42 U.S. Code § 300gg–42. Guaranteed renewability of individual health insurance coverage

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(a) In general

Except as provided in this section, a health insurance issuer that provides individual health insurance coverage to an individual shall renew or continue in force such coverage at the option of the individual.

(b) General exceptionsA health insurance issuer may nonrenew or discontinue health insurance coverage of an individual in the individual market based only on one or more of the following:
(1) Nonpayment of premiums

The individual has failed to pay premiums or contributions in accordance with the terms of the health insurance coverage or the issuer has not received timely premium payments.

(2) Fraud

The individual has performed an act or practice that constitutes fraud or made an intentional misrepresentation of material fact under the terms of the coverage.

(3) Termination of plan

The issuer is ceasing to offer coverage in the individual market in accordance with subsection (c) and applicable State law.

(4) Movement outside service area

In the case of a health insurance issuer that offers health insurance coverage in the market through a network plan, the individual no longer resides, lives, or works in the service area (or in an area for which the issuer is authorized to do business) but only if such coverage is terminated under this paragraph uniformly without regard to any health status-related factor of covered individuals.

(5) Association membership ceases

In the case of health insurance coverage that is made available in the individual market only through one or more bona fide associations, the membership of the individual in the association (on the basis of which the coverage is provided) ceases but only if such coverage is terminated under this paragraph uniformly without regard to any health status-related factor of covered individuals.

(c) Requirements for uniform termination of coverage
(1) Particular type of coverage not offeredIn any case in which an issuer decides to discontinue offering a particular type of health insurance coverage offered in the individual market, coverage of such type may be discontinued by the issuer only if—
(A)
the issuer provides notice to each covered individual provided coverage of this type in such market of such discontinuation at least 90 days prior to the date of the discontinuation of such coverage;
(B)
the issuer offers to each individual in the individual market provided coverage of this type, the option to purchase any other individual health insurance coverage currently being offered by the issuer for individuals in such market; and
(C)
in exercising the option to discontinue coverage of this type and in offering the option of coverage under subparagraph (B), the issuer acts uniformly without regard to any health status-related factor of enrolled individuals or individuals who may become eligible for such coverage.
(2) Discontinuance of all coverage
(A) In generalSubject to subparagraph (C), in any case in which a health insurance issuer elects to discontinue offering all health insurance coverage in the individual market in a State, health insurance coverage may be discontinued by the issuer only if—
(i)
the issuer provides notice to the applicable State authority and to each individual of such discontinuation at least 180 days prior to the date of the expiration of such coverage, and
(ii)
all health insurance issued or delivered for issuance in the State in such market are discontinued and coverage under such health insurance coverage in such market is not renewed.
(B) Prohibition on market reentry

In the case of a discontinuation under subparagraph (A) in the individual market, the issuer may not provide for the issuance of any health insurance coverage in the market and State involved during the 5-year period beginning on the date of the discontinuation of the last health insurance coverage not so renewed.

(d) Exception for uniform modification of coverage

At the time of coverage renewal, a health insurance issuer may modify the health insurance coverage for a policy form offered to individuals in the individual market so long as such modification is consistent with State law and effective on a uniform basis among all individuals with that policy form.

(e) Application to coverage offered only through associations

In applying this section in the case of health insurance coverage that is made available by a health insurance issuer in the individual market to individuals only through one or more associations, a reference to an “individual” is deemed to include a reference to such an association (of which the individual is a member).

(July 1, 1944, ch. 373, title XXVII, § 2742, as added Pub. L. 104–191, title I, § 111(a), Aug. 21, 1996, 110 Stat. 1982.)
Effective Date

Section applicable 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, see section 111(b) of Pub. L. 104–191, set out as a note under section 300gg–41 of this title.