Senate Bill 552 History
Senate Bill No. 552
(By Senators Minard and Kessler)
[Introduced March 11, 2009; referred to the Committee on Banking
A BILL to repeal §33-15D-1, §33-15D-2, §33-15D-3, §33-15D-4, §33-
15D-5, §33-15D-6, §33-15D-7, §33-15D-8, §33-15D-9, §33-15D-10
and §33-15D-11 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended;
to amend and reenact §33-16F-1, §33-16F-2, §33-16F-3, §33-16F-
4, §33-16F-5, §33-16F-6, §33-16F-7 and §33-16F-8 of said code;
and to amend said code by adding thereto two new sections,
designated §33-16F-9 and §33-16F-10, all relating to health
insurance; requiring the Insurance Commissioner to invite
carriers and other entities to submit proposals for affordable
health insurance plans; defining terms; specifying that plans
do not create an entitlement; establishing eligibility and
standards for such plans; providing for evaluation of the
plans and reports to the Legislature; providing for
continuation of existing limited benefit plans; and
authorizing emergency legislative rules.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §33-15D-1, §33-15D-2, §33-15D-3, §33-15D-4, §33-15D-5,
§33-15D-6, §33-15D-7, §33-15D-8, §33-15D-9, §33-15D-10 and §33-15D-
11 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be repealed;
that §33-16F-1, §33-16F-2, §33-16F-3, §33-16F-4, §33-16F-5, §33-
16F-6, §33-16F-7 and §33-16F-8 of said code be amended and
reenacted; and that said code be amended by adding thereto two new
sections, designated §33-16F-9 and §33-16F-10, all to read as
ARTICLE 16F. WEST VIRGINIA AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE PLAN.
§33-16F-1. Legislative intent.
The Legislature finds that the inability of a significant
number of state residents to obtain affordable health insurance
coverage adversely affects everyone in our state. Therefore, it is
the intent of the Legislature to expand the availability of health
care options for uninsured residents by developing affordable
health care products that emphasize coverage for basic and
preventive health care services, provide inpatient hospital and
emergency care services and offer optional catastrophic coverage.
As used in this article:
"West Virginia Affordable health care plan" means a health
insurance plan approved under this article.
"West Virginia affordable health care plan entity" or "plan
entity" means an entity licensed under this chapter that develops
and proposes a West Virginia Affordable health care plan and, if
the plan is approved, is responsible for administering the plan and
paying claims of plan enrollees.
"Enrollee" means an individual who has been determined to be
eligible for and is receiving health insurance coverage under a
West Virginia Affordable health care plan.
§33-16F-3. Plan proposals; approval of plans.
(a) The commissioner shall announce, no later than July 1,
2009, an invitation to prospective West Virginia Affordable health
care plan entities to submit West Virginia Affordable health care
plan proposals. The invitation shall include guidelines for the
review of West Virginia Affordable health care plan applications,
policies and associated rates.
(b) In reviewing proposals under this article, the
commissioner shall consider the proposed plans' effectiveness in
improving the health status of individuals, their impact on
maintaining and improving health, and their potential to reduce the
unnecessary consumption of health care services.
§33-16F-4. Required plan provisions; grounds for disapproval;
(a) To be approved, plan entities must assure that each
proposed plan will provide cost containment through the use of plan
design features such as limits on the number of services, caps on benefit payments or copayments for services.
(b) To provide consumer choice, plan entities must develop and
submit two alternative benefit option plans having different cost
and benefit levels, including at least one plan that provides
(1) Plans without catastrophic coverage must provide coverage
for preventive health services that include, but are not limited
to, one or more of the following: Immunizations; annual health
assessments; preventive screenings such as mammograms, cervical
cancer screenings and noninvasive colorectal or prostate
screenings; incentives for routine preventive care; and office
visits for the diagnosis and treatment of illness or injury and
(2) Plans providing catastrophic coverage must, at a minimum,
provide coverage for preventive health services and inpatient
hospital stays and may also include coverage of one or more of the
following: Hospital emergency care services and outpatient
facility services; outpatient surgery; or outpatient diagnostic
(c) All plans must offer prescription drug benefit coverage.
(d) Plan enrollment materials must provide information in
plain language on policy benefit coverage, benefit limits, cost-
sharing requirements, exclusions, and a clear representation of
what is not covered in the plan. The enrollment materials must include a standard disclosure form developed by the commissioner
that must be reviewed and executed by all consumers purchasing West
Virginia Affordable health care plan coverage.
(e) The commissioner shall disapprove any plan that:
(1) Contains any ambiguous, inconsistent or misleading
provisions or any exceptions or conditions that deceptively affect
or limit the benefits purported to be assumed in the general
coverage provided by the plan;
(2) Provides benefits that are unreasonable in relation to the
premium charged; or
(3) Contains provisions that are unfair or inequitable,
contrary to the public policy of this state, encourage
misrepresentation or result in unfair discrimination in sales
§33-16F-5. Eligibility of individuals and groups.
(a) Individuals. -- Eligibility to enroll in an individual
West Virginia Affordable health care plan is limited to any
resident of this state who:
(1) Is not covered by a private insurance policy and is not
eligible for coverage under an employer-sponsored group plan or
through a public health insurance program, such as Medicare,
Medicaid, or the state Children's Health Insurance Program; and
(2) Has not been covered by any health insurance program at
any time during the past six months, unless coverage under a health insurance program was terminated within the previous six months due
to loss of a job that provided an employer-sponsored health benefit
plan or death of, or divorce from, a spouse who was provided an
employer-sponsored health benefit plan or, with respect to a public
health insurance program, eligibility for such program was lost due
to an inability to meet income or categorical requirements:
That an individual may not be excluded from enrollment in
a West Virginia Affordable health care plan on the ground that he
or she is eligible for or is enrolled in a COBRA plan.
(b) Group. --
An otherwise eligible group may not obtain
coverage under a West Virginia Affordable health care plan unless
the group has not had coverage under any health insurance plan at
any time during the previous six months.
§33-16F-6. Regulation and marketing of plans.
(a) The commissioner shall issue guidelines to ensure that
West Virginia Affordable health care plans meet minimum standards
for quality of and access to care.
(b) Initial filings and changes in West Virginia Affordable
health care plan benefits, premiums and policy forms are subject to
regulatory oversight by the commissioner.
(c) The commissioner shall develop a public awareness program
to be implemented throughout the state for the promotion of the
plans approved under this article, which may include assistance
from state health insurance benefits advisors.
(d) Each West Virginia Affordable health care plan must
maintain enrollment data and provide network data and reasonable
records to enable the commissioner to assess the plans.
§33-16F-7. Applicability of certain provisions; commissioner's
authority to forbear from applying certain
(a) Individual plans.
-- Only the following provisions of
article fifteen of this chapter apply to West Virginia entities
offering individual plans pursuant to this article: Sections two-
a, two-d, two-e, three, four, four-e, four-g, five, six, seven,
eight, nine, eighteen and nineteen. Notwithstanding any other
provision of this code, the provisions of article twenty-eight of
this chapter and legislative rules regulating individual accident
and sickness policies, including the rule contained in series 12,
title 114 of the West Virginia Code of State Rules, do not apply to
individual plans issued pursuant to this article unless and to the
extent specifically incorporated in rules promulgated pursuant to
the authority conferred by section eleven of this article.
(b) Group plans. --
Only the following provisions of article
sixteen of this chapter apply to insurers offering group plans
pursuant to this article: Sections one-a, three, three-j, three-k,
three-l, three-m, three-n, three-p, four, five, six, seven, nine,
ten, eleven, thirteen, fourteen and fifteen; all other provisions
of article sixteen do not apply to group plans approved pursuant to this article unless and to the extent the provisions are
specifically incorporated in rules promulgated by the commissioner.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this code or of the code of
state rules, the provisions of article sixteen-e of this chapter
and of legislative rules regulating group accident and sickness
policies, including the rule set forth in series 39, title 114 of
the West Virginia Code of State Rules, do not apply to group plans
approved pursuant to this article unless and to the extent
specifically incorporated in rules promulgated by the commissioner
pursuant to the authority conferred by section eleven of this
(c) Small group plans.
With respect to any group plan
approved under this article and offered to any "small employer," as
that term is defined in section two, article sixteen-d of this
chapter, the following provisions of article sixteen-d apply:
Sections two, four, seven, eight, twelve and thirteen: Provided,
That only the sentence preceding the proviso in section thirteen,
article sixteen-d of this chapter applies to small employer plans
approved pursuant to this article. Notwithstanding any other
provision of this code, all other provisions of article sixteen-d
of this chapter do not apply to small employer plans approved
pursuant to this article unless and to the extent such provisions
are specifically incorporated in rules promulgated by the
(d) Forbearance by the commissioner. --
The commissioner may
forbear from applying any other statutory or regulatory
requirements to an insurer offering an individual or group plan
approved pursuant to this article, including any requirements in
articles twenty-four and twenty-five-a, if he or she determines
that such forbearance serves the principles set forth in section
one of this article.
(e) Existing limited benefit plans. --
Plans approved pursuant
to the provisions of article fifteen-d of this chapter, as that
article existed prior to its repeal during the 2009 regular
legislative session, and this article, as that it existed prior to
its amendment and reenactment during the 2009 regular legislative
session, remain in effect and are subject to those provisions.
§33-16F-8. Assessment of the West Virginia program.
The commissioner shall:
(1) Provide an assessment of the West Virginia affordable
health care plans and their potential applicability in other
(2) Use West Virginia Affordable health care plans to gather
more information to evaluate low-income, consumer-driven benefit
(3) Submit by March 1, 2011 and annually thereafter, a report
to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of
the House of Delegates that provides the information specified in this section and recommendations relating to the successful
implementation and administration of the program.
Coverage under a West Virginia Affordable health care plan is
not an entitlement, and a cause of action does not arise against
the state, a local government entity, any other political
subdivision of the state, or any agency for failure to make
coverage available to eligible persons under this article.
§33-16F-10. Emergency and legislative rules authorized.
The commissioner may promulgate emergency and legislative
rules under the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a
of this code, to prescribe requirements regarding rate making,
which may include rules establishing loss ratio standards for the
plans; to place limitations on eligibility for coverage under the
approved plans; to establish standards to determine whether a plan
qualifies as creditable coverage; to determine what medical
treatments, procedures and related health services benefits must be
included in the plans; and to provide for any other matters deemed
necessary to further the intent of this article.
NOTE: This bill repeals the existing provisions on limited
benefit plans and creates a new program under which insurance
companies would submit limited benefit plans, individual and group,
for approval by the commissioner and provides for the marketing of
such plans by the commissioner.
Article 16F has been completely rewritten; therefore, strike-
throughs and underscoring have been omitted.