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PDFWAC 284-43-0290

Small group coverage market transition requirements.

(1) For all nongrandfathered small group plans issued and in effect prior to January 1, 2014, in 2014 issuers must replace issued nongrandfathered small group health benefit plans with health benefit plans approved by the commissioner as follows:
(a) An issuer may elect to withdraw a product pursuant to RCW 48.43.035, and discontinue each health benefit plan in force under that product on the same date, requiring groups to select a replacement plan to be effective on the date of discontinuation; or
(b) An issuer may discontinue a small group's coverage at renewal and offer the full range of plans the issuer offers in the small group market as replacement options, to take effect on the small group's renewal date. For small groups covered by nongrandfathered health benefit plans purchased based on an association or member-governed group affiliation or membership, the requirements of WAC 284-43-0310 and 284-43-0330 apply;
(c) If an issuer does not have a replacement plan approved by the commissioner to offer in place of the discontinued plan, the issuer must assist each enrollee in identifying a replacement option offered by another issuer.
(2) If an issuer selects the replacement option described in subsection (1)(b) of this section, the issuer must provide the small group plan sponsor with written notice of the discontinuation and replacement options not later than ninety days before the renewal date for the small group's coverage. The commissioner may, for good cause shown, permit a shorter notice period for providing the replacement option information to a group. The written notice must contain the following information:
(a) Specific descriptions of the replacement plans for which the small group and its enrollees are eligible, both on or off the health benefit exchange. At the issuer's discretion, rate information may but is not required to be, included in the notice describing the replacement plans, provided subsequent rating information is provided with renewal;
(b) Electronic link information to the summary of benefits and explanation of coverage for each replacement plan option;
(c) Contact information to access assistance from the issuer in selecting the replacement plan option or answering enrollee questions about the replacement plans made available to them by their employer.
(3) For either replacement option set forth in subsection (1) of this section, the issuer must provide a separate written notice to each enrollee notifying the enrollee that their small group plan coverage will be discontinued and replaced. The notice must be provided not later than ninety days prior to the discontinuation and replacement date.
(4) If an issuer has electronic mail contact information for the small group plan sponsor or the enrollees, the written notice may be provided electronically. The issuer must be able to document to the commissioner's satisfaction both the content and timing of transmission. The issuer must send written notice by U.S. mail to a sponsor or enrollee for whom the electronic mail message was rejected.
(5) An issuer may offer small groups the option to voluntarily discontinue and replace their coverage prior to their renewal date.
(a) An issuer must not selectively offer early renewal to small groups, but must make this option universally available.
(b) An issuer must not alter or change a small group's renewal date to lengthen the period of time before discontinuation and replacement occurs in 2014. For example, if a small group's renewal date is March 31st of each year, the issuer may not adjust the small group's benefit year in 2013 to effect a renewal date of November 30th.
(6) This section applies to each health benefit plan that provides coverage based on receipt of claims for services, even if the coverage falls under one of the categories excepted from the definition of "health plan" as set forth in RCW 48.43.005 (26)(i) and (l). This section does not apply to a health benefit plan that provides per diem or single payment coverage based on a triggering event or diagnosis regardless of the medical necessity of the type or range of services received by an enrollee.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 48.02.060. WSR 16-14-106 (Matter No. R 2016-11), § 284-43-0290, filed 7/6/16, effective 8/6/16. WSR 16-01-081, recodified as § 284-43-0290, filed 12/14/15, effective 12/14/15. Statutory Authority: RCW 48.02.060, 48.43.700, 48.43.715, 48.44.050, 48.46.200, and 45 C.F.R. 150.101(2). WSR 14-01-039 (Matter No. R 2013-13), § 284-170-954, filed 12/11/13, effective 1/11/14.]
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