TITLE 27
Insurance

CHAPTER 27-18.6
Large Group Health Insurance Coverage

SECTION 27-18.6-3


§ 27-18.6-3 Limitation on preexisting condition exclusion.

(a)(1) Notwithstanding any of the provisions of this title to the contrary, a group health plan and a health insurance carrier offering group health insurance coverage shall not deny, exclude, or limit benefits with respect to a participant or beneficiary because of a preexisting condition exclusion except if:

(i) The exclusion relates to a condition (whether physical or mental), regardless of the cause of the condition, for which medical advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment was recommended or received within the six (6) month period ending on the enrollment date;

(ii) The exclusion extends for a period of not more than twelve (12) months (or eighteen (18) months in the case of a late enrollee) after the enrollment date; and

(iii) The period of the preexisting condition exclusion is reduced by the aggregate of the periods of creditable coverage, if any, applicable to the participant or the beneficiary as of the enrollment date.

(2) For purposes of this section, genetic information shall not be treated as a preexisting condition in the absence of a diagnosis of the condition related to that information.

(b) With respect to paragraph (a)(1)(iii) of this section, a period of creditable coverage shall not be counted, with respect to enrollment of an individual under a group health plan, if, after that period and before the enrollment date, there was a sixty-three (63) day period during which the individual was not covered under any creditable coverage.

(c) Any period that an individual is in a waiting period for any coverage under a group health plan or for group health insurance or is in an affiliation period shall not be taken into account in determining the continuous period under subsection (b) of this section.

(d) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (e) of this section, for purposes of applying paragraph (a)(1)(iii) of this section, a group health plan and a health insurance carrier offering group health insurance coverage shall count a period of creditable coverage without regard to the specific benefits covered during the period.

(e)(1) A group health plan or a health insurance carrier offering group health insurance may elect to apply paragraph (a)(1)(iii) of this section based on coverage of benefits within each of several classes or categories of benefits. Those classes or categories of benefits are to be determined by the secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to regulation. The election shall be made on a uniform basis for all participants and beneficiaries. Under the election, a group health plan or carrier shall count a period of creditable coverage with respect to any class or category of benefits if any level of benefits is covered within the class or category.

(2) In the case of an election under this subsection with respect to a group health plan (whether or not health insurance coverage is provided in connection with that plan), the plan shall:

(i) Prominently state in any disclosure statements concerning the plan, and state to each enrollee under the plan, that the plan has made the election; and

(ii) Include in the statements a description of the effect of this election.

(3) In the case of an election under this subsection with respect to health insurance coverage offered by a carrier in the large group market, the carrier shall:

(i) Prominently state in any disclosure statements concerning the coverage, and to each employer at the time of the offer or sale of the coverage, that the carrier has made the election; and

(ii) Include in the statements a description of the effect of the election.

(f)(1) A group health plan and a health insurance carrier offering group health insurance coverage may not impose any preexisting condition exclusion in the case of an individual who, as of the last day of the thirty (30) day period beginning with the date of birth, is covered under creditable coverage.

(2) Subdivision (1) of this subsection shall no longer apply to an individual after the end of the first sixty-three (63) day period during all of which the individual was not covered under any creditable coverage. Moreover, any period that an individual is in a waiting period for any coverage under a group health plan (or for group health insurance coverage) or is in an affiliation period shall not be taken into account in determining the continuous period for purposes of determining creditable coverage.

(g)(1) A group health plan and a health insurance carrier offering group health insurance coverage may not impose any preexisting condition exclusion in the case of a child who is adopted or placed for adoption before attaining eighteen (18) years of age and who, as of the last day of the thirty (30) day period beginning on the date of the adoption or placement for adoption, is covered under creditable coverage. The previous sentence does not apply to coverage before the date of the adoption or placement for adoption.

(2) Subdivision (1) of this subsection shall no longer apply to an individual after the end of the first sixty-three (63) day period during all of which the individual was not covered under any creditable coverage. Any period that an individual is in a waiting period for any coverage under a group health plan (or for group health insurance coverage) or is in an affiliation period shall not be taken into account in determining the continuous period for purposes of determining creditable coverage.

(h) A group health plan and a health insurance carrier offering group health insurance coverage may not impose any preexisting condition exclusion relating to pregnancy as a preexisting condition or with regard to an individual who is under nineteen (19) years of age.

(i)(1) Periods of creditable coverage with respect to an individual shall be established through presentation of certifications. A group health plan and a health insurance carrier offering group health insurance coverage shall provide certifications:

(i) At the time an individual ceases to be covered under the plan or becomes covered under a COBRA continuation provision;

(ii) In the case of an individual becoming covered under a continuation provision, at the time the individual ceases to be covered under that provision; and

(iii) On the request of an individual made not later than twenty-four (24) months after the date of cessation of the coverage described in paragraph (i) or (ii) of this subdivision, whichever is later.

(2) The certification under this subsection may be provided, to the extent practicable, at a time consistent with notices required under any applicable COBRA continuation provision.

(3) The certification described in this subsection is a written certification of:

(i) The period of creditable coverage of the individual under the plan and the coverage (if any) under the COBRA continuation provision; and

(ii) The waiting period (if any) (and affiliation period, if applicable) imposed with respect to the individual for any coverage under the plan.

(4) To the extent that medical care under a group health plan consists of group health insurance coverage, the plan is deemed to have satisfied the certification requirement under this subsection if the health insurance carrier offering the coverage provides for the certification in accordance with this subsection.

(5) In the case of an election taken pursuant to subsection (e) of this section by a group health plan or a health insurance carrier, if the plan or carrier enrolls an individual for coverage under the plan and the individual provides a certification of creditable coverage, upon request of the plan or carrier, the entity which issued the certification shall promptly disclose to the requisition plan or carrier information on coverage of classes and categories of health benefits available under that entity's plan or coverage, and the entity may charge the requesting plan or carrier for the reasonable cost of disclosing the information.

(6) Failure of an entity to provide information under this subsection with respect to previous coverage of an individual so as to adversely affect any subsequent coverage of the individual under another group health plan or health insurance coverage, as determined in accordance with rules and regulations established by the secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, is a violation of this chapter.

(j) A group health plan and a health insurance carrier offering group health insurance coverage in connection with a group health plan shall permit an employee who is eligible, but not enrolled, for coverage under the terms of the plan (or a dependent of an employee if the dependent is eligible, but not enrolled, for coverage under the terms) to enroll for coverage under the terms of the plan if each of the following conditions are met:

(1) The employee or dependent was covered under a group health plan or had health insurance coverage at the time coverage was previously offered to the employee or dependent;

(2) The employee stated in writing at the time that coverage under a group health plan or health insurance coverage was the reason for declining enrollment, but only if the plan sponsor or carrier (if applicable) required a statement at the time and provided the employee with notice of that requirement (and the consequences of the requirement) at the time;

(3) The employee's or dependent's coverage described in subsection (j)(1):

(i) Was under a COBRA continuation provision and the coverage under that provision was exhausted; or

(ii) Was not under a continuation provision and either the coverage was terminated as a result of loss of eligibility for the coverage (including as a result of legal separation, divorce, death, termination of employment, or reduction in the number of hours of employment) or employer contributions towards the coverage were terminated; and

(4) Under the terms of the plan, the employee requests enrollment not later than thirty (30) days after the date of exhaustion of coverage described in paragraph (3)(i) of this subsection or termination of coverage or employer contribution described in paragraph (3)(ii) of this subsection.

(k)(1) If a group health plan makes coverage available with respect to a dependent of an individual, the individual is a participant under the plan (or has met any waiting period applicable to becoming a participant under the plan and is eligible to be enrolled under the plan but for a failure to enroll during a previous enrollment period), and a person becomes a dependent of the individual through marriage, birth, or adoption or placement through adoption, the group health plan shall provide for a dependent special enrollment period during which the person (or, if not enrolled, the individual) may be enrolled under the plan as a dependent of the individual, and in the case of the birth or adoption of a child, the spouse of the individual may be enrolled as a dependent of the individual if the spouse is eligible for coverage.

(2) A dependent special enrollment period shall be a period of not less than thirty (30) days and shall begin on the later of:

(i) The date dependent coverage is made available; or

(ii) The date of the marriage, birth, or adoption or placement for adoption (as the case may be).

(3) If an individual seeks to enroll a dependent during the first thirty (30) days of a dependent special enrollment period, the coverage of the dependent shall become effective:

(i) In the case of marriage, not later than the first day of the first month beginning after the date the completed request for enrollment is received;

(ii) In the case of a dependent's birth, as of the date of the birth; or

(iii) In the case of a dependent's adoption or placement for adoption, the date of the adoption or placement for adoption.

(l)(1) A health maintenance organization which offers health insurance coverage in connection with a group health plan and which does not impose any preexisting condition exclusion allowed under subsection (a) of this section with respect to any particular coverage option may impose an affiliation period for the coverage option, but only if that period is applied uniformly without regard to any health status-related factors, and the period does not exceed two (2) months (or three (3) months in the case of a late enrollee).

(2) For the purposes of this subsection, an affiliation shall begin on the enrollment date.

(3) An affiliation period under a plan shall run concurrently with any waiting period under the plan.

(4) The director may approve alternative methods from those described under this subsection to address adverse selection.

(m) For the purpose of determining creditable coverage pursuant to this chapter, no period before July 1, 1996, shall be taken into account. Individuals who need to establish creditable coverage for periods before July 1, 1996, and who would have the coverage credited but for the prohibition in the preceding sentence may be given credit for creditable coverage for those periods through the presentation of documents or other means in accordance with any rule or regulation that may be established by the secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

(n) In the case of an individual who seeks to establish creditable coverage for any period for which certification is not required because it relates to an event occurring before June 30, 1996, the individual may present other credible evidence of coverage in order to establish the period of creditable coverage. The group health plan and a health insurance carrier shall not be subject to any penalty or enforcement action with respect to the plan's or carrier's crediting (or not crediting) the coverage if the plan or carrier has sought to comply in good faith with the applicable requirements of this section.

(o) Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or public law to the contrary, for plan or policy years beginning on and after January 1, 2014, a group health plan and a health insurance carrier offering group health insurance coverage shall not deny, exclude, or limit benefits with respect to a participant or beneficiary because of a preexisting condition exclusion.

History of Section.
(P.L. 2000, ch. 200, § 4; P.L. 2000, ch. 229, § 4; P.L. 2001, ch. 241, § 2; P.L. 2001, ch. 331, § 2; P.L. 2002, ch. 292, § 36; P.L. 2012, ch. 256, § 12; P.L. 2012, ch. 262, § 12.)