§ 38.2-3431

Application of article; definitions

A. This article applies to group health plans and to health insurance issuers offering group health insurance coverage, and individual policies offered to employees of small employers.Each insurer proposing to issue individual or group accident and sickness insurance policies providing hospital, medical and surgical or major medical coverage on an expense incurred basis, each corporation providing individual or group accident and sickness subscription contracts, and each health maintenance organization or multiple employer welfare arrangement providing health care plans for health care services that offers individual or group coverage to the small employer market in this Commonwealth shall be subject to the provisions of this article. Any issuer of individual coverage to employees of a small employer shall be subject to the provisions of this article if any of the following conditions are met:

1. Any portion of the premiums or benefits is paid by or on behalf of the employer;

2. The eligible employee or dependent is reimbursed, whether through wage adjustments or otherwise, by or on behalf of the employer for any portion of the premium;

3. The employer has permitted payroll deduction for the covered individual and any portion of the premium is paid by the employer, provided that the health insurance issuer providing individual coverage under such circumstances shall be registered as a health insurance issuer in the small group market under this article, and shall have offered small employer group insurance to the employer in the manner required under this article; or

4. The health benefit plan is treated by the employer or any of the covered individuals as part of a plan or program for the purpose of § 106, 125, or 162 of the United States Internal Revenue Code.

B. For the purposes of this article:”Actuarial certification” means a written statement by a member of the American Academy of Actuaries or other individual acceptable to the Commission that a health insurance issuer is in compliance with the provisions of this article based upon the person’s examination, including a review of the appropriate records and of the actuarial assumptions and methods used by the health insurance issuer in establishing premium rates for applicable insurance coverage.”Affiliation period” means a period which, under the terms of the health insurance coverage offered by a health maintenance organization, must expire before the health insurance coverage becomes effective. The health maintenance organization is not required to provide health care services or benefits during such period and no premium shall be charged to the participant or beneficiary for any coverage during the period.

1. Such period shall begin on the enrollment date.

2. An affiliation period under a plan shall run concurrently with any waiting period under the plan.”Beneficiary” has the meaning given such term under section 3(8) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. § 1002 (8)).”Bona fide association” means, with respect to health insurance coverage offered in this Commonwealth, an association which:

1. Has been actively in existence for at least five years;

2. Has been formed and maintained in good faith for purposes other than obtaining insurance;

3. Does not condition membership in the association on any health status-related factor relating to an individual (including an employee of an employer or a dependent of an employee);

4. Makes health insurance coverage offered through the association available to all members regardless of any health status-related factor relating to such members (or individuals eligible for coverage through a member);

5. Does not make health insurance coverage offered through the association available other than in connection with a member of the association; and

6. Meets such additional requirements as may be imposed under the laws of this Commonwealth.”Certification” means a written certification of the period of creditable coverage of an individual under a group health plan and coverage provided by a health insurance issuer offering group health insurance coverage and the coverage if any under such COBRA continuation provision, and the waiting period if any and affiliation period if applicable imposed with respect to the individual for any coverage under such plan.”Church plan” has the meaning given such term under section 3(33) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. § 1002 (33)).”COBRA continuation provision” means any of the following:

1. Section 4980B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986(26 U.S.C. § 4980B), other than subsection (f)(1) of such section insofar as it relates to pediatric vaccines;

2. Part 6 of subtitle B of Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. § 1161 et seq.), other than section 609 of such Act; or

3. Title XXII of P.L. 104-191.”Creditable coverage” means with respect to an individual, coverage of the individual under any of the following:

1. A group health plan;

2. Health insurance coverage;

3. Part A or B of Title XVIII of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 1395c or § 1395);

4. Title XIX of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 1396 et seq.), other than coverage consisting solely of benefits under section 1928;

5. Chapter 55 of Title 10, United States Code (10 U.S.C. § 1071 et seq.);

6. A medical care program of the Indian Health Service or of a tribal organization;

7. A state health benefits risk pool;

8. A health plan offered under Chapter 89 of Title 5, United States Code (5 U.S.C. § 8901 et seq.);

9. A public health plan (as defined in federal regulations);

10. A health benefit plan under section 5 (e) of the Peace Corps Act (22 U.S.C. § 2504(e)); or

11. Individual health insurance coverage.Such term does not include coverage consisting solely of coverage of excepted benefits.”Dependent” means the spouse or child of an eligible employee, subject to the applicable terms of the policy, contract or plan covering the eligible employee.”Eligible employee” means an employee who works for a small group employer on a full-time basis, has a normal work week of 30 or more hours, has satisfied applicable waiting period requirements, and is not a part-time, temporary or substitute employee. At the employer’s sole discretion, the eligibility criterion may be broadened to include part-time employees.”Eligible individual” means such an individual in relation to the employer as shall be determined:

1. In accordance with the terms of such plan;

2. As provided by the health insurance issuer under rules of the health insurance issuer which are uniformly applicable to employers in the group market; and

3. In accordance with all applicable law of this Commonwealth governing such issuer and such market.”Employee” has the meaning given such term under section 3(6) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. § 1002 (6)).”Employer” has the meaning given such term under section 3(5) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. § 1002 (5)), except that such term shall include only employers of two or more employees.”Enrollment date” means, with respect to an eligible individual covered under a group health plan or health insurance coverage, the date of enrollment of the eligible individual in the plan or coverage or, if earlier, the first day of the waiting period for such enrollment.”Excepted benefits” means benefits under one or more (or any combination thereof) of the following:

1. Benefits not subject to requirements of this article:

a. Coverage only for accident, or disability income insurance, or any combination thereof;

b. Coverage issued as a supplement to liability insurance;

c. Liability insurance, including general liability insurance and automobile liability insurance;

d. Workers’ compensation or similar insurance;

e. Medical expense and loss of income benefits;

f. Credit-only insurance;

g. Coverage for on-site medical clinics; and

h. Other similar insurance coverage, specified in regulations, under which benefits for medical care are secondary or incidental to other insurance benefits.

2. Benefits not subject to requirements of this article if offered separately:

a. Limited scope dental or vision benefits;

b. Benefits for long-term care, nursing home care, home health care, community-based care, or any combination thereof; and

c. Such other similar, limited benefits as are specified in regulations.

3. Benefits not subject to requirements of this article if offered as independent, noncoordinated benefits:

a. Coverage only for a specified disease or illness; and

b. Hospital indemnity or other fixed indemnity insurance.

4. Benefits not subject to requirements of this article if offered as separate insurance policy:

a. Medicare supplemental health insurance (as defined under section 1882 (g)(1) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 1395ss (g)(1));

b. Coverage supplemental to the coverage provided under Chapter 55 of Title 10, United States Code (10 U.S.C. § 1071 et seq.); and

c. Similar supplemental coverage provided to coverage under a group health plan.”Federal governmental plan” means a governmental plan established or maintained for its employees by the government of the United States or by an agency or instrumentality of such government.”Governmental plan” has the meaning given such term under section 3(32) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. § 1002 (32)) and any federal governmental plan.”Group health insurance coverage” means in connection with a group health plan, health insurance coverage offered in connection with such plan.”Group health plan” means an employee welfare benefit plan (as defined in section 3 (1) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. § 1002 (1)), to the extent that the plan provides medical care and including items and services paid for as medical care to employees or their dependents (as defined under the terms of the plan) directly or through insurance, reimbursement, or otherwise.”Health benefit plan” means any accident and health insurance policy or certificate, health services plan contract, health maintenance organization subscriber contract, plan provided by a MEWA or plan provided by another benefit arrangement. “Health benefit plan” does not mean accident only, credit, or disability insurance; coverage of Medicare services or federal employee health plans, pursuant to contracts with the United States government; Medicare supplement or long-term care insurance; Medicaid coverage; dental only or vision only insurance; specified disease insurance; hospital confinement indemnity coverage; limited benefit health coverage; coverage issued as a supplement to liability insurance; insurance arising out of a workers’ compensation or similar law; automobile medical payment insurance; medical expense and loss of income benefits; or insurance under which benefits are payable with or without regard to fault and that is statutorily required to be contained in any liability insurance policy or equivalent self-insurance.”Health insurance coverage” means benefits consisting of medical care (provided directly, through insurance or reimbursement, or otherwise and including items and services paid for as medical care) under any hospital or medical service policy or certificate, hospital or medical service plan contract, or health maintenance organization contract offered by a health insurance issuer.”Health insurance issuer” means an insurance company, or insurance organization (including a health maintenance organization) which is licensed to engage in the business of insurance in this Commonwealth and which is subject to the laws of this Commonwealth which regulate insurance within the meaning of section 514 (b)(2) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. § 1144 (b)(2)). Such term does not include a group health plan.”Health maintenance organization” means:

1. A federally qualified health maintenance organization;

2. An organization recognized under the laws of this Commonwealth as a health maintenance organization; or

3. A similar organization regulated under the laws of this Commonwealth for solvency in the same manner and to the same extent as such a health maintenance organization.”Health status-related factor” means the following in relation to the individual or a dependent eligible for coverage under a group health plan or health insurance coverage offered by a health insurance issuer:

1. Health status;

2. Medical condition (including both physical and mental illnesses);

3. Claims experience;

4. Receipt of health care;

5. Medical history;

6. Genetic information;

7. Evidence of insurability (including conditions arising out of acts of domestic violence); or

8. Disability.”Individual health insurance coverage” means health insurance coverage offered to individuals in the individual market, but does not include coverage defined as excepted benefits. Individual health insurance coverage does not include short-term limited duration coverage.”Individual market” means the market for health insurance coverage offered to individuals other than in connection with a group health plan.”Large employer” means, in connection with a group health plan or health insurance coverage with respect to a calendar year and a plan year, an employer who employed an average of at least 51 employees on business days during the preceding calendar year and who employs at least one employee on the first day of the plan year.”Large group market” means the health insurance market under which individuals obtain health insurance coverage (directly or through any arrangement) on behalf of themselves (and their dependents) through a group health plan maintained by a large employer.”Late enrollee” means, with respect to coverage under a group health plan or health insurance coverage provided by a health insurance issuer, a participant or beneficiary who enrolls under the plan other than during:

1. The first period in which the individual is eligible to enroll under the plan; or

2. A special enrollment period as required pursuant to subsections J through M of § 38.2-3432.3.”Medical care” means amounts paid for:

1. The diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or amounts paid for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body;

2. Transportation primarily for and essential to medical care referred to in subdivision 1; and

3. Insurance covering medical care referred to in subdivisions 1 and 2.”Network plan” means health insurance coverage of a health insurance issuer under which the financing and delivery of medical care (including items and services paid for as medical care) are provided, in whole or in part, through a defined set of providers under contract with the health insurance issuer.”Nonfederal governmental plan” means a governmental plan that is not a federal governmental plan.”Participant” has the meaning given such term under section 3(7) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. § 1002 (7)).”Placed for adoption,” or “placement” or “being placed” for adoption, in connection with any placement for adoption of a child with any person, means the assumption and retention by such person of a legal obligation for total or partial support of such child in anticipation of adoption of such child. The child’s placement with such person terminates upon the termination of such legal obligation.”Plan sponsor” has the meaning given such term under section 3(16)(B) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. § 1002 (16)(B)).”Preexisting condition exclusion” means, with respect to coverage, a limitation or exclusion of benefits relating to a condition based on the fact that the condition was present before the date of enrollment for such coverage, whether or not any medical advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment was recommended or received before such date. Genetic information shall not be treated as a preexisting condition in the absence of a diagnosis of the condition related to such information.”Premium” means all moneys paid by an employer and eligible employees as a condition of coverage from a health insurance issuer, including fees and other contributions associated with the health benefit plan.”Rating period” means the 12-month period for which premium rates are determined by a health insurance issuer and are assumed to be in effect.”Service area” means a broad geographic area of the Commonwealth in which a health insurance issuer sells or has sold insurance policies on or before January 1994, or upon its subsequent authorization to do business in Virginia.”Small employer” means in connection with a group health plan or health insurance coverage with respect to a calendar year and a plan year, an employer who employed an average of at least one but not more than 50 employees on business days during the preceding calendar year and who employs at least one employee on the first day of the plan year.”Small group market” means the health insurance market under which individuals obtain health insurance coverage (directly or through any arrangement) on behalf of themselves (and their dependents) through a group health plan maintained by a small employer.”State” means each of the several states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.”Waiting period” means, with respect to a group health plan or health insurance coverage provided by a health insurance issuer and an individual who is a potential participant or beneficiary in the plan, the period that must pass with respect to the individual before the individual is eligible to be covered for benefits under the terms of the plan. If an employee or dependent enrolls during a special enrollment period pursuant to subsections J through M of § 38.2-3432.3 or as a late enrollee, any period before such enrollment is not a waiting period.

C. The provisions of this section shall not apply in any instance in which the provisions of this section are inconsistent or in conflict with a provision of Article 6 (§ 38.2-3438 et seq.) of Chapter 34.

History

1992, c. 800; 1993, cc. 148, 960; 1994, c. 303; 1996, c. 262; 1997, cc. 415, 807, 913; 1998, cc. 24, 26; 1999, cc. 789, 815, 1004; 2003, c. 645; 2013, cc. 709, 751; 2016, c. 1.

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