42 U.S. Code § 300gg–41 - Guaranteed availability of individual health insurance coverage to certain individuals with prior group coverage
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(a) Guaranteed availability
(1) In general
Subject to the succeeding subsections of this section and section 300gg–44 of this title, each health insurance issuer that offers health insurance coverage (as defined in section 300gg–91 (b)(1) of this title) in the individual market in a State may not, with respect to an eligible individual (as defined in subsection (b) of this section) desiring to enroll in individual health insurance coverage—
(2) Substitution by State of acceptable alternative mechanism
The requirement of paragraph (1) shall not apply to health insurance coverage offered in the individual market in a State in which the State is implementing an acceptable alternative mechanism under section 300gg–44 of this title.
(b) “Eligible individual” defined
In this part, the term “eligible individual” means an individual—
(A) for whom, as of the date on which the individual seeks coverage under this section, the aggregate of the periods of creditable coverage (as defined in section 2701 (c))  is 18 or more months and
(2) who is not eligible for coverage under
(B) part A or part B of title XVIII of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 1395c et seq., 1395j et seq.], or
(C) a State plan under title XIX of such Act [42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq.] (or any successor program), and does not have other health insurance coverage;
(3) with respect to whom the most recent coverage within the coverage period described in paragraph (1)(A) was not terminated based on a factor described in paragraph (1) or (2) of section 2712 (b)  (relating to nonpayment of premiums or fraud);
(4) if the individual had been offered the option of continuation coverage under a COBRA continuation provision or under a similar State program, who elected such coverage; and
(c) Alternative coverage permitted where no State mechanism
(1) In general
In the case of health insurance coverage offered in the individual market in a State in which the State is not implementing an acceptable alternative mechanism under section 300gg–44 of this title, the health insurance issuer may elect to limit the coverage offered under subsection (a) of this section so long as it offers at least two different policy forms of health insurance coverage both of which—
(A) are designed for, made generally available to, and actively marketed to, and enroll both eligible and other individuals by the issuer; and
For purposes of this subsection, policy forms which have different cost-sharing arrangements or different riders shall be considered to be different policy forms.
(2) Choice of most popular policy forms
The requirement of this paragraph is met, for health insurance coverage policy forms offered by an issuer in the individual market, if the issuer offers the policy forms for individual health insurance coverage with the largest, and next to largest, premium volume of all such policy forms offered by the issuer in the State or applicable marketing or service area (as may be prescribed in regulation) by the issuer in the individual market in the period involved.
(3) Choice of 2 policy forms with representative coverage
(A) In general
The requirement of this paragraph is met, for health insurance coverage policy forms offered by an issuer in the individual market, if the issuer offers a lower-level coverage policy form (as defined in subparagraph (B)) and a higher-level coverage policy form (as defined in subparagraph (C)) each of which includes benefits substantially similar to other individual health insurance coverage offered by the issuer in that State and each of which is covered under a method described in section 300gg–44 (c)(3)(A) of this title (relating to risk adjustment, risk spreading, or financial subsidization).
(B) Lower-level of coverage described
A policy form is described in this subparagraph if the actuarial value of the benefits under the coverage is at least 85 percent but not greater than 100 percent of a weighted average (described in subparagraph (D)).
(C) Higher-level of coverage described
A policy form is described in this subparagraph if—
(i) the actuarial value of the benefits under the coverage is at least 15 percent greater than the actuarial value of the coverage described in subparagraph (B) offered by the issuer in the area involved; and
(D) Weighted average
For purposes of this paragraph, the weighted average described in this subparagraph is the average actuarial value of the benefits provided by all the health insurance coverage issued (as elected by the issuer) either by that issuer or by all issuers in the State in the individual market during the previous year (not including coverage issued under this section), weighted by enrollment for the different coverage.
The issuer elections under this subsection shall apply uniformly to all eligible individuals in the State for that issuer. Such an election shall be effective for policies offered during a period of not shorter than 2 years.
(d) Special rules for network plans
(1) In general
In the case of a health insurance issuer that offers health insurance coverage in the individual market through a network plan, the issuer may—
(A) limit the individuals who may be enrolled under such coverage to those who live, reside, or work within the service area for such network plan; and
(B) within the service area of such plan, deny such coverage to such individuals 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 additional individual enrollees because of its obligations to existing group contract holders and enrollees and individual enrollees, and
(e) 2 Application of financial capacity limits
(1) In general
A health insurance issuer may deny health insurance coverage in the individual market to an eligible individual if the issuer has demonstrated, if required, to the applicable State authority that—
(2) 180-day suspension upon denial of coverage
An issuer upon denying individual health insurance coverage in any service area in accordance with paragraph (1) may not offer such coverage in the individual market within such service area for a period of 180 days after the date such coverage is denied or until the issuer has demonstrated, if required under applicable State law, to the applicable State authority that the issuer has sufficient financial reserves to underwrite additional coverage, whichever is later. A State may provide for the application of this paragraph on a service-area-specific basis.
(e) 2 Market requirements
(1) In general
The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall not be construed to require that a health insurance issuer offering health insurance coverage only in connection with group health plans or through one or more bona fide associations, or both, offer such health insurance coverage in the individual market.
Nothing in this section shall be construed—
(1) to restrict the amount of the premium rates that an issuer may charge an individual for health insurance coverage provided in the individual market under applicable State law; or
 See References in Text note below.
 So in original. Two subsecs. (e) have been enacted.
Source(July 1, 1944, ch. 373, title XXVII, § 2741, as added Pub. L. 104–191, title I, § 111(a),Aug. 21, 1996, 110 Stat. 1978.)
References in Text
Section 2701 of this Act, referred to in subsecs. (a)(1)(B) and (b)(1)(A), is a reference to section 2701 of act July 1, 1944. Section 2701, which was classified to section 300gg of this title, was renumbered section 2704, effective for plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2014, with certain exceptions, and amended, by Pub. L. 111–148, title I, §§ 1201(2), 1563 (c)(1), formerly § 1562(c)(1), title X, § 10107(b)(1),Mar. 23, 2010, 124 Stat. 154, 264, 911, and was transferred to section 300gg–3 of this title. A new section 2701 of act July 1, 1944, related to fair health insurance premiums, was added, effective for plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2014, and amended, by Pub. L. 111–148, title I, § 1201(4), title X, § 10103(a),Mar. 23, 2010, 124 Stat. 155, 892, and is classified to section 300gg of this title.
The Social Security Act, referred to in subsec. (b)(2), is act Aug. 14, 1935, ch. 531, 49 Stat. 620, as amended. Parts A and B of title XVIII of the Act are classified generally to parts A (§ 1395c et seq.) and B (§ 1395j et seq.) of subchapter XVIII of chapter 7 of this title. Title XIX of the Act is classified generally to subchapter XIX (§ 1396 et seq.) of chapter 7 of this title. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 1305 of this title and Tables.
Section 2712, referred to in subsec. (b)(3), is a reference to section 2712 of act July 1, 1944. Section 2712, which was classified to section 300gg–12 of this title, was renumbered section 2732 and amended and transferred to subsecs. (b) to (e) ofsection 300gg–2 of this title by Pub. L. 111–148, title I, §§ 1001(3), 1563 (c)(9), formerly § 1562(c)(9), title X, § 10107(b)(1),Mar. 23, 2010, 124 Stat. 130, 267, 911. A new section 2712 of act July 1, 1944, related to prohibition on rescissions, was added by Pub. L. 111–148, title I, § 1001(5),Mar. 23, 2010, 124 Stat. 131, effective for plan years beginning on or after the date that is 6 months after Mar. 23, 2010, and is classified to section 300gg–12 of this title.
“(1) In general.—Except as provided in this subsection, part B of title XXVII of the Public Health Service Act [42 U.S.C. 300gg–41 et seq.] (as inserted by subsection (a)) shall apply with respect to health insurance coverage offered, sold, issued, renewed, in effect, or operated in the individual market after June 30, 1997, regardless of when a period of creditable coverage occurs.
“(2) Application of certification rules.—The provisions of section 102 (d)(2) [102(c)(2)] of this Act [42 U.S.C. 300gg note] shall apply to section 2743 of the Public Health Service Act [42 U.S.C. 300gg–43] in the same manner as it applies to section 2701 (e) [now 2704(e)] of such Act [42 U.S.C. 300gg–3 (e)].”
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