42 U.S. Code § 300gg–11 - No lifetime or annual limits

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(a) Prohibition
(1) In general
A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage may not establish—
(A) lifetime limits on the dollar value of benefits for any participant or beneficiary; or
(B) except as provided in paragraph (2), annual limits on the dollar value of benefits for any participant or beneficiary.
(2) Annual limits prior to 2014
With respect to plan years beginning prior to January 1, 2014, a group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage may only establish a restricted annual limit on the dollar value of benefits for any participant or beneficiary with respect to the scope of benefits that are essential health benefits under section 18022 (b) of this title, as determined by the Secretary. In defining the term “restricted annual limit” for purposes of the preceding sentence, the Secretary shall ensure that access to needed services is made available with a minimal impact on premiums.
(b) Per beneficiary limits
Subsection (a) shall not be construed to prevent a group health plan or health insurance coverage from placing annual or lifetime per beneficiary limits on specific covered benefits that are not essential health benefits under section 18022 (b) of this title, to the extent that such limits are otherwise permitted under Federal or State law.

Source

(July 1, 1944, ch. 373, title XXVII, § 2711, as added and amended Pub. L. 111–148, title I, § 1001(5), title X, § 10101(a),Mar. 23, 2010, 124 Stat. 131, 883.)
Prior Provisions

A prior section 300gg–11, act July 1, 1944, ch. 373, title XXVII, § 2711, as added Pub. L. 104–191, title I, § 102(a),Aug. 21, 1996, 110 Stat. 1962, was renumbered section 2731 of act July 1, 1944, amended, and transferred to subsecs. (c) and (d) ofsection 300gg–1 of this title, by Pub. L. 111–148, title I, §§ 1001(3), 1563 (c)(8), formerly § 1562(c)(8), title X, § 10107(b)(1),Mar. 23, 2010, 124 Stat. 130, 266, 911. Prior to amendment and transfer by Pub. L. 111–148, text of section 300gg–11 read as follows:
“(a) Issuance of Coverage in the Small Group Market.—
“(1) In general.—Subject to subsections (c) through (f), each health insurance issuer that offers health insurance coverage in the small group market in a State—
“(A) must accept every small employer (as defined in section 300gg–91 (e)(4) of this title) in the State that applies for such coverage; and
“(B) must accept for enrollment under such coverage every eligible individual (as defined in paragraph (2)) who applies for enrollment during the period in which the individual first becomes eligible to enroll under the terms of the group health plan and may not place any restriction which is inconsistent with section 300gg–1 of this title on an eligible individual being a participant or beneficiary.
“(2) Eligible individual defined.—For purposes of this section, the term ‘eligible individual’ means, with respect to a health insurance issuer that offers health insurance coverage to a small employer in connection with a group health plan in the small group market, such an individual in relation to the employer as shall be determined—
“(A) in accordance with the terms of such plan,
“(B) as provided by the issuer under rules of the issuer which are uniformly applicable in a State to small employers in the small group market, and
“(C) in accordance with all applicable State laws governing such issuer and such market.
“(b) Assuring Access in the Large Group Market.—
“(1) Reports to hhs.—The Secretary shall request that the chief executive officer of each State submit to the Secretary, by not later December 31, 2000, and every 3 years thereafter a report on—
“(A) the access of large employers to health insurance coverage in the State, and
“(B) the circumstances for lack of access (if any) of large employers (or one or more classes of such employers) in the State to such coverage.
“(2) Triennial reports to congress.—The Secretary, based on the reports submitted under paragraph (1) and such other information as the Secretary may use, shall prepare and submit to Congress, every 3 years, a report describing the extent to which large employers (and classes of such employers) that seek health insurance coverage in the different States are able to obtain access to such coverage. Such report shall include such recommendations as the Secretary determines to be appropriate.
“(3) GAO report on large employer access to health insurance coverage.—The Comptroller General shall provide for a study of the extent to which classes of large employers in the different States are able to obtain access to health insurance coverage and the circumstances for lack of access (if any) to such coverage. The Comptroller General shall submit to Congress a report on such study not later than 18 months after August 21, 1996.
“(c) Special Rules for Network Plans.—
“(1) In general.—In the case of a health insurance issuer that offers health insurance coverage in the small group market through a network plan, the issuer may—
“(A) limit the employers that may apply for such coverage to those with eligible individuals who live, work, or reside in the service area for such network plan; and
“(B) within the service area of such plan, deny such coverage to such employers if the issuer has demonstrated, if required, to the applicable State authority that—
“(i) it will not have the capacity to deliver services adequately to enrollees of any additional groups because of its obligations to existing group contract holders and enrollees, and
“(ii) it is applying this paragraph uniformly to all employers without regard to the claims experience of those employers and their employees (and their dependents) or any health status-related factor relating to such employees and dependents.
“(2) 180-day suspension upon denial of coverage.—An issuer, upon denying health insurance coverage in any service area in accordance with paragraph (1)(B), may not offer coverage in the small group market within such service area for a period of 180 days after the date such coverage is denied.
“(d) Application of Financial Capacity Limits.—
“(1) In general.—A health insurance issuer may deny health insurance coverage in the small group market if the issuer has demonstrated, if required, to the applicable State authority that—
“(A) it does not have the financial reserves necessary to underwrite additional coverage; and
“(B) it is applying this paragraph uniformly to all employers in the small group market in the State consistent with applicable State law and without regard to the claims experience of those employers and their employees (and their dependents) or any health status-related factor relating to such employees and dependents.
“(2) 180-day suspension upon denial of coverage.—A health insurance issuer upon denying health insurance coverage in connection with group health plans in accordance with paragraph (1) in a State may not offer coverage in connection with group health plans in the small group market in the State for a period of 180 days after the date such coverage is denied or until the issuer has demonstrated to the applicable State authority, if required under applicable State law, that the issuer has sufficient financial reserves to underwrite additional coverage, whichever is later. An applicable State authority may provide for the application of this subsection on a service-area-specific basis.
“(e) Exception to Requirement for Failure To Meet Certain Minimum Participation or Contribution Rules.—
“(1) In general.—Subsection (a) shall not be construed to preclude a health insurance issuer from establishing employer contribution rules or group participation rules for the offering of health insurance coverage in connection with a group health plan in the small group market, as allowed under applicable State law.
“(2) Rules defined.—For purposes of paragraph (1)—
“(A) the term ‘employer contribution rule’ means a requirement relating to the minimum level or amount of employer contribution toward the premium for enrollment of participants and beneficiaries; and
“(B) the term ‘group participation rule’ means a requirement relating to the minimum number of participants or beneficiaries that must be enrolled in relation to a specified percentage or number of eligible individuals or employees of an employer.
“(f) Exception for Coverage Offered Only to Bona Fide Association Members.—Subsection (a) shall not apply to health insurance coverage offered by a health insurance issuer if such coverage is made available in the small group market only through one or more bona fide associations (as defined in section 300gg–91 (d)(3) of this title).”
Another prior section 2711 of act July 1, 1944, was successively renumbered by subsequent acts and transferred, see section 238j of this title.
Amendments

2010—Pub. L. 111–148, § 10101(a), amended section generally. Prior to amendment, text read as follows:
“(a) In General.—A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage may not establish—
“(1) lifetime limits on the dollar value of benefits for any participant or beneficiary; or
“(2) unreasonable annual limits (within the meaning of section 223 of title 26) on the dollar value of benefits for any participant or beneficiary.
“(b) Per Beneficiary Limits.—Subsection (a) shall not be construed to prevent a group health plan or health insurance coverage that is not required to provide essential health benefits under section 18022 (b) of this title from placing annual or lifetime per beneficiary limits on specific covered benefits to the extent that such limits are otherwise permitted under Federal or State law.”
Effective Date

Pub. L. 111–148, title I, § 1004,Mar. 23, 2010, 124 Stat. 140, provided that:
“(a) In General.—Except as provided for in subsection (b), this subtitle [subtitle A (§§ 1001–1004) of title I of Pub. L. 111–148, enacting this section and sections 300gg–12 to 300gg–15, 300gg–16 to 300gg–19, 300gg–93, and 300gg–94 of this title, amending former sections 300gg–11 and 300gg–12 of this title and sections 300gg–21 to 300gg–23 of this title, and transferring section 300gg–13 of this title to section 300gg–9 of this title and sections 300gg–4 to 300gg–7 of this title to sections 300gg–25 to 300gg–28 of this title, respectively] (and the amendments made by this subtitle) shall become effective for plan years beginning on or after the date that is 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act [Mar. 23, 2010], except that the amendments made by sections 1002 and 1003 [enacting sections 300gg–93 and 300gg–94 of this title] shall become effective for fiscal years beginning with fiscal year 2010.
“(b) Special Rule.—The amendments made by sections 1002 and 1003 [enacting sections 300gg–93 and 300gg–94 of this title] shall take effect on the date of enactment of this Act [Mar. 23, 2010].”

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