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The 189th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 3: Individual and small group plans; group base premium rate; filing plan with connector; investigation of deviations from group base premium rate

Section 3. (a) (1) For every health benefit plan issued or renewed to eligible individuals and eligible small groups, including a certificate issued to an eligible individual or eligible small group that evidences coverage under a policy or contract issued or renewed to a trust, association or other entity that is not a group health plan, a carrier shall develop a group base premium rate that is the same for eligible individuals and eligible small groups. In developing these merged market group base premium rates, carriers:

(i) with respect to the group base premium rate developed for eligible individuals and eligible small groups, a carrier shall consider all enrollees in those health plans, other than grandfathered health plans, offered by such carrier to be members of a merged individual and small group risk pool;

(ii) in calculating the premium to be charged to each eligible individual or eligible small group, a carrier shall develop a base premium and use only those rate adjustment factors identified in this section, inclusive, for all insured health benefit plans offered to eligible individuals and eligible small groups, respectively, with all other rating adjustments being prohibited;

(iii) may offer any rate basis types, but rate basis types that are offered to any eligible individual or eligible small group shall be offered to every eligible individual or eligible small group for all coverage issued or renewed; provided, however, that if an eligible small group does not meet a carrier's minimum or participation contribution requirements, the carrier may separately rate each employee as an eligible individual, as set forth in clause (i);

(iv) shall apply the same rating factors when calculating premiums for eligible individuals as are used when calculating premiums for eligible small groups; and

(v) notwithstanding this section, all carriers offering any coverage to any eligible individual or eligible small group shall make that coverage available to every eligible individual and eligible small group.

(2) The commissioner shall annually file with the United States Department of Health and Human Services to establish a standard age rate adjustment factor table so that the ratio of the highest factor for adults over age 20 compared to the lowest factor for adults over age 20 shall not exceed a ratio of 2-to-1. A carrier that elects to apply standard age rate adjustment factors shall apply them based upon the covered person's age when the coverage period begins.

(3) The commissioner shall annually file with the United States Department of Health and Human Services to establish not more than 7 distinct regions of the state for the purposes of area rate adjustments. A carrier may establish an area rate adjustment for each distinct region, the value of which shall range from.8 to 1.2. If a carrier chooses to apply area rate adjustments, every eligible individual and eligible small group within each area shall be subject to the applicable area rate adjustment.

(4) A carrier shall establish a basis type rate adjustment factor for eligible individuals and eligible small groups which shall vary the rate only on the basis of whether the health benefit plan covers an individual or family. For purposes of this section, the total premium for family coverage must be determined by summing the premiums for each individual family member. With respect to family members under the age of 21, the premiums for not more than the 3 oldest covered children must be taken into account in determining the total family premium.

(5) The commissioner shall annually file with the United States Department of Health and Human Services to establish a standard tobacco use factor. A carrier may apply a tobacco use rate factor in a manner permitted under state and federal law that applies to both eligible small groups and eligible individuals; provided, however, that the carrier uses a certification of tobacco use process that has been approved by the commissioner to determine that eligible individuals and their eligible dependents or eligible small group employees and their eligible dependents have not used tobacco products within the past year.

(6) A carrier may establish a benefit level rate adjustment for all eligible individuals and eligible small groups that shall be expressed as a number. The number shall represent the relative actuarial value of the benefit level, including the health care delivery network, of the health benefit plan issued to that eligible individual or eligible small group as compared to the actuarial value of other health benefit plans within that class of business. If a carrier chooses to establish benefit level rate adjustments, every eligible individual and every eligible small group shall be subject to the applicable benefit level rate adjustment.

(7) A carrier shall not apply any rate adjustment factor to the group base premium rate, other than those set forth herein.

(b) (1) A carrier that, 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 pursuant to its license under chapter 176G, shall be required annually to file a plan with the connector for its consideration, which meets the requirements for the connector seal of approval pursuant to section 10 of chapter 176Q; provided, however, that the plan shall be filed not later than October 1.

(2) A carrier that, 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 pursuant to its authority under chapter 175, 176A or 176B, shall be required annually to file a plan with the connector for its consideration, which meets the requirements for the connector seal of approval pursuant to section 10 of chapter 176Q; provided, however, that the plan shall be filed not later than October 1.

(c) For the purposes of this section, no eligible individual, eligible employee, or eligible dependent shall be considered to be enrolled in a health benefit plan issued pursuant to a carrier's authority under chapter 175, 176A or 176B if the health benefit plan is sold, issued, delivered, made effective or renewed to said eligible employee or eligible dependent as a supplement to a health benefit plan subject to licensure under chapter 176G.

(d) The commissioner may conduct an examination with respect to the derivation of group base premium rates used to develop individual group premiums in order to identify whether any expenses inappropriately increase the cost in relation to the risks of the merged individual and small group health insurance market.