section, if a person conceives but is unable to carry that pregnancy to live birth, the period of time she attempted to conceive prior to achieving that pregnancy shall be included in the calculation of the 1 year or 6 month period, as applicable.

SECTION   Section 3 of chapter 176D of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out clause (4) and inserting in place thereof the following clause:-

(4) Boycott, coercion and intimidation: (a) entering into an agreement to commit, or by concerted action committing, an act of boycott, coercion or intimidation resulting in or tending to result in unreasonable restraint of, or monopoly in, the business of insurance; (b) an refusal by a nonprofit hospital service corporation, medical service corporation, insurance or health maintenance organization to negotiate, contract or affiliate with a health care facility or provider because of such facility’s or provider’s contracts, type of provider licensure or affiliations with any other nonprofit hospital service corporation, medical service corporation, insurance company or health maintenance organization; or (c) an nonprofit hospital service corporation, medical service corporation, insurance company or health maintenance organization establishing the price to be paid to any health care facility or provider by reference to the  price paid, or the average of prices paid, to such facility or provider under a contract or contracts with any other nonprofit hospital service corporation, medical service corporation, insurance company, health maintenance organization or preferred provider arrangement.

SECTION   Said c hapter 176D is hereby further amended by striking out section 3A, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 3A. The following shall be unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the business of insurance by entities organized under chapters 176A, 176B, 176G and 176I or licensed under chapter 175: ( i ) entering into any agreement to commit or by any concerted action committing any act of, boycott, coercion, intimidation resulting in or tending to result in unreasonable restraint of, or monopoly in, the business of insurance; (ii) refusal to enter into a contract with a health care facility on the basis of the facility’s religious affiliation; (iii) seeking to set the price to be paid to any health care facility or provider by reference to the price paid, or the average of prices paid, to that health care facility or provider under a contract or contracts with any other nonprofit hospital service corporation, medical service corporation, insurance company, health maintenance organization or preferred provider arrangement; (iv) refusal to contract or affiliate with a health care facility solely because the facility does not provide a specific service or range of services; (v) selecting  or contracting with a health care facility or provider not based primarily on cost, availability and quality of covered services; (vi) refusal to enter into a contract with a health care facility solely on the basis of the facility’s governmental affiliation; and (vii)   arranging for an individual employee to apply for individual health insurance coverage, as defined in chapter 176J, for the purpose of separating that employee from group health insurance coverage to reduce costs for an employer sponsored health plan provided in connection with the employee's employment.  

SECTION   Section 1 of said chapter 176J, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the definition of “Eligible individual” and inserting in place thereof the following definition:-

“Eligible individual”, an individual who is a resident of the commonwealth and who is not seeking individual coverage to replace an employer-sponsored health plan for which the individual is eligible and which provides coverage that is at least actuarially equivalent to minimum creditable coverage.

SECTION   Said section 1 of chapter 176J, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the definition of “Prototype plan” the following definition:-

“Qualified association”, a Massachusetts nonprofit or not-for-profit corporation or other entity organized and maintained for the purposes of advancing the occupational, professional, trade or industry interests of its association members, other than that of obtaining health insurance, and that has been in active existence for at least 5 years, that comprises at least 100 association members and membership in which is generally available to potential association members of such occupation, profession, trade or industry without regard to the health condition or status of a prospective association member or the employees and dependents of a prospective association member.

SECTION   Said section 1 of said chapter 176J, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the definition of “Resident” the following definition:-

“Small business group purchasing cooperative”, or “group purchasing cooperative”, a Massachusetts nonprofit or not-for-profit corporation or association, approved as a qualified association by the commissioner under section 13, all the members of which are part of a qualified association which negotiates with 1 or more carriers for the issuance of health benefit plans that cover employees, and the employees’ dependents, of the qualified association’s members. 

SECTION   Said section 1 of said chapter 176J, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by adding the following definition:-

“Wellness program”, or “health management program”, an organized system designed to improve the overall health of participants through activities that may include, but shall not be limited to, education, health risk assessment, lifestyle coaching, behavior modification and targeted disease management.

SECTION   Subsection (a) of section 3 of said chapter 176J, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out clause (2) and inserting in place thereof the following clause:-

(2) A carrier may establish an age rate adjustment that applies to both eligible individuals and eligible small groups; provided, however, that the carrier applies the rate adjustment on a year-to-year basis for both eligible individuals and eligible small groups.

SECTION   Said section 3 of said chapter 176J, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by adding the following subsection:-

(f) The commissioner may conduct an examination of the rating factors used in the small group health insurance market in order to identify whether any expenses or factors inappropriately increase the cost in relation to the risks of the affected small group.   The commissioner may adopt changes to the small group regulation each July 1 for rates effective each subsequent January 1 to modify the derivation of group base premium rates or of any factor used to develop individual group premiums.

SECTION   Subsection (a) of section 4 of said chapter 176J, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out paragraphs (2) to (4), inclusive, and inserting in place thereof the following 3 paragraphs:-  

(2) A carrier shall enroll eligible individuals and eligible persons, as defined in section 2741 of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, 42 U.S.C. section 300gg-41(b), into a health plan if such individuals or persons request coverage within 63 days of termination of any prior creditable coverage . Coverage shall become effective within 30 days of the date of application, subject to reasonable verification of eligibility.

(3) A carrier shall enroll an eligible individual who does not meet the requirements of paragraph (2) into a health benefit plan during the mandatory biannual open enrollment period for eligible individuals and the eligible dependents of those individuals.     Each year, the first open enrollment period shall begin on January 1 and end on February 15.     The second open enrollment period shall begin on July 1 and end on August 15. All coverage shall become effective on the first day of the month following enrollment.   The commissioner shall promulgate regulations for the open enrollment periods. For a Trade Act/HCTC-eligible persons, a carrier may impose a pre-existing condition exclusion or waiting period of no more that 6 months following the individual’s effective date of coverage if the Trade Act/HCTC- eligible person has had less than 3 months of continuous health coverage before becoming eligible for the health coverage tax credit; or a break in coverage of over 62 days immediately before the date of application for enrollment into the qualified health plan.

(4) No policy may require any waiting period if the eligible individual has not had any creditable coverage for the 18 months prior to the effective date of coverage. Notwithstanding paragraph (3), an eligible individual who does not meet the requirements of paragraph (2) may seek an enrollment waiver to permit enrollment not during a mandatory open enrollment period. Enrollment waivers shall be administered and granted by the office of patient protection established by section 217 of chapter 111.

SECTION   Said subsection (a) of said section 4 of said chapter 176J is hereby further amended by striking out paragraph (3), as appearing in section 26, and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-  

(3) A carrier shall enroll an eligible individual who does not meet the requirements of paragraph (2) into a health benefit plan during the mandatory annual open enrollment period for eligible individuals and their dependents.     Each year, the open enrollment period shall begin on July 1 and end on August 15.     A carrier shall only enroll an eligible individual who does not meet the requirements of paragraph (2) into a health benefit plan during the open enrollment period.   All coverage shall become effective on the first day of the month following enrollment.   The commissioner shall promulgate regulations for the open enrollment period permissible under this section. With respect to Trade Act/Health Coverage Tax Credit Eligible Persons, a carrier may impose a pre-existing condition exclusion or waiting period of no more that 6 months following the individual’s effective date of coverage if the Trade Act/Health Coverage Tax Credit Eligible Person has had less than 3 months of continuous health coverage before becoming eligible for the health care tax credit; or a break in coverage of over 62 days immediately before the date of application for enrollment into the qualified health plan.

SECTION   Subsection (b) of said section 4 of said chapter 176J, as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out clause (1) and inserting in place thereof the following clause:

(1) Notwithstanding any other provision in this section, a carrier may deny an eligible individual or eligible small group enrollment in a health benefit plan if the carrier certifies to the commissioner that the carrier intends to discontinue selling that health benefit plan to new eligible individuals or eligible small businesses. A health benefit plan closed to new members may be cancelled and discontinued to all members upon the approval of the commissioner of insurance when such plan has been closed to enrollment for new individuals and small groups and the carrier has complied with the requirements of 42 U.S.C. Sec. 300gg-12; provided, however, that cancellation of the plan shall be effective on the individual or small group’s next enrollment anniversary after such cancellation is approved by the commissioner of insurance. The commissioner may promulgate regulations prohibiting a carrier from using this paragraph to circumvent the intent of this chapter.

SECTION   Said chapter 176J is hereby further amended by striking out section 6, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 6. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the commissioner may approve health insurance policies submitted to the division of insurance for the purpose of being provided to eligible individuals or eligible small businesses. These health insurance policies shall be subject to this chapter and may include networks that differ from those of a health plan’s overall network. The commissioner shall adopt regulations regarding eligibility criteria. These eligibility criteria shall require that health insurance policies that exclude mandated benefits shall only be offered to small businesses which did not provide health insurance to its employees as of April 1, 1992. These eligibility criteria shall also provide that small businesses shall not have any health insurance policies that exclude mandated benefits for more than a 5-year period.

(b) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the commissioner shall require carriers offering health benefit plans to eligible small businesses and eligible individuals to submit information as required by the commissioner, which shall include the current and projected medical loss ratio for plans the components of projected administrative expenses and financial information, including, but not limited to:

( i ) underwriting , auditing, actuarial, financial analysis, treasury and investment expenses;

(ii) marketing and sales expenses, including, but not limited to, advertising, member relations, member enrollment and all expenses associated with producers, brokers and benefit consultants;

(iii) claims operations expenses, including, but not limited to, adjudication, appeals, settlements and expenses associated with paying claims;

(iv) medical administration expenses, including, but not limited to, disease management, utilization review and medical management;

(v) network operations expenses, including, but not limited to, contracting, hospital and physician relations and medical policy procedures;

(vi) charitable expenses, including, but not limited to, contributions to tax-exempt foundations and community benefits;

(vii) state premium taxes;

(viii) board , bureau and association fees;

(ix) depreciation ; and

(x) miscellaneous expenses described in detail by expense, including any expense not included in clauses ( i ) to (ix), inclusive.

(c) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the commissioner may require carriers offering small group health insurance plans, including carriers licensed under chapters 175, 176A, 176B or 176G, to file all changes to small group product base rates and to small group rating factors at least 90 days before their proposed effective date. The commissioner shall disapprove any proposed changes to base rates that are excessive, inadequate or unreasonable in relation to the benefits charged. The commissioner shall disapprove any change to small group rating factors that is discriminatory or not actuarially sound. Rate filing materials submitted for review by the division shall be deemed confidential and exempt from the definition of public records in clause Twenty-sixth of section 7 of chapter 4. The commissioner shall adopt regulations to carry out this section.

(d) For base rate changes filed under this section, if a carrier files a base rate whose administrative expense loading component, not including taxes and assessments,  increases by more than the most recent calendar year’s percentage increase in the New England medical CPI or if a carrier’s reported contribution to surplus exceeds 1.9 per cent  or if the aggregate medical loss ratio for all plans offered under this chapter is less than 88 per cent , such carrier’s rate, in addition to being subject to all other provisions of this chapter, shall be presumptively disapproved as excessive by the commissioner as set forth in this subsection, with the exception of any carrier whose Risk Based Capital Ratio falls below 300% for the most recent four consecutive quarters.  For such carriers the reported contribution to surplus may not exceed 2.5 per cent.

If, however, a carrier’s base rates are presumptively disapproved for failure to meet only the aggregate medical loss ratio threshold of 88 per cent, the carrier’s base rates shall nevertheless not be presumptively disapproved as excessive by the commissioner if the carrier’s aggregate medical loss ratio for all plans offered under this chapter is not less than 1 per cent greater than the carrier’s equivalent medical loss ratio was 12-months prior to the carrier’s present rate filing.

If the annual aggregate medical loss ratio for all plans offered under this chapter is less than 88 per cent, or less than the medical loss ratio that was not presumptively disapproved by the commissioner for being in excess of 1% of the carrier’s prior year base rate,   over the applicable 12-month period, the carrier shall refund the excess premium to its eligible individuals and eligible small groups. A carrier shall communicate within 30 days to all individuals and small groups that were covered under plans during the relevant 12-month period that such individuals and small groups qualify for a refund to be issued under this paragraph, which may take the form of either a refund on the premium for the applicable 12-month period, or if the individual or groups are still covered by the carrier, a credit on the premium for the subsequent 12-month period. The total of all refunds issued shall equal the amount of a carrier’s earned premium that exceeds that amount necessary to achieve a medical loss ratio of 88 per cent, calculated using data reported by the carrier as prescribed under regulations promulgated by the commissioner. The commissioner may authorize a waiver or adjustment of this requirement only if it is determined that issuing refunds would result in financial impairment for the carrier.

(e) If a proposed base rate change has been presumptively disapproved:

              (1) A carrier shall communicate to all employers and individuals covered under a small group product that the proposed increase has been presumptively disapproved and is subject to a hearing at the division of insurance.

              (2) The commissioner shall conduct a public hearing and shall advertise it in newspapers in the cities of Boston, Brockton, Fall River, Pittsfield, Springfield, Worcester, New Bedford and Lowell, or shall notify such newspapers of the hearing.

              (3) The attorney general may intervene in a public hearing or other proceeding under this subsection and may require additional information as the attorney general consider necessary to ensure compliance with this subsection.

The commissioner shall adopt regulations to specify the scheduling of the hearings required pursuant to this section.

(f) If the commissioner disapproves the rate submitted by a carrier the commissioner shall notify the carrier in writing no later than 45 days prior to the proposed effective date of the carrier’s rate.  The carrier may submit a request for hearing with the division of insurance within 10 days of such notice of disapproval.   The division must schedule a hearing within 15 days of receipt.  The commissioner shall issue a written decision within 30 days after the conclusion of the hearing.  The carrier may not implement the disapproved rates, or changes at any time unless the commissioner reverses the disapproval after a hearing or unless a court vacates the commissioner’s decision.

SECTION   Said section 6 of said chapter 176J, as appearing in section 29,  is hereby further amended by striking out the figure “88”, each time it appears, and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- 90.

SECTION   Said section 6 of said chapter 176J is hereby further amended by striking out clause (d), (e), and (f), as appearing in section 29, inserting in place thereof the following 2 subsections:-

(d) If a proposed base rate change has been disapproved:

              (1) A carrier shall communicate to all employers and individuals covered under a small group product that the proposed increase has been presumptively disapproved and is subject to a hearing at the division of insurance.

              (2) The commissioner shall conduct a public hearing and shall advertise it in newspapers in Boston, Brockton, Fall River, Pittsfield, Springfield, Worcester, New Bedford and Lowell, or shall notify such newspapers of the hearing.

              (3) The attorney general may intervene in a public hearing or other proceeding under this subsection and may require additional information as the attorney general consider necessary to ensure compliance with this subsection.

(e) If the commissioner disapproves the rate submitted by a carrier the commissioner shall notify the carrier in writing no later than 45 days prior to the proposed effective date of the carrier’s rate.  The carrier may submit a request for hearing with the division of insurance within 10 days of such notice of disapproval.   The division must schedule a hearing within 15 days of receipt.  The commissioner shall issue a written decision within 30 days after the conclusion of the hearing.  The carrier may not implement the disapproved rates, or changes at any time unless the commissioner reverses the disapproval after a hearing or unless a court vacates the commissioner’s decision.

SECTION   Said chapter 176J is hereby amended by adding the following section:-

Section 11.   (a) A carrier that offers a health benefit plan that: ( i ) provides or arranges for the delivery of health care services through a closed network of health care providers; and (ii) as of the close of any preceding calendar year, has a combined total of 5,000 or more eligible individuals, eligible employees and eligible dependents, who are enrolled in health benefit plans sold, issued, delivered, made effective or renewed to qualified small businesses or eligible individuals, shall offer to all eligible individuals and small businesses in at least 1 geographic area at least one plan with either a reduced or selective network of providers, or a plan in which providers are tiered and member cost sharing is based on the tier placement of the provider.

The base premium for the reduced or selective network, or tiered network plan shall be at least 12 per cent lower than the base premium of the carrier’s most actuarially similar plan with the carrier’s non-selective or non-tiered network of providers.

(b) A tiered network plan shall only include variations on member cost-sharing between provider tiers, which are reasonable in relation to the premium charged, as long as the carrier provides adequate access to covered services at lower patient cost sharing levels.

(c) The commissioner shall determine network adequacy for a tiered network plan based on the availability of sufficient network providers in the carrier’s overall tiered network plan .  

(d) The commissioner shall determine network adequacy for a select network plan based on the availability of sufficient network providers in the carrier’s select network of providers. 

(e) In determining network adequacy under this section the commissioner may consider factors including: the location of providers participating in the plan; employers or members that enroll in the plan; the range of services provided by providers in the plan; and any plan benefits that recognize and provide for extraordinary medical needs of members that may not be adequately dealt with by the providers within the plan network.

(f) Carriers may: ( i ) reclassify provider tiers; or (ii) determine provider participation in selective and tiered plans no more than once per calendar year; provided, however, that carriers may reclassify providers from a higher cost tier to a lower cost tier or add new providers to its selective and tiered plans at any time.  If the carrier reclassifies provider tiers or providers participating in a selective plan during the course of an account year, the carrier shall provide affected members of the account with information regarding the plan changes at least 30 days before the changes take effect.  Carriers shall provide information on their websites about any tiered or selective plan, including, but not limited to, the providers participating in the plan, the selection criteria for those providers and if applicable, the tier in which each provider is classified. 

(g) The division of insurance shall report annually on utilization trends of eligible employers and eligible individuals enrolled in plans offered under this section The report shall include the number of members enrolled by plan type, de-identified aggregate demographic, and geographic information on all members and the average direct premium claims incurred for selective and tiered network plans compared to non-selective and non-tiered plans.  

SECTION   Said chapter 176J is hereby further amended by striking out section 11, as inserted by section 23, and inserting in place thereof  the following section:-

Section 11.   (a) A carrier that offers a health benefit plan that: ( i ) provides or arranges for the delivery of health care services through a closed network of health care providers; and (ii) as of the close of any preceding calendar year, has a combined total of 5,000 or more eligible individuals, eligible employees and eligible dependents, who are enrolled in health benefit plans sold, issued, delivered, made effective or renewed to qualified small businesses or eligible individuals, shall offer to all eligible individuals and small businesses in at least 1 geographic area at least 1 plan with either a reduced or selective network of providers or a plan in which providers are tiered and member cost sharing is based on the tier placement of the provider.

The base premium for the reduced or selective or tiered network plan shall be at least 12 per cent lower than the base premium of the carrier’s most actuarially similar plan with the carrier’s non-selective or non-tiered network of providers. The savings may be achieved by means including, but not limited to: ( i ) the exclusion of providers with similar or lower quality based on  the standard quality measure set with higher health status adjusted total medical expenses or relative prices, as determined under section 6 of chapter 118G; or (ii) increased member cost-sharing for members who utilize providers for non-emergency services with similar or lower quality based on the standard quality measure set and with higher health status adjusted total medical expenses or relative prices, as determined under section 6 of chapter 118G.

(b) A tiered network plan shall only include variations in member cost-sharing between provider tiers which are reasonable in relation to the premium charged and ensure adequate access to covered services.  Carriers shall tier providers based on quality performance as measured by the standard quality measure set and by cost performance as measured by health status adjusted total medical expenses and relative prices.  Where applicable quality measures are not available, tiering may be based solely on health status adjusted total medical expenses or relative prices or both. 

The commissioner shall promulgate regulations requiring the uniform reporting of tiering information, including, but not limited to requiring, at least 90 days before the proposed effective date of any tiered network plan or any modification in the tiering methodology for any existing tiered network plan, the reporting of a detailed description of the methodology used for tiering providers, including: the statistical basis for tiering ; a list of providers to be tiered at each member cost-sharing level; a description of how the methodology and resulting tiers will be communicated to each network provider, eligible individuals and small groups; and a description of the appeals process a provider may pursue to challenge the assigned tier level.

(c) The commissioner shall determine network adequacy for a tiered network plan based on the availability of sufficient network providers in the carrier’s overall network of providers. 

(d) The commissioner shall determine network adequacy for a selective network plan based on the availability of sufficient network providers in the carrier’s selective network. 

(e) In determining network adequacy under this section the commissioner of insurance may take into consideration factors such as the location of providers participating in the plan and employers or members that enroll in the plan, the range of services provided by providers in the plan and plan benefits that recognize and provide for extraordinary medical needs of members that may not be adequately dealt with by the providers within the plan network.

(f) Carriers may: ( i ) reclassify provider tiers; and (ii) determine provider participation in selective and tiered plans no more than once per calendar year except that carriers may reclassify providers from a higher cost tier to a lower cost tier or add providers to a selective network at any time.  If the carrier reclassifies provider tiers or providers participating in a selective plan during the course of an account year, the carrier shall provide affected members of the account with information regarding the plan changes at least 30 days before the changes take effect.  Carriers shall provide information on their websites about any tiered or selective plan, including but not limited to, the providers participating in the plan, the selection criteria for those providers and where applicable, the tier in which each provider is classified. 

(g) The division of insurance shall report annually on utilization trends of eligible employers and eligible individuals enrolled in plans offered under this section. The report shall include the number of members enrolled by plan type, aggregate demographic, geographic information on all members and the average direct premium claims incurred, as defined in section 6, for selective and tiered network products compared to non-selective and non-tiered products.  

SECTION   Said chapter 176J is hereby further amended by adding the following 2 sections:-

Section 12.   (a) The commissioner shall promulgate regulations governing the establishment and oversight of small business group purchasing cooperatives.  The regulations shall require: ( i ) that all state-mandated benefits are required under plans procured by approved small business group purchasing cooperatives; (ii) that all such plans offer its enrollees access to wellness programs which, at a minimum, shall be actuarially similar to wellness programs that may be offered through the commonwealth health insurance connector authority; (iii) that the group purchasing cooperative obtain a commitment from 33 per cent of its covered employees that the employees will enroll in the health management programs that the group purchasing cooperative provides; (iv) that the group purchasing cooperative establish reasonable systems, which shall comply with any applicable sections of the Americans with Disability Act and any other federal requirements, under which enrollees can record their participation in, and group purchasing cooperatives can monitor enrollees’ participation in, available health management programs; (v) that denial of coverage due to the health condition, age, race or sex of the employees and dependents of qualified association members in a group purchasing cooperative is prohibited; and (vi) that no eligible qualified association member of a small business group purchasing cooperative may be charged a premium rate higher than what the carrier would charge to a similarly-situated eligible small business that is not a participant in a small business group purchasing cooperative. 

(b)  The commissioner shall promulgate regulations governing the application and certification process that a proposed small business group purchasing cooperative shall undergo before the commissioner may certify the group purchasing cooperative as a small business group purchasing cooperative approved to operate in accordance with this section; provided, however, that the commissioner shall certify up to 6 group purchasing cooperatives to operate at any given time; provided further, that the commissioner shall certify any application that meets the requirements of this section up to and until the commissioner has certified 6 group purchasing cooperatives.  The commissioner shall limit the number of applications that are approved for each small business group cooperative so that in a given year, the total number of covered lives, for each approved group purchasing cooperative, in the aggregate, shall not exceed 85,0000 covered lives.  Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, once the limit on covered lives is reached, the commissioner shall not approve the application of a new group purchasing cooperative until a previously approved group purchasing cooperative disbands or until the commissioner disapproves a group purchasing cooperative’s annual renewal for failure to comply with the terms of this section and any regulations promulgated in accordance with this section.

(c)  The commissioner shall annually certify that a small business group purchasing cooperative satisfies the requirements of this section.  Only a small business group purchasing cooperative that has been certified by the commissioner may procure health care coverage for the benefit of qualified association members.

(d) The commissioner shall review the books and records of a small business group purchasing cooperative and the methodology which it confirms the status of qualified associations.

(e)  Health care coverage procured by a small business group purchasing cooperative shall be sold to qualified association members and may be sold through duly licensed agents, the commonwealth health insurance connector authority or brokers.

(f)  Member-employers of qualified associations purchasing health coverage within a group purchasing cooperative shall not have more than 50 eligible employees.

(g)  The commissioner, in consultation with the division of health care finance and policy and the commonwealth health insurance connector authority, shall report and make recommendations, as necessary, on the cost savings to the qualified association members that participate in small business group purchasing cooperatives, the impact, if any, on the establishment of small business group purchasing cooperatives to the risk pool and premium costs in the merged market, and whether the authority of the commissioner to certify small business group purchasing cooperatives should be renewed to the house and senate committees on ways and means and the joint committee on health care financing and financial services within 24 months of the first certification of a small business group purchasing cooperative as defined under this section. 

Section 13.   (a)  As a condition of continued offer of small group health, a carrier that, as of the close of a preceding calendar year, has a combined total of at least 5,000 eligible individuals, eligible employees and eligible dependents who are enrolled in health benefit plans sold, issued, delivered, made effective or renewed to qualified small businesses or eligible individuals shall be annually required to file a plan with each group purchasing cooperative for its consideration if a group purchasing cooperative requests such health plan proposals for its next plan year.

(b)  Health benefit plans offered by carriers to group purchasing cooperatives shall: ( i ) include all state-mandated benefits; (ii) apply preexisting condition limitations and waiting periods in the same manner as the carrier applies them to small group products offered outside the group purchasing cooperative; (iii) apply open enrollment periods for individuals in the same manner as the carrier applies them for individuals outside the group purchasing cooperative, provided, however that small business group purchasing cooperatives shall establish rules and open enrollment periods for qualified association members to enter or exit group purchasing cooperatives; (iv) apply continuation of coverage provisions in the same manner as the carrier applies those provisions to small group products offered outside the group purchasing cooperative; (v) apply managed care practices in the same manner as the carrier applies those practices to small group products offered outside the group purchasing cooperative; and (vi) apply rating rules, including rating bands, rating factors and the value of rating factors, in the same manner as the carrier applies those rules to small group products offered outside the group purchasing cooperative; provided, that such plans may make limited deviations from these rating factors with the prior approval of the commissioner.

(c) Carriers shall comply with a group purchasing cooperative’s wellness program’s data processing systems to provide information that will enable the group purchasing cooperative to effectively provide guidance to members on targeted wellness programs.

SECTION   Section 2 of chapter 176M of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “renewal”, in lines 28 and 39, each time it appears, the following words:-  , including renewal through the connector,.

SECTION   Section 3 of said chapter 176M, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out subsection (d) and inserting in place thereof the following subsection:- 

(d) A carrier shall no longer offer, sell or deliver a health plan to a person to whom it does not have such an obligation under an individual policy, contract or agreement with an employer or through a trust or association; provided, however, that a closed guaranteed issue plan or a closed health plan shall be subject to all the other requirements of this chapter. A carrier shall be obligated to renew a closed guarantee issue health plan and a closed plan. A carrier may discontinue a closed guarantee issue health plan or a closed under regulations promulgated by the commissioner.

SECTION   Section 2 of chapter 176O of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out subsection (b) and inserting in place thereof the following subsection:- 

(b) In establishing the minimum standards, the bureau shall consult and use, where appropriate, standards established by national accreditation organizations. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the bureau shall not be bound by the standards established by such organizations, provided, however, that wherever the bureau promulgates standards different from the national standards, it shall: (1) be subject to chapter 30A; (2) state the reason for such variation; and (3) take into consideration any projected compliance costs for such variation.  In order to reduce health care costs and improve access to health care services, the bureau shall establish by regulation as a condition of accreditation that carriers use uniform standards and methodologies for credentialing of providers, including any health care provider type licensed under chapter 112 that provide identical services.   The division shall, before adopting regulations under this section, consult with the division of health care finance and policy, the department of public health, the group insurance commission, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and each carrier.  Accreditation by the bureau shall be valid for a period of 24 months.

SECTION   Subsection (a) of section 7 of said chapter 176O, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out clause (1) and inserting in place thereof the following clause:-

(1) a list of health care providers in the carrier's network, organized by specialty and by location and summarizing on its internet website for each such provider: ( i ) the method used to compensate or reimburse such provider, including details of measures and compensation percentages tied to any incentive plan or pay for performance provision; (ii) the provider price relativity, as defined in and reported under section 6 of chapter 118G; (iii) the provider’s health status adjusted total medical expenses, as defined in and reported under said section 6 of said chapter 118G; and (iv) current measures of the provider’s quality based on measures from the Standard Quality Measure Set, as defined in the regulations promulgated by the department of public health under section 25P of chapter 111; provided, however, that if any specific providers or type of providers requested by an insured are not available in said network, or are not a covered benefit, such information shall be provided in an easily obtainable manner; provided, further, that the carrier shall prominently promote providers based on quality performance as measured by the standard quality measure set and cost performance as measured by health status adjusted total medical expenses and relative prices.

SECTION   Said chapter 176O is hereby further amended by inserting after section 9 the following section:-

Section 9A.   A carrier shall not enter into an agreement or contract with a health care provider if the agreement or contract contains a provision that:

(a) ( i ) limits the ability of the carrier to introduce or modify a select network plan or tiered network plan by granting the health care provider a guaranteed right of participation; (ii) requires the carrier to place all members of a provider group, whether local practice groups or facilities, in the same tier of a tiered network plan; (iii) requires the carrier to include all members of a provider group, whether local practice groups or facilities, in a select network plan on an all-or-nothing basis; or (iv) requires a provider to participate in a new select network or tiered network plan that the carrier introduces without granting the provider the right to opt-out of the new plan at least 60 days before the new plan is submitted to the commissioner for approval; or

(b) requires or permits the carrier or the health care provider to alter or terminate a contract or agreement, in whole or in part, to affect parity with an agreement or contract with other carriers or health care providers or based on a decision to introduce or modify a select network plan or tiered network plan; or

(c) requires or permits the carrier to make any form of supplemental payment unless each supplemental payment is publicly disclosed to the commissioner as a condition of accreditation, including the amount and purpose of each payment and whether or not each payment is included within the provider’s reported relative prices and health status adjusted total medical expenses under section 6 of chapter 118G.

SECTION Said chapter 176O is hereby further amended by adding the following section: -

Section 21. (a) Each carrier shall submit an annual comprehensive financial statement to the division detailing carrier costs from the previous calendar year. 

The annual comprehensive financial statement shall include all of the information in this section and shall be itemized, where applicable, by:

( i ) market group size, including individual; small groups of 1 to 5, 6 to 10, 11 to 25 and 26 to 50;  large groups of 50 to 100, 101 to 500, 501 to 1000 and greater than 1000; and

(ii) line of business, including individual, general, blanket or group policy of health, accident or sickness insurance issued by an insurer licensed under chapter 175; a hospital service plan issued by a nonprofit hospital service corporation under chapter 176A; a medical service plan issued by a nonprofit hospital service corporation under chapter 176B; a health maintenance contract issued by a health maintenance organization under chapter 176G; insured health benefit plan that includes a preferred provider arrangement issued under chapter 176I; and group health insurance plans issued by the commission under chapter 32A.

The statement shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following information:

( i ) direct premiums earned, as defined in chapter 176J; direct claims incurred, as defined in said chapter 176J;

(ii) medical loss ratio;

(iii) number of members;

(iv) number of distinct groups covered;

(v) number of lives covered;

(vii) realized capital gains and losses;

(viii) net income;

( ix ) accumulated surplus;

(x) accumulated reserves;

(xi) risk-based capital ratio, based on a formula developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners;

(xii) financial administration expenses, including underwriting, auditing, actuarial, financial analysis, treasury and investment expenses;

(xiii) marketing and sales expenses, including advertising, member relations, member enrollment expenses;

(xiv) distributions expenses, including commissions, producers, broker and benefit consultant expenses;

(xv) claims operations expenses, including adjudication, appeals, settlements and expenses associated with paying claims;

(xvi) medical administration expenses, including disease management, utilization review and medical management expenses;

(xvii) network operational expenses, including contracting, hospital and physician relations and medical policy procedures;

(xviii) charitable expenses, including any contributions to tax-exempt foundations and community benefits;

(xix) board , bureau or association fees;

(xx) any miscellaneous expenses described in detail by expense, including an expense not included in ( i ) to (xix), inclusive;

(xxi) payroll expenses and the number of employees on the carrier’s payroll;

(xxii) taxes , if any, paid by the carrier to the federal government or to the commonwealth; and

(xxiii) any other information deemed necessary by the commissioner.

(b)(1) In this subsection, the following words shall have the following meanings:-

“Carrier”, an insurer licensed or otherwise authorized to transact accident or health insurance under chapter 175; a nonprofit hospital service corporation organized under chapter 176A; a nonprofit medical service corporation organized under chapter 176B; a health maintenance organization organized under chapter 176G; and an organization entering into a preferred provider arrangement under chapter 176 I ; or a third party administrator, a pharmacy benefit manager or other similar entity with claims data, eligibility data, provider files and other information relating to health care provided to residents of the commonwealth and health care provided by health care providers in the commonwealth;  provided, however, that “carrier” shall include an entity that offers a policy, certificate or contract that provides coverage solely for dental care services or visions care services.

“Self-insured customer”, a self-insured group for which a carrier provides administrative services.

“Self-insured group”, a self-insured or self-funded employer group health plan.

“Third-party administrator”, a person who, on behalf of a health insurer or purchaser of health benefits, receives or collects charges, contributions or premiums for, or adjusts or settles claims on or for residents of the commonwealth.

(2) Any carrier required to report under this section, which provides administrative services to 1 or more self-insured groups shall include, as an appendix to such report, the following information:

              ( i ) the number of the carrier’s self-insured customers;

              (ii) the aggregate number of members, as defined in section 1 of chapter 176J, in all of the carrier’s self-insured customers;

              (iii) the aggregate number of lives covered in all of the carrier’s self-insured customers;

              (iv) the aggregate value of direct premiums earned, as defined in said section 1 of said chapter 176J, for all of the carrier’s self-insured customers;

              (v) the aggregate value of direct claims incurred, as defined in said section 1 of said chapter 176J, for all of the carrier’s self-insured customers;

              (vi) the aggregate medical loss ratio, as defined in said section of said chapter 176J, for all of the carrier’s self-insured customers;

              (vii) net income;

              ( viii ) accumulated surplus;

              ( ix ) accumulated reserves;

              (x) the percentage of the carrier’s self-insured customers that include each of the benefits mandated for health benefit plans under chapters 175, 176A, 176B and 176G;

              (xi) administrative service fees paid by each of the carrier’s self-insured customers; and

              (xii) any other information deemed necessary by the commissioner.

(c) A carrier who fails to file this report on or before April 1 shall be assessed a late penalty not to exceed $100 per day.  The division shall make public all of the information collected under this section.  The division shall issue an annual summary report to the joint committee on financial services, the joint committee on health care financing and the house and senate committees on ways and means of the annual comprehensive financial statements by May 15.   The information shall be exchanged with the division of health care finance and policy for use under section 6 of chapter 118G.  The division shall, from time to time, require payers to submit the underlying data used in their calculations for audit.

The commissioner may adopt rules to carry out this subsection, including standards and procedures requiring the registration of persons or entities not otherwise licensed or registered by the commissioner, such as third-party administrators, and criteria for the standardized reporting and uniform allocation methodologies among carriers.  The division shall, before adopting regulations under this subsection, consult with other agencies of the commonwealth and the federal government and affected carriers to ensure that the reporting requirements imposed under the regulations are not duplicative.

(d) If, in any year, a carrier reports a risk-based capital ratio on a combined entity basis under subsection (a) that exceeds 700 per cent, the division shall hold a public hearing within 60 days.  The carrier shall submit testimony on its overall financial condition and the continued need for additional surplus.  The carrier shall also submit testimony on how, and in what proportion to the total surplus accumulated, the carrier will dedicate any additional surplus to reducing the cost of health benefit plans or for health care quality improvement, patient safety or health cost containment activities not conducted in previous years. The division shall review such testimony and issue a final report on the results of the hearing.

SECTION   Section 1 of chapter 176Q of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the definition of “Eligible individuals” and inserting in place thereof the following definition:-

“Eligible individual”, an individual who is a resident of the commonwealth and who is not seeking individual coverage to replace an employer sponsored health plan for which the individual is eligible and which provides coverage that is at least actuarially equivalent to minimum creditable coverage.

SECTION   Section 2 of said chapter 176Q, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out subsection (b) and inserting in place thereof the following subsection:-

(b) There shall be a board, with duties and powers established by this chapter, which shall govern the connector. The connector board shall consist of 11 members: the secretary for administration and finance, or a designee, who shall serve as chairperson; the director of Medicaid or a designee; the commissioner of insurance or a designee; the executive director of the group insurance commission; 4 members appointed by the governor, 1 of whom shall be a member in good standing of the American Academy of Actuaries, 1 of whom shall be a health economist, 1 of whom shall represent the interests of small businesses and 1 of whom shall be a member of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Health Underwriters ; and 3 members appointed by the attorney general, 1 of whom shall be an employee health benefits plan specialist, 1 of whom shall be a representative of a health consumer organization and 1 of whom shall be a representative of organized labor. No appointee shall be an employee of any licensed carrier authorized to do business in the commonwealth. All appointments shall serve a term of 3 years, but a person appointed to fill a vacancy shall serve only for the unexpired term. An appointed member of the board shall be eligible for reappointment. The board shall annually elect 1 of its members to serve as vice-chairperson.

SECTION   Section 3 of said chapter 176Q, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the figure “111M”, in line 118, the following words:-  ; provided, however, that notwithstanding subsection (d) of section 2, no changes to the regulations defining minimum creditable coverage shall take effect until 90 days after the connector gives notice of the changes to the joint committee on health care finance, the joint committee on public health, the senate and house of representatives committees on ways and means and the clerks of the senate and house of representatives.

SECTION   Said chapter 176Q is hereby further amended by inserting after section 7 the following section:-

Section 7A.   (a) There shall be a small group wellness incentive pilot program to expand the prevalence of employee wellness initiatives by small businesses. The program shall be administered by the board of the connector, in consultation with the department of public health. The program shall provide subsidies and technical assistance for eligible small groups to implement evidence-based employee health and wellness programs to improve employee health, decrease employer health costs, and increase productivity. 

(b) An eligible small group shall be qualified to participate in the program if:-

              (1) the eligible small group purchases group coverage through the connector;

              (2) the eligible small group is eligible for federal health care tax credits under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Pub. L. 111- 148 ;

              (3) the eligible small group offers an evidence-based, employee wellness program, that meets certain minimum criteria, as determined by the connector board, in collaboration with the department of public health;

              (4) the eligible small group meets certain minimum employee participation requirements in the qualified wellness program, as determined by the connector board, in collaboration with the department of public health;

(c) For eligible small groups participating in the program, the connector shall provide an annual subsidy not to exceed 5 per cent of eligible employer health care costs as calculated by the employer for credit by the federal government under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Aggregate expenditures made by the connector for the subsidy program shall not exceed $15,000,000 in any fiscal year.  If the director determines that funds are insufficient to meet the projected costs of enrolling new eligible employers, the director shall impose a cap on enrollment in the program.

(d) The connector shall coordinate with the department of public health to provide technical assistance, including grant-writing assistance, to participating eligible small groups in order to maximize federal grant funding provided under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for the establishment of wellness initiatives by small employers.

(e) The connector shall seek to ensure that all necessary applications and filings coordinate with and conform to appropriate federal guidelines in order to minimize administrative burden on participating small groups.

(f) The connector shall report annually to the joint committee on community development and small business, the joint committee on health care financing and the house and senate committees on ways and means on the enrollment in the small business wellness incentive program and evaluate the impact of the program on expanding wellness initiatives for small groups.   

(g) The connector shall promulgate regulations to implement this section.

SECTION   Section 8 of said chapter 176Q, as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following sentence: -

The connector shall not utilize any of the data received from the department of revenue for any solicitations or advertising.

SECTION   Paragraph ( n ) of section 5 of chapter 614 of the acts of 1968, as appearing in section 18 of chapter 777 of the acts of 1981, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 2, the words “its administrative” and inserting in place thereof the following words:- fees, administrative.

SECTION   Said section 5 of said chapter 614 is hereby further amended by inserting after paragraph ( n ), as so appearing, the following paragraph:-

(n1/2) to fund the capital reserves authorized under paragraph (g) of section 10 and to fund and administer loans and grant programs for community hospitals and community health centers under paragraph (g) of section 10 and to fund any reimbursement of the commonwealth required by paragraph (g)(xii) of section 10;.

SECTION   Section 10 of said chapter 614, as most recently amended by chapter 777 of the acts of 1981, is hereby further amended by adding the following paragraph:-

(g) ( i )  For the benefit of nonprofit community hospitals and nonprofit community health centers licensed by the department of public health and meeting the definition of a community health center under 114.6  CMR 13.00 as either a community health center or a hospital licensed health center, the authority may create and establish special funds to be known as Community Hospital and Community Health Center Capital Reserve Funds and, to the extent so created, shall pay into each such fund any monies appropriated and made available by the commonwealth for the purposes of such fund, any proceeds from the sale of notes or bonds to the extent provided in the resolution, trust agreement or indenture of the authority authorizing issuance thereof, any other monies or funds of the authority that the authority determines to deposit in the fund and any other monies which may be available to the authority only for the purpose of such fund from any other source or sources. All monies held in the fund, except as hereinafter provided, shall be used solely for the payment of the principal of bonds of the authority which are secured by any such fund as the same mature, which herein shall include becoming payable by sinking fund installment, the purchase of such bonds, the payment of interest on such bonds, or the payment of any redemption premium required to be paid when such bonds are redeemed prior to maturity; provided however, that, monies in a Community Hospital and Community Health Center Capital Reserve Fund shall not be withdrawn therefrom at any time in such amount as would reduce the amount of the fund to less than the maximum amount of principal and interest maturing and becoming due in a succeeding calendar year on outstanding bonds which are secured by the fund, except for the purpose of paying the principal of and interest on such bonds maturing and becoming due or for the retirement of such bonds in accordance with the terms of a contract between the authority and its bondholders and for the payment of which other monies pledged to secure such bonds are not available. Any income or interest earned by, or increment to, a Community Hospital and Community Health Center Capital Reserve Fund due to the investment thereof shall be used by the authority for the purposes of the fund.

(ii)  The authority shall not issue bonds which are secured by a Community Hospital and Community Health Center Capital Reserve Fund at any time if the maximum amount of principal and interest maturing or becoming due in a succeeding calendar year on such bonds then to be issued and on all other outstanding bonds of the authority which are secured by a fund will exceed the amount of such Community Hospital and Community Health Center Capital Reserve Fund at the time of issuance unless the authority, at the time of issuance of such bonds, shall deposit in such fund from the proceeds of the bonds so to be issued, or otherwise, an amount which, together with the amount then in the fund, will be not less than the maximum amount of principal and interest maturing and becoming due in a succeeding calendar year on such bonds then to be issued and on all other outstanding bonds of the authority which are secured by any such fund.

(iii)  To assure the continued operation and solvency of the authority for the carrying out of the public purposes of this act, provision is made in subparagraph ( i ) for the accumulation in a Community Hospital and Community Health Center Capital Reserve Fund of an amount equal to the maximum amount of principal and interest maturing and becoming due in a succeeding calendar year on all outstanding bonds which are secured by any such fund. In order to further assure the maintenance of a Community Hospital and Community Health Center Capital Reserve Fund, there shall be  appropriated annually and paid to the authority for deposit in the fund such sum, if any, as shall be certified by the executive director of the authority to the governor as necessary to restore the fund to an amount equal to the maximum amount of principal and interest maturing and becoming due in a succeeding calendar year on the outstanding bonds which are secured by any such fund. The executive director of the authority shall annually, on or before December 1, make and deliver to the governor a certificate stating the amount, if any, required to restore a Community Hospital and Community Health Center Capital Reserve Fund to the amount aforesaid and the amount so stated, if any, shall be appropriated and paid to the authority during the then current fiscal year of the commonwealth.

(iv)  For the purposes of this paragraph, in computing the amount of a Community Hospital and Community Health Center Capital Reserve Fund, securities in which all or a portion of the fund are invested shall be valued at par or, if purchased at less than par, at their cost to the authority unless otherwise provided in the resolution, trust agreement or indenture authorizing the issuance of bonds secured by the fund.

(v)  For the purposes of this paragraph, the amount of a letter of credit, insurance contract, surety bond or similar financial undertaking available to be drawn upon and applied to obligations to which money in the Community Hospital and Community Health Center Capital Reserve Fund may be applied shall be counted as money in the fund.  For the purposes of this paragraph, in calculating the maximum amount of interest due in the future on variable rate bonds or bonds with respect to which the interest rate is not at the time of calculation determinable, the interest rate shall be calculated at the maximum interest rate on such bonds or such lesser interest rate as shall be certified by the authority as an appropriate proxy for such variable or non-determinable interest rate.

(vi)  Bonds secured by a Community Hospital and Community Health Center Capital Reserve Fund shall be issued by the authority solely for the benefit of nonprofit community hospitals and nonprofit community health centers licensed by the department of public health.

(vii)  Notwithstanding any provision of this act to the contrary, no loan shall be made by the authority to a nonprofit community hospital or nonprofit community health center from the proceeds of bonds secured by a Community Hospital and Community Health Center Capital Reserve Fund established under this paragraph unless: (a) the project to be financed by the loan has been approved by the secretary of health and human services; and (b) the loan and the issuance and terms of the related bonds have been approved by the secretary of administration and finance. In connection with any loan to a nonprofit community hospital or nonprofit community health center under this paragraph, the secretary of health and human services and the secretary of administration and finance may enter into an agreement with the authority and the nonprofit community hospital or nonprofit community health center to: (1) require that the nonprofit community hospital or nonprofit community health center provide financial statements or other information relevant to the financial condition of the nonprofit community hospital or nonprofit community health center and its compliance with the terms of the loan; (2) require that the nonprofit community hospital or nonprofit community health center reimburse the commonwealth for any amounts the commonwealth transfers to the fund under subparagraph (iii) to replenish the fund as a result of a loan payment default by the nonprofit community hospital or nonprofit community health center; and (3) require compliance by the nonprofit community hospital or nonprofit community health center or the authority with any other terms and conditions that the secretary of health and human services and the secretary of administration and finance considers appropriate in connection with the loan.

(viii)  When the authority notifies the secretary of administration and finance in writing that an institution eligible to use the authority under this paragraph is in default as to the payment of principal or interest on any bonds issued by the authority on behalf of that institution or that the authority has reasonable grounds to believe that the institution will not be able to make a full payment when that payment is due, the secretary of administration and finance shall direct the comptroller to withhold any funds in the comptroller’s custody that are due or payable to the institution until the amount of the principal or interest due or anticipated to be due has been paid to the authority or the trustee for the bondholders, or until the authority notifies the secretary of administration and finance that satisfactory arrangements have been made for the payment of the principal and interest. Funds subject to withholding under this subparagraph shall include, but not be limited to, federal and state grants, contracts, allocations and appropriations.

(ix)  If the authority further notifies the secretary of administration and finance in writing that no other arrangements are satisfactory, the secretary shall direct the comptroller to make available to the authority without further appropriation any funds withheld from the institution under subparagraph (viii). The authority shall apply the funds to the costs incurred by the institution, including payments required to be made to the authority or trustee for any bondholders of debt service on any bonds issued by the authority for the institution or payments to replenish the Community Hospital and Community Health Center Capital Reserve Fund or required by the terms of any other law or contract to be paid to the holders or owners of bonds issued on behalf of the institution upon failure or default, or upon reasonable expectation of failure or default, of the institution to pay the principal or interest on its bonds when due.

(x)  Concurrent with any notice from the authority to the secretary of administration and finance under this paragraph, the authority may notify any other agency, department or authority of state government that exercises regulatory, supervisory or statutory control over the operations of the institution. Upon notification, the agency, department or authority shall immediately undertake reviews to determine what action, if any, that agency, department or authority should undertake to assist in the payment by the institution of the money due or the steps that the agencies of the commonwealth, other than the comptroller or the authority, should take to assure the continued prudent operation of the institution or provision of services to the people served by the institution.

(xi)  Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, in the event that a nonprofit community hospital or nonprofit community health center fails to reimburse the commonwealth for any transfers made by the commonwealth to the authority to replenish the Community Hospital and Community Health Center Capital Reserve Fund under subparagraph (iii) within 6 months after any such transfer and as otherwise provided under the terms of the agreement among the nonprofit community hospital or nonprofit community health center, the authority and the commonwealth authorized under subparagraph (vii), the secretary of administration and finance may, in the secretary’s sole discretion, direct the comptroller to withhold any funds in the comptroller’s custody that are due or payable to the nonprofit community hospital or nonprofit community health center to cover all or a portion of the amount the nonprofit community hospital or nonprofit community health center has failed to pay to the commonwealth to reimburse the commonwealth for any such transfers. All contracts issued by the group insurance commission, the commonwealth health insurance connector authority and MassHealth to a third party for the purposes of providing health care insurance paid for by the commonwealth shall provide that, at the direction of the secretary of administration and finance, the third party shall withhold payments to a nonprofit community hospital or nonprofit community health center which fails to reimburse the commonwealth under the agreement authorized under subparagraph (vii) and shall transfer the withheld amount to the commonwealth. Any such withheld amounts shall be considered to have been paid to the nonprofit community hospital or nonprofit community health center for all other purposes of law and the nonprofit community hospital or nonprofit community health center shall be considered to have reimbursed the commonwealth for all or a portion of any such transfers to the Community Hospital and Community Health Center Capital Reserve Fund for purposes of the agreement authorized under said subparagraph (vii).

(xii) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, if the commonwealth has not been fully reimbursed the amount of any transfer made pursuant to this subsection (g) as of the one year anniversary of such transfer, the authority shall pay to the commonwealth an amount equal to that portion of the transfer for which the commonwealth has not yet received reimbursement as of said anniversary. The reimbursement shall be completed under a schedule determined by the secretary of administration and finance. The reimbursement shall not interfere with the obligations of a nonprofit community hospital or nonprofit community health center pursuant to subsection (g) (xi). Funds received by the commonwealth under subsection (g) (xi) which exceed the full reimbursement to the commonwealth from the authority required by this subsection (g) (xii), shall be paid to the authority.

(xiii)  For the purposes of this paragraph, a community hospital or community health center shall not include a hospital where the ratio of the number of physician residents-in-training to the number of inpatient beds exceeds 0.25.

SECTION   Section 12 of said chapter 614 is hereby amended by striking out the last sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence :-   Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (g) of section 10, the issuance of revenue bonds under this act shall not directly, indirectly or contingently obligate the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof to levy or to pledge any form of taxation therefor or to make any appropriation for payment of those bonds.

SECTION   Notwithstanding any special or general law to the contrary, the division of insurance, in consultation with the division of health care finance and policy, shall promulgate regulations on or before October 1, 2010 to establish a uniform methodology for calculating and reporting by carriers for the medical loss ratios of health benefit plans under section 6 of chapter 176J, section 21 of chapter 176O and section 6 of chapter 118G of the General Laws.  The uniform methodology for calculating and reporting medical loss ratios shall, at a minimum, specify a uniform method for determining whether and to what extent an expenditure shall be considered a medical claims expenditure or an administrative costs expenditure, which shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of which of these classes of expenditures the following expenses fall into: ( i ) financial administration expenses; (ii) marketing and sales expenses; (iii) distribution expenses; (iv) claims operations expenses; (v) medical administration expenses, such as disease management, care management, utilization review and medical management activities; (vi) network operation expenses; (vii) charitable expenses; (viii) board, bureau or association fees;  (ix) state and federal tax expenses, including assessments; (x) payroll expenses;  and (xi) other miscellaneous expenses not included in one of the previous categories.  The methodology shall conform with applicable federal statutes and regulations to the maximum extent possible.  The division shall, before adopting regulations under this section, consult with: the group insurance commission; the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; the national association of insurance commissioners; the attorney general; representatives from the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans; the Massachusetts Medical Society Alliance, Inc.; the Massachusetts Hospital Association, Inc.; Health Care for All, Inc.; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts; the Massachusetts Health Information Management Association; the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium; a representative from a small business association; and a representative from a health care consumer group.

SECTION   Notwithstanding any special or general law to the contrary, the division of health care finance and policy, in consultation with the division of insurance, shall promulgate regulations on or before October 1, 2010 to establish a uniform methodology for calculating and reporting the health status adjusted total medical expenses, under section 6 of chapter 118G of the General Laws.  The uniform methodology shall apply to a uniform list of provider groups and their constituent local practice groups and for each zip code in the commonwealth. The uniform methodology for calculating and reporting total medical expenses under this section shall, at a minimum:

( i ) specify a uniform method for calculating total medical expenses based on allowed claims for all categories of medical expenses, including, but not limited to, acute inpatient, hospital outpatient, sub-acute such as skilled nursing and rehabilitation, professional, pharmacy, mental health  and behavioral health and substance abuse, home health, durable medical equipment, laboratory, diagnostic imaging and alternative care such as chiropractic and acupuncture claims, incurred under all fully-insured and self-insured plans;

(ii) specify a uniform method for including in the calculation all non-claims related payments to providers, including supplemental payments of any type, such as pay-for-performance, care management payments, infrastructure payments, grants, surplus payments, lump sum settlements, signing bonuses and government payer shortfall payments; infrastructure, medical director and health information technology payments;

(iii) specify a uniform method for adjusting total medical expenses by health status;

(iv) designate the minimum patient membership in a local practice group for individual reporting of total medical expenses by local practice group;

(v) specify a uniform method for reporting total medical expenses in aggregate for all local practice groups that fall below the minimum patient membership; (vi) specify a uniform method for reporting total medical expenses by zip code separately for patient members whose plans require them to select a primary care provider, and patient members whose plans do not require them to select a primary care provider;

(vii) designate and annually update the comprehensive list of provider groups and local practice groups and zip codes for which payers shall report total medical expenses; and

(viii) specify a uniform format for reporting that includes the raw and adjusted  health status score and patient membership for each local practice group and zip code. 

              The division shall from time to time require payers to submit the underlying data used in their calculation of total medical expenses for audit.

SECTION   Notwithstanding any special or general law to the contrary, the division of health care finance and policy, in consultation with the division of insurance, shall promulgate regulations on or before October 1, 2010 to establish uniform methodology for calculating and reporting relative prices paid to hospitals,  physician groups, other health care providers licensed under chapter 112 of the General Laws, freestanding surgical centers by each private and public health care payer under section 6 of chapter 118G of the General Laws.  The uniform methodology for calculating and reporting relative prices under this section shall, at a minimum:  ( i ) specify a method for basing the calculation on a uniform mix of products and services by payer that is case mix neutral; (ii) specify a uniform method for including in the calculation all non-claims related payments to providers, including supplemental payments of any type, such pay-for-performance, care management payments, infrastructure payments, grants, surplus payments, lump sum settlements, signing bonuses, and government payer shortfall payments; (iii) permit reporting of relative price in the aggregate for all physician groups whose price equals the payer’s standard fee schedule rates; and (vi) designate and annually update the comprehensive list of physician groups for which payers shall report relative prices.

SECTION   Notwithstanding any special or general law to the contrary, the division of health care finance and policy, in consultation with the division of insurance, shall promulgate regulations on or before October 1, 2010 to establish uniform methodology for calculating and reporting inpatient and outpatient costs, including direct and indirect costs, for all hospitals under section 6 of chapter 118G of the General Laws. The division shall, as necessary and appropriate, promulgate regulations or amendments to its existing regulations to require hospitals to report cost and cost trend information in a uniform manner including, but not limited to, uniform methodologies for reporting the cost and cost trend for categories of direct labor, debt service, depreciation, advertising and marketing , bad debt, stop-loss insurance, malpractice insurance, health information technology, medical management, development, fundraising, research, academic costs, charitable contributions, and operating margins for all commercial business and for all state and federal government business, including but not limited to Medicaid, Medicare, insurance through the group insurance commission and federal Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services.  The division shall, before adopting regulations under this section, consult with the group insurance commission, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the attorney general and representatives from the Massachusetts Hospital Association, the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Health Information Management Association the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium. 

SECTION   The department of public health shall promulgate regulations under section 25P of chapter 111 of the General Laws by December 31, 2010 requiring the uniform reporting of a standard set of health care quality measures for each health care provider facility, medical group, or provider group in the commonwealth hereinafter referred to as the “Standard Quality Measure Set.” 

The department of public health shall convene a statewide advisory committee which shall recommend to the department by November 1, 2010 the Standard Quality Measure Set.  The statewide advisory committee shall consist of the commissioner of health care finance and policy or the commissioner’s designee, who shall serve as the chair; and up to 8 members, including the executive director of the group insurance commission and the Medicaid director, or the directors designees; and up to 6 representatives of organizations to be appointed by the governor including at least 1 representative from an acute care hospital or hospital association, 1 representative from a provider group or medical association or provider association, 1 representative from a medical group, 1 representative from a private health plan or health plan association, 1 representative from an employer association and 1 representative from a health care consumer group.

In developing its recommendation of the Standard Quality Measure Set, the advisory committee shall, after consulting with state and national organizations that monitor and develop quality and safety measures, select from existing quality measures and shall not select quality measures that are still in development or develop its own quality measures.  The committee shall annually recommend to the department of public health any updates to the Standard Quality Measure Set by November 1.  For its recommendation beginning in 2011, the committee may solicit for consideration and recommend other nationally recognized quality measures not yet developed or in use as of November 1, 2010, including recommendations from medical or provider specialty groups as to appropriate quality measures for that group’s specialty.  At a minimum, the Standard Quality Measure Set shall consist of the following quality measures: ( i ) the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services  hospital process measures for acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, pneumonia and surgical infection prevention; (ii) the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey; (iii) the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set reported as individual measures and as a weighted aggregate of the individual measures by medical or provider group; and (iv) the Ambulatory Care Experiences Survey.

SECTION   Notwithstanding and special or general law to the contrary, eligible individuals as defined in chapter 176J with existing coverage issued under said chapter 176J that will expire after the end of open enrollment in 2010 established under section 4 of said chapter 176J may renew coverage on the date that the eligible individual’s coverage expires for a term of less than 1 year until the beginning of open enrollment period in 2011. 

SECTION   Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the secretary of health and human services shall convene an administrative simplification working group consisting of the following members: the secretary of consumer affairs and business regulation or the secretary’s designee, the commissioner of health care finance and policy or the commissioner’s designee, the commissioner of public health or the commissioner’s designee, the commissioner of insurance or the commissioner’s designee, the commissioner of revenue or the commissioner’s designee, the director of the office of Medicaid or the director’s designee, the attorney general or the attorney general’s designee, the inspector general or the inspector general’s designee, a representative of the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium, a representative of an association of health care providers licensed under chapter 112 who is not a medical doctor, a representative of the Health Care Quality and Cost Council, a representative of the Massachusetts Hospital Association, Inc., a representative of BC/BS of Massachusetts, a representative of the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, a representative of the Massachusetts Medical Society, and the executive director of the commonwealth health insurance connector authority or the executive director’s designee. The group shall identify ways to streamline state created or mandated administrative requirements in health care, including ways to reduce health care reporting requirements through maximizing the use of a single all-payer data base, as administered by the division of health care finance and policy. The group shall hold its first meeting not later than January 1, 2011 and shall issue a report on or before April 1, 2011. The report shall include specific steps to be taken by each agency and the agencies collectively to reduce administrative and filing requirements on health carriers and health care providers, which shall include, but not be limited to, an interagency agreement to use where necessary, the all-payer claims data base, and to streamline and coordinate all requests for all other data requests from health care providers and health plans in the commonwealth.

SECTION   (a) Notwithstanding any special or general law to the contrary, the division of insurance, in consultation with the secretary of health and human services, shall promulgate regulations on or before December 1, 2011 to promote administrative simplification in the processing of claims for health care services under health benefit plans by carriers, as defined in section 1 of chapter 176O of the General Laws.  At a minimum, the regulations shall: (1) establish uniform standards and processes for determining health benefit plan member eligibility by health care providers; (2) establish standards and processes for provider appeals of denied claims; and (3) establish a standard authorization form to be submitted by health care providers to obtain authorization to provide health care services to a member.  The division shall, before adopting regulations under this section, consult with a statewide advisory commission charged with investigating and studying the relative value of a uniform claims administration system for all payers in the commonwealth.

(b)  The commission shall be comprised of:  the director of the office of Medicaid or a designee; the commissioner of insurance or a designee; the commissioner of health care finance and policy or a designee; 1 person appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives; 1 person appointed by the senate president; 1 person appointed by the minority leader of the house of representatives; 1 person appointed by the minority leader of the senate; 1 person designated by the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, Inc.; 1 person designated by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc.; 2 persons designated by the Massachusetts Hospital Association, Inc., 1 of whom shall represent teaching hospitals and 1 of whom shall represent community hospitals; 1 person designated by the Massachusetts Public Health Association; and 2 persons designated by the Massachusetts Medical Society.  In addition, the regional administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services or a designee, and a member of the senior management of a Medicare administrative contractor will be invited to participate in the commission, but shall not have a vote.

(c)  The commission shall undertake a study of the feasibility of mandating a single claims administration system for all payers in the commonwealth, other than Medicare, and of the potential savings to be derived from doing so.  For purposes of this section, the term ‘payer’ shall mean both a private health care payer and a public health care payer, as those terms are defined in section 1 chapter 118G of the General Laws. In undertaking its responsibilities under this section, the commission shall ( i ) determine the feasibility of using a single claims administration  system for all payers in the commonwealth, other than Medicare; (ii) (ii) undertake a detailed analysis of the merits and limits of the Medicare claims administration system; (iii) determine what models exist that might constitute the most efficient and effective consolidated claims administration system; (iv) identify potential challenges associated with implementation of a single claims administration system for all payers in the commonwealth other than Medicare and also identify proposed solutions for such challenges; (v) identify the costs being incurred by payers and providers as a result of multiple claims administration systems;  (vi) estimate the potential cost savings to the commonwealth if the Medicaid program were to implement a uniform claims administration system based on Medicare’s system, using regional Medicare administrative contractors; (vii) estimate the potential cost savings if all private health care payers in the commonwealth implemented a uniform claims administration system based on Medicare’s system, using regional Medicare administrative contractors, including for their Medicare advantage programs; and (viii) determine the potential savings and costs associated with creating incentives or requiring ERISA plans, Taft-Hartley plans and other self-funded health benefit plans to use regional Medicare administrative contractors for claims management. 

SECTION   Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, there shall be a special commission to make an investigation and study relative to the impact of reducing the number of health benefit plans that a health care payer may maintain and offer to individuals and employers.   The commission shall consist of the 13 members including: the commissioner of insurance, who shall serve as chair; the executive director of the commonwealth health insurance connector authority; a representative of the Massachusetts Hospital Association, the Massachusetts Medicaid Society, the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Health Information Management Association, the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium, a MassHealth contracted managed care organization, Associated Industries of Massachusetts,  a health care consumer group, and the Massachusetts chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business; and a representative of an association of health care providers licensed under chapter 112 of the General Laws who is not a medical doctor.   In conducting its analysis, the commission shall examine:

( i ) the administrative costs associated with paying claims and submitting claims for multiple health benefit plans on health care payers and providers;

(ii) the costs associated with reducing the number of health benefit plans on consumer and employer choice;

(iii) the impact of limiting the number of health benefit plans on competition between and among insurance payers , including but not limited to, tiered products, limited network products and products with a range of cost sharing options; and

(iv) the potential for disruption to the market resulting from closing a health care payer’s existing health benefit plans.  

The special commission shall convene not later than October 1, 2010 and shall submit a report to the clerks of the house and senate not later than December 31, 2010.

SECTION   Notwithstanding any special or general law to the contrary, in implementing this act, the executive office of health and human services, the department of public health, the division of health care finance and policy, the division of insurance, the group insurance commission and any other relevant governmental entities or commissions may consider the special needs of children and of pediatric patients.  In developing or utilizing data standards, quality measurement systems, wellness initiatives or making comparisons of costs and prices, policymakers shall consider the special needs of children and of pediatric patients and may require that comparative data and reports segregate pediatric patients and providers from adult patients and providers.

SECTION   There shall be a special commission to make an investigation and study relative to the capital needs of the community hospital sector with regard to use of technology and adequacy of facilities, the ability of the sector to meet the health care needs of the general population in the next decade and potential sources of capital to meet those needs.  The commission shall also evaluate the role of public programs, payments and regulations in supporting capital accumulation and make recommendations to advance the ability of the community hospital sector to meet the expected demand.  The commission shall be comprised of the secretary of health and human services, the commissioner of public health, the secretary of administration and finance, a representative of the Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals, a representative of the Massachusetts Hospital Association, a representative of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, a representative of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, the chief executive officer of the Massachusetts health and educational facilities authority, the chief executive officer of the Massachusetts development finance agency, the chairs of the house and senate committees on ways and means, the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on health care financing, a member of the house of representatives who shall be chosen by the minority leader, a member of the senate who shall be chosen by the minority leader, a chief elected local official with a community hospital located in said community who shall be appointed by the governor, an individual knowledgeable about demographic trends and hospital utilization who shall be appointed by the governor and an individual knowledgeable about hospital finance and construction who shall be appointed by the governor.

The commission shall hold hearings and file a report with the clerks of the house and senate not later than December 31, 2011.

SECTION   Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the department of public health shall conduct a study of the commonwealth’s community hospitals, with a particular focus on outmigration of patients and related trends, including but not limited to an examination of observed effects and their potential causes with respect to the following:

( i ) the impact on individual community hospitals caused by the opening of additional health care services by providers within the primary service areas of such community hospital, in terms of changes in the number and types of procedures performed and changes in revenues;

(ii) recruitment and retention of personnel; and

(iii) changes in payer mix.

The department shall issue a report summarizing its findings and making recommendations with respect to strengthening community hospitals not later than December 31, 2010, and shall file such report with the joint committee on health care financing.

SECTION   Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary nothing in subsection (c) of section 6C of chapter 118G of the General Laws shall prevent the annual preparation of the public health access program beneficiary employer report under section 304 of chapter 149 of the acts of 2004.

SECTION   Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law to the contrary, the Division of Medical Assistance shall promulgate regulations on or before January 1, 2011 that are designed to conform the ordering of treatment related urine drug screens with both Chapter 160 of the Acts of 2006 governing independent clinical laboratory services and the Department of Public Health regulations at 105 CMR 164 et. seq. governing the provisions of substance abuse treatment services, by revising its definition of ‘authorized prescriber’ at 130 CMR 401.402 to separately include, for the purpose of ordering treatment related random urine drug screens, substance abuse treatment programs that are licensed by the Department of Public Health's Bureau of Substance Abuse Services.

SECTION In order to facilitate the provision of cost effective health care services, enhance the quality of care and improve the coordination and efficiency of health care services in the commonwealth, the division of health care finance and policy, herein referred to as the division, shall undertake activities intended to foster the adoption by providers and payers in the commonwealth of arrangements by which providers will contract to accept payment on a bundled, rather than a fee-for-service, basis.  To promote provider participation in such bundled payment arrangements, the division shall make technical support available to providers and payers, survey or undertake research concerning existing and proposed bundled payment models within the commonwealth and elsewhere and disseminate the results of such research; assess the effects of federal programs intended to promote use of bundled payment arrangements; and identify sources of funding to support providers in designing and implementing bundled payment initiatives.  The division shall have as an objective, but not as a requirement, the implementation of pilot bundled payment programs relating to payment for at least 2 acute conditions or procedures commencing by no later than January 1, 2011, under the terms of which inpatient services, as well as certain services provided pre- and post-inpatient stay, will be paid on a bundled payment basis; and the implementation of pilot bundled payment programs relating to payment for at least 2 chronic conditions commencing by no later than July 1, 2011.  The division shall file reports on the efforts it undertakes to provide support for providers and payers to enter into bundled arrangements and on the progress made toward implementing the goals described in the preceding sentence of this section.  Such reports shall be filed with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives and with the governor not later than January 31, 2011, not later than July 29, 2011 and not later than December 30, 2011.

SECTION   The division of insurance shall conduct a study to ensure that the carrier reporting deadlines included in subsections (b) and (c) of section 6 of chapter 176J of the General Laws are of the appropriate duration to enable carriers to collect sufficient information with which to ensure the accuracy of proposed plan changes.  If the division determines that a reporting date of 90 days prior to the effective date of plan changes is inappropriate, the division shall determine the appropriate length of time for carriers to report plan changes to the division of insurance and the attorney general and shall make such recommendation to the general court.  The study shall be completed by July 31, 2011 and filed with the clerks of the house of representative and senate, the chairs of the joint committee on health care financing and the chairs of the house and senate committee on ways and means.

SECTION   For small group base rate factors applied under section 3 of chapter 176J  between October 1, 2010 and June 30, 2012,   a carrier shall limit the effect of the application of any single or combination of rate adjustment factors identified in paragraphs (2) to (6), inclusive, of subsection (a) of said chapter 3 of said chapter 176J of the General Laws that are used in the calculation of   an individual’s or small group’s premium so that the final annual premium charged to an individual or small group does not increase by more than an amount established annually by the commissioner by regulation.

              SECTION 66A. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, a participating provider, as defined in chapter 176O of the General Laws, may contract with a carrier, as defined in chapter 176J of the General Laws, to provide one-time supplemental funding for the purposes of issuing refunds for all health benefit plans issued to its current eligible individuals and small groups under said chapter 176J.   The refund may take the form of either a refund on the premium for the applicable 12-month period or any other form determined by the parties by contract. The division of insurance may require the filing of such contracts after execution for the purposes of ensuring distribution as provided in the contracts.   The division shall issue a public report by December 31, 2010 detailing the participating providers who have entered into such contracts in calendar year 2010, the amount of one-time supplemental funding by participating provider, and the estimated aggregate refunds to be provided to eligible individuals and small groups. The commissioner may issue further regulations as necessary to implement this section.

SECTION   (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, there shall be a special commission on provider price reform that shall investigate the rising cost of health care insurance and the impact of reimbursement rates paid by health insurers to providers.  The commission shall examine policies aimed at enhancing competition, fairness and cost-effectiveness in the health care market though the reduction of reimbursement disparities.  Any recommendations shall consider, and be consistent with, the recommendations of the special commission on payment system as authorized in section 44 of chapter 305 of the acts of 2008.

(b)     The commission shall consist of the secretary of administration and finance and the commissioner of health care finance and policy, who shall serve as co-chairs, the executive director of the group insurance commission, 1   person to be appointed by the senate president, 1 person to be appointed by the speaker of the house, and 5 members to be appointed by the Governor, 1   of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a representative of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Hospital Association, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Medical Society, and 1 of whom shall be a health economist or expert in the area of payment methodology.  The commission shall adopt rules and establish procedures it considers necessary for the conduct of its business.     The commission may expend funds as may be appropriated or made available for its purposes.     No action of the commission shall be considered official unless approved by a majority vote of the commission members.

(c)     The commission shall examine: ( i ) the variation in relative prices paid to providers within similar provider groups; (ii) the variation in costs of providers for services of comparable acuity, quality and complexity;  (iii) the variation in volume of care provided at providers with low and high levels of relative prices or health status adjusted total medical expenses; (iv) the correlation between price paid to providers and (1) the quality of care, (2) the acuity of the patient population, (3) the provider’s payor mix, (4) the provision of unique services, including specialty teaching services and community services, and (5) operational costs, including labor costs; (iii) the correlation between price paid to providers and, in the case of hospitals, status as a disproportionate share hospital, a specialty hospital, a pediatric specialty hospital or as an academic teaching hospital; and (v) policies to promote  the use of providers with low health status adjusted total medical expenses.

(d)   In making its investigation, the commission shall consult with the attorney general, the health care quality and cost council, the division of health care finance and policy, health care economists, and other individuals or organizations with expertise in state and federal health care payment methodologies and reforms. The commission shall use data and recommendations gathered in the course of these consultations as a basis for its findings and recommendations.

(e)   The commission shall file a report of its findings and recommendations.

Before a final vote on any recommendations, the commission shall consult with a reasonable variety of parties likely to be affected by its recommendations, including, but not limited to, the office of Medicaid, the division of health care finance and policy, the commonwealth health insurance connector, the Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals, Inc., the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, Inc., 1 or more academic medical centers, 1 or more hospitals with a high proportion of public payors , 1 or more Taft-Hartley plans, 1 or more self-insured plans with membership of more than 500, the Massachusetts Municipal Association, Inc. and organizations representing health care consumers. The commission shall file the report of its findings and recommendations, with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives and with the governor not later than February 1, 2011.

SECTION   Sections 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 34, 36, 39, 43, 46, 47, 48, 49, 51, 60, 61, 65, 66 shall take effect on October 1, 2010.

SECTION   Section 30 shall take effect on October 1, 2011.

SECTION   Section 31 shall take effect on October 1, 2012.

SECTION   Sections 14, 35, 41, 62 shall take effect on July 1, 2012.

SECTION   Sections 38, 42, 44, 45 shall take effect on July 1, 2011.

SECTION   Sections 32, 37, 40 shall take effect on January 1, 2011.

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