HOUSE BILL 24
47th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2006
RELATING TO HEALTH INSURANCE; EXPANDING THE HEALTH INSURANCE ALLIANCE COVERAGE TO EMPLOYERS WHOSE EMPLOYEES PARTICIPATE IN PUBLICLY OFFERED PROGRAMS BASED ON EMPLOYEES' INCOME.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
Section 1. Section 59A-56-14 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1994, Chapter 75, Section 14, as amended) is amended to read:
"59A-56-14. ELIGIBILITY--GUARANTEED ISSUE--PLAN PROVISIONS.--
A. A small employer is eligible for an approved health plan if on the effective date of coverage or renewal:
(1) at least fifty percent of its employees not otherwise insured elect to be covered under the approved health plan;
(2) the small employer has not terminated coverage with an approved health plan within three years of the date of application for coverage except to change to another approved health plan; and
(3) the small employer does not offer other general group health insurance coverage to its employees. For the purposes of this paragraph, general group health insurance coverage excludes coverage [providing] that:
(a) is offered by a state or federal agency to a small employer's employee whose eligibility for alternative coverage is based on the employee's income; or
(b) provides only a specific limited form of health insurance such as accident or disability income insurance coverage or a specific health care service such as dental care.
B. An individual is eligible for an approved health plan if on the effective date of coverage or renewal [he] the individual meets the definition of an eligible individual under Section 59A-56-3 NMSA 1978.
C. An approved health plan shall provide in substance that attainment of the limiting age by an unmarried dependent individual does not operate to terminate coverage when the individual continues to be incapable of self-sustaining employment by reason of developmental disability or physical handicap and the individual is primarily dependent for support and maintenance upon the employee. Proof of incapacity and dependency shall be furnished to the alliance and the member that offered the approved health plan within one hundred twenty days of attainment of the limiting age. The board may require subsequent proof annually after a two-year period following attainment of the limiting age.
D. An approved health plan shall provide that the health insurance benefits applicable for eligible dependents are payable with respect to a newly born child of the family member or the individual in whose name the contract is issued from the moment of birth, including the necessary care and treatment of medically diagnosed congenital defects and birth abnormalities. If payment of a specific premium is required to provide coverage for the child, the contract may require that notification of the birth of a child and payment of the required premium shall be furnished to the member within thirty-one days after the date of birth in order to have the coverage from birth. An approved health plan shall provide that the health insurance benefits applicable for eligible dependents are payable for an adopted child in accordance with the provisions of Section 59A-22-34.1 NMSA 1978.
E. Except as provided in Subsections G, H and I of this section, an approved health plan offered to a small employer may contain a preexisting condition exclusion only if:
(1) the exclusion relates to a condition, 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-month period ending on the enrollment date;
(2) the exclusion extends for a period of not more than six months after the enrollment date; and
(3) the period of the exclusion is reduced by the aggregate of the periods of creditable coverage applicable to the participant or beneficiary as of the enrollment date.
F. As used in this section, "preexisting condition exclusion" means 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 coverage for the benefits whether or not any medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment was recommended or received before that date, but genetic information is not included as a preexisting condition for the purposes of limiting or excluding benefits in the absence of a diagnosis of the condition related to the genetic information.
G. An insurer shall not impose a preexisting condition exclusion:
(1) in the case of an individual who, as of the last day of the thirty-day period beginning with the date of birth, is covered under creditable coverage;
(2) that excludes a child who is adopted or placed for adoption before [his] the child's eighteenth birthday and who, as of the last day of the thirty-day period beginning on and following the date of the adoption or placement for adoption, is covered under creditable coverage; or
(3) that relates to or includes pregnancy as a preexisting condition.
H. The provisions of Paragraphs (1) and (2) of Subsection G of this section do not apply to any individual after the end of the first continuous sixty-three-day period during which the individual was not covered under any creditable coverage.
I. The preexisting condition exclusions described in Subsection E of this section shall be waived to the extent to which similar exclusions have been satisfied under any prior health insurance coverage if the effective date of coverage for health insurance through the alliance is made not later than sixty-three days following the termination of the prior coverage. In that case, coverage through the alliance shall be effective from the date on which the prior coverage was terminated. This subsection does not prohibit preexisting conditions coverage in an approved health plan that is more favorable to the covered individual than that specified in this subsection.
J. An approved health plan issued to an eligible individual shall not contain any preexisting condition exclusion.
K. An individual is not eligible for coverage by the alliance under an approved health plan issued to a small employer if [he] the individual:
(1) is eligible for medicare; provided, however, if an individual has health insurance coverage from an employer whose group includes twenty or more individuals, an individual eligible for medicare who continues to be employed may choose to be covered through an approved health plan;
(2) has voluntarily terminated health insurance issued through the alliance within the past twelve months unless it was due to a change in employment; or
(3) is an inmate of a public institution.
L. The alliance shall provide for an open enrollment period of sixty days from the initial offering of an approved health plan. Individuals enrolled during the open enrollment period shall not be subject to the preexisting conditions limitation.
M. If an insured covered by an approved health plan switches to another approved health plan that provides increased or additional benefits such as lower deductible or co-payment requirements, the member offering the approved health plan with increased or additional benefits may require the six-month period for preexisting conditions provided in Subsection E of this section to be satisfied prior to receipt of the additional benefits."