Notice of Hearing

Docket No. G2011-01

Proposed Amendments to Regulation 211 CMR 41.00 - Nongroup Health Insurance Rate and Policy Form Filings, Review and Hearing Procedures under M.G.L. c. 176M

Pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 30A and the authority granted to the Commissioner of Insurance by SECTION 36 of Chapter 288 of the Acts of 2010 ("SECTION 36") and M.G.L. c. 176M, § 3, a hearing will be held at the offices of the Division of Insurance ("Division"), 1000 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118-6200 on March 18, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. The purpose of this hearing is to afford all interested persons an opportunity to provide oral and/or written comment regarding the proposed amendments to regulation 211 CMR 41.00, Nongroup Health Insurance Rate and Policy Form Filings, Review and Hearing Procedures under M.G.L. c. 176M.

211 CMR 41.00 Proposed (Clean) pdf format of    211_41_Clean.pdf  , Proposed (Redlined) pdf format of    211_41_Redlined.pdf  governs the form and content of rate and policy form filings, review, and hearing procedures for closed nongroup health plans and closed guaranteed issue health plans, as defined in 211 CMR 41.00, as of July 1, 2007. The Division proposes amendments to 211 CMR 41.00 pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30A, § 3 in part because SECTION 36 amends M.G.L. c. 176M, § 3 to remove the requirement that a closed guarantee issue health plan or a closed plan may only be discontinued by a health insurance carrier if the number of subscribers in the plan is less than 25 percent of the plan's subscriber total as of December 31, 2004. SECTION 31 further amends M.G.L. c. 176M, § 3 to provide that a carrier may discontinue a closed guaranteed issue health plan or a closed plan under regulations promulgated by the Commissioner of Insurance. The proposed amendments provide new criteria under which a carrier may seek to discontinue a closed guaranteed issue health plan or closed plan, make the hearing processes and procedures in the regulation more consistent with such processes and procedures in other Division regulations, and represent a general "clean up" of language in the regulation.

Pursuant to SECTION 68 of Chapter 240 of the Acts of 2010, a small business impact statement is required to be included in this Notice of Hearing. The Division estimates that the proposed amendments to 211 CMR 41.00 will be applicable to approximately 50 small businesses in the Commonwealth. This number includes all Massachusetts domestic insurance companies licensed to write health insurance (all kinds), health maintenance organizations, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc. The Division estimates that the projected reporting, record keeping and administrative costs required for compliance with the proposed amendments to 211 CMR 41.00 will be negligible. To the extent the proposed amendments will permit health insurance carriers to discontinue closed guaranteed issue health plans and closed plans in which the current rates may be low relative to the risks of the plan, the Division anticipates that carriers may financially benefit from the proposed amendments. The proposed amendments to 211 CMR 41.00 are drafted in a performance standards format because the regulation sets forth specific requirements for carriers seeking to discontinue a closed guarantee issue health plan or a closed plan. The Division is not aware of any conflicts between the proposed amendments to 211 CMR 41.00 and existing Division regulations or existing regulations of another agency or department of the Commonwealth. The Division is not aware of whether the proposed amendments to 211 CMR 41.00 are likely to deter or encourage the formation of new businesses in the Commonwealth. The Division invites and encourages comments from small businesses in the Commonwealth concerning the promulgation of the proposed amendments to 211 CMR 41.00, including the following: (1) whether the proposed amendments to 211 CMR 41.00 could establish less stringent compliance or reporting requirements for small businesses; (2) whether the proposed amendments to 211 CMR 41.00 could establish less stringent schedules or deadlines for compliance or reporting requirements for small businesses; (3) whether the proposed amendments to 211 CMR 41.00 could consolidate or simplify compliance or reporting requirements for small businesses; (4) whether the proposed amendments to 211 CMR 41.00 are likely to deter or encourage the formation of new businesses in the Commonwealth; and (5) what alternative regulatory methods, if any, may be used to minimize any adverse impact of the proposed amendments to 211 CMR 41.00 on small businesses.

The proceedings concerning the promulgation of the proposed amendments to regulation 211 CMR 41.00 shall be designated as Docket No. G2011-01. Any person who wishes to provide oral comment concerning the proposed amendments to this regulation must file a Notice of Intent to Comment with the Docket Clerk no later than March 16, 2011. Persons wishing to submit written comments may do so until the record of the hearing is closed. All submissions must be sent to the Docket Clerk, Hearings and Appeals, Division of Insurance, 1000 Washington Street, Suite 810, Boston, MA 02118-6200, or by electronic mail to Doidocket.Mailbox@state.ma.us and must refer to Docket No. G2011-01 in the subject line. Persons who do not file a Notice of Intent to Comment will be heard after those who notify the Division in advance of the hearing.

A copy of the proposed amendments to the regulation is available from the Division and also on its website at www.mass.gov/doi.







Dated: February 15, 2011

________________________________

Joseph G. Murphy

Commissioner of Insurance