(a) This section shall not apply to short-term limited duration health insurance, vision-only, dental-only, or CHAMPUS-supplement insurance, or to hospital indemnity, hospital-only, accident-only, or specified disease insurance that does not pay benefits on a fixed benefit, cash payment only basis.
(b) (1) No change in the premium rate or coverage for an individual health insurance policy shall become effective unless the insurer has provided a written notice of the change at least 10 days prior to the start of the annual enrollment period applicable to the policy or 60 days prior to the effective date of the policy renewal, whichever occurs earlier in the calendar year.
(2) The written notice required pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be provided to the individual policyholder at his or her last address known to the insurer. The notice shall state in italics and in 12-point type the actual dollar amount of the premium increase and the specific percentage by which the current premium will be increased. The notice shall describe in plain, understandable English any changes in the policy or any changes in benefits, including a reduction in benefits or changes to waivers, exclusions, or conditions, and highlight this information by printing it in italics. The notice shall specify in a minimum of 10-point bold typeface, the reason for a premium rate change or a change in coverage or benefits.
(c) (1) If the department determines that a rate is unreasonable or not justified consistent with Article 4.5 (commencing with Section 10181), the insurer shall notify the policyholder of this determination. This notification may be included in the notice required in subdivision (b). The notification to the policyholder shall be developed by the department. The development of the notification required under this subdivision shall not be subject to the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code).
(2) The notification to the policyholder shall include the following statements in 14-point type:
(A) The Department of Insurance has determined that the rate for this product is unreasonable or not justified after reviewing information submitted to it by the insurer.
(B) During the open enrollment period, the policyholder has the option to obtain other coverage from this insurer or another insurer, or to keep this coverage.
(C) The policyholder may want to contact Covered California at www.coveredca.com for help in understanding available options.
(D) Many Californians are eligible for financial assistance from Covered California to help pay for coverage.
(3) The insurer may include in the notification to the policyholder the Internet Web site address at which the insurer’s final justification for implementing an increase that has been determined to be unreasonable by the commissioner may be found pursuant to Section 154.230 of Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(4) The notice shall also be provided to the agent of record for the policyholder, if any, so that the agent may assist the purchaser in finding other coverage.
(5) In developing the notification, the department shall take into consideration that this notice is required to be provided to an individual applicant pursuant to subdivision (g) of Section 10181.3.
(d) If an insurer rejects a dependent of a policyholder applying to be added to the policyholder’s individual grandfathered health plan, rejects an applicant for a Medicare supplement policy due to the applicant having end-stage renal disease, or offers an individual grandfathered health plan to an applicant at a rate that is higher than the standard rate, the insurer shall inform the applicant about the California Major Risk Medical Insurance Program (MRMIP) (Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 15870) of Part 3.3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code) and about the new coverage options and the potential for subsidized coverage through Covered California. The insurer shall direct persons seeking more information to MRMIP, Covered California, plan or policy representatives, insurance agents, or an entity paid by Covered California to assist with health coverage enrollment, such as a navigator or an assister.
(e) A notice provided pursuant to this section is a private and confidential communication and, at the time of application, the insurer shall give the applicant the opportunity to designate the address for receipt of the written notice in order to protect the confidentiality of any personal or privileged information.
(f) For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
(1) “Covered California” means the California Health Benefit Exchange established pursuant to Section 100500 of the Government Code.
(2) “Grandfathered health plan” has the same meaning as that term is defined in Section 1251 of PPACA.
(3) “PPACA” means the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148), as amended by the federal Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-152), and any rules, regulations, or guidance issued pursuant to that law.
(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 498, Sec. 6. (SB 908) Effective January 1, 2017.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018