45 CFR 146.150 - Guaranteed availability of coverage for employers in the small group market.
(a)Issuance of coverage in the small group market. Subject to paragraphs (c) through (f) of this section, each health insurance issuer that offers health insurance coverage in the small group market in a State must -
(1) Offer, to any small employer in the State, all products that are approved for sale in the small group market and that the issuer is actively marketing, and must accept any employer that applies for any of those products; and
(2) Accept for enrollment under the coverage every eligible individual (as defined in paragraph (b) of this section) who applies for enrollment during the period in which the individual first becomes eligible to enroll under the terms of the group health plan, or during a special enrollment period, and may not impose any restriction on an eligible individual's being a participant or beneficiary, which is inconsistent with the nondiscrimination provisions of § 146.121.
(b)Eligible individual defined. For purposes of this section, the term “eligible individual” means an individual who is eligible -
(c)Special rules for network plans.
(A) 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
(B) It is applying this paragraph (c)(1) 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 those employees and dependents.
(2) An issuer that denies health insurance coverage to an employer in any service area, in accordance with paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of this section, may not offer coverage in the small group market within the service area to any employer for a period of 180 days after the date the coverage is denied. This paragraph (c)(2) does not limit the issuer's ability to renew coverage already in force or relieve the issuer of the responsibility to renew that coverage.
(d)Application of financial capacity limits.
(1) A health insurance issuer may deny health insurance coverage in the small group market if the issuer has demonstrated to the applicable State authority (if required by the State authority) that it -
(i) Does not have the financial reserves necessary to underwrite additional coverage; and
(ii) Is applying this paragraph (d)(1) 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 those employees and dependents.
(2) An issuer that denies group health insurance coverage to any small employer in a State under paragraph (d)(1) of this section may not offer coverage in connection with group health plans in the small group market in the State before the later of the following dates:
(i) The 181st day after the date the issuer denies coverage.
(4) Coverage offered after the 180-day period specified in paragraph (d)(2) of this section is subject to the requirements of this section.
(5) An applicable State authority may provide for the application of this paragraph (d) on a service-area-specific basis.
(e)Exception to requirement for failure to meet certain minimum participation or contribution rules.
(1) Paragraph (a) of this section does not 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) For purposes of paragraph (e)(1) of this section -
(i) 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
(ii) 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. Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to health insurance coverage offered by a health insurance issuer if that coverage is made available in the small group market only through one or more bona fide associations (as defined in 45 CFR 144.103).