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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 1. Administration
Agency 55. Department Of Human Resource Management
Chapter 20. Commonwealth of Virginia Health Benefits Program
1/22/2021

1VAC55-20-20. Definitions.

The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Accident or health plan" means a plan described in the Internal Revenue Code § 105.

"Administrative services arrangement" means an arrangement whereby a third party administrator agrees to administer all or part of the health benefits program.

"Adoption agreement" means an agreement executed between a local employer and the department specifying the terms and conditions of the local employer's participation in the health benefits program.

"Adverse experience adjustment" means the adjustment determined by the department, consistent with its actuarial practices, to premiums for the year in which a local employer withdraws from the plan.

"Alternative health benefits plans" means optional medical benefits plans, inclusive of but not limited to HMOs and PPOs, which are offered pursuant to the health benefits program in addition to the basic statewide plan.

"Basic statewide plan" means the statewide health benefits plan for state employees offered at a uniform rate to all state employees pursuant to § 2.2-2818 of the Code of Virginia.

"Benefits administrator" or "group benefits administrator" means the person or office designated in the application and adoption agreement to be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the health benefits program at the local level. The benefits administrator is an employee of the agency or local employer that employs the benefits administrator. The benefits administrator is not an agent of the health insurance plan or the Department of Human Resource Management.

"Coordinated service" means a health care service or supply covered under both the program and another health plan. The coordinated service will be provided under the program only to the extent it is not excluded or limited under the program.

"Coordination of benefits" means the establishment of a priority between two or more underwriters that provide health benefits protection covering the same claims incident.

"Department" means the Department of Human Resource Management.

"Dependent" means any person who is determined to be an eligible family member of an employee pursuant to subsection E of 1VAC55-20-320.

"Director" means the Director of the Department of Human Resource Management.

"Dual membership" means the coverage in the health benefits program of the employee and either the spouse or one dependent. This definition does not include coverage of retirees or employees or their spouses who are otherwise covered by Medicare.

"Effective date of coverage" means the date on which a participant is enrolled for benefits under a plan or plans elected under the health benefits program.

"Employee" means a person employed by an employer participating in the health benefits program or, where demanded by the context of this chapter, a retired employee of such an employer. The term "employee" shall include state employees and employees of local employers.

"Employee health insurance fund" or "health insurance funds" means accounts established by the state treasury and maintained by the department within which contributions to the plan shall be deposited.

"Employer" means the entity with whom a person maintains a common law employee-employer relationship. The term "employer" is inclusive of each state agency and of a local employer.

"Employer application" or "application" means the form, to be provided by the department, to be used by the local employer for applying to participate in the health benefits program.

"Enrollment action" means providing the information, which would otherwise be contained on an enrollment form, through an alternative means such as the Internet or an interactive voice response system, for the purpose of securing or changing membership or coverage in the employee health benefits program. Submitting a properly completed enrollment form and taking an enrollment action through an employee self-service system are used interchangeably to indicate equivalent actions.

"Enrollment form" means the form, to be provided by the department, to be used by participants to enroll in a plan or to indicate a change in coverage.

"Family membership" means the coverage in the health benefits program of the employee and two or more eligible dependents.

"Health benefits program" or "program" means, individually or collectively, the plan or plans the department may establish pursuant to §§ 2.2-1204 and 2.2-2818 of the Code of Virginia.

"Health Maintenance Organization" or "HMO" means an entity created under federal law, "The Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973" (Title XIII of the Public Health Service Act), as amended, or one defined under state law.

"Health plan" means:

1. A plan or program offering benefits for, or as a result of, any type of health care service when it is:

a. Group or blanket insurance (including school insurance programs); or

b. Blue Cross, Blue Shield, group practice (including HMOs and PPOs), individual practice (including IPAs), or any other prepayment arrangement (including this program) when:

(1) An employer contributes any portion of the premium;

(2) An employer contracts for the group coverage on behalf of employees; or

(3) It is any labor-management trustee plan, union welfare plan, employer organization plan, or employee benefit organization plan.

2. The term "health plan" refers to each plan or program separately. It also refers to any portion of a plan or program that reserves the right to take into account benefits of other health plans when determining its own benefits. If a health plan has a coordination of benefits provision that applies to only part of its services, the terms of this section will be applied separately to that part and to any other part.

3. A prepaid health care services contract or accident or health plan meeting all the following conditions is not a health plan:

a. One that is individually underwritten;

b. One that is individually issued;

c. One that provides only for accident and sickness benefits; and

d. One that is paid for entirely by the subscriber.

A contract or policy of the type described in subdivision 3 of this definition is not subject to coordination of benefits.

"Independent hearing officer" means an individual requested by the director of the department from a list maintained by the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia to arbitrate disputes that may arise in conjunction with these regulations or the health benefits program.

"Independent review organization" means an organization that, upon written request from the Department of Human Resource Management, examines the adverse health benefits claim decision made by the Commonwealth's Third Party Administrator (TPA). The independent review organization should determine whether the TPA's decision is objective, clinically valid, compatible with established principles of health care, and appropriate under the terms of the contractual obligations to the covered person.

"Insured arrangement" means an accident or health plan underwritten by an insurance company wherein the department's only obligation as it may relate to claims is the payment of insurance company premiums.

"Local employees" or "employees of local governments" means all officers and employees of the governing body of any county, city, or town, and the directing or governing body of any political entity, subdivision, branch, or unit of the Commonwealth or of any commission or public authority or body corporate created by or under an act of the General Assembly specifying the power or powers, privileges or authority capable of exercise by the commission or public authority or body corporate, as distinguished from § 15.2-1300 or 15.2-1303 of the Code of Virginia, or similar statutes, provided that the officers and employees of a social services department, welfare board, community services board, or behavioral health authority, or library board of a county, city, or town shall be deemed to be the employees of local government.

"Local employer" means any county, city, or town, school board, and the directing or governing body of any political entity, subdivision, branch or unit of the Commonwealth or of any commission or public authority or body corporate created by or under an act of the General Assembly specifying the power or powers, privileges or authority capable of exercise by the commission or public authority or body corporate, as distinguished from § 15.2-1300 or 15.2-1303 of the Code of Virginia, or similar statutes.

"Local officer" means the treasurer, registrar, commissioner of revenue, attorney for the Commonwealth, clerk of a circuit court, sheriff, or constable of any county or city or deputies or employees of any of the preceding local officers.

"Local retiree" means a former local employee who has met the terms and conditions for early, normal, or late retirement from a local employer.

"Open enrollment" means the period during which an employee may elect to commence, waive, or change membership or plans offered pursuant to the health benefits program.

"Part-time employee," as defined by each local employer, means an employee working less than full time but more than 20 hours per week whom a local employer has determined to be eligible to participate in the program. The conditions of participation for these employees shall be decided by the local employer in a nondiscriminatory manner.

"Participants" means individuals covered by the plan due to their relationship with the employer. They are not covered as dependents under the plan.

"Plan administrator" means the department.

"Preexisting condition" means a condition that, in the opinion of the plan's medical advisors, displayed signs or symptoms before the participant's effective date of coverage. These signs or symptoms must be ones of which the participant was aware or should reasonably have been aware. The condition is considered preexisting whether or not the participant was seen or treated for the condition. It is also considered preexisting whether or not the signs and symptoms of the condition were correctly diagnosed.

"Preferred provider organization" or "PPO" means an entity through which a group of health care providers, such as doctors, hospitals, and others, agree to provide specific medical and hospital care and some related services at a negotiated price.

"Primary coverage" means the health plan that will provide benefits first. It does not matter whether or not a claim has been filed for benefits with the primary health plan.

"Retiree" means any person who meets the definition of either a state retiree or a local retiree.

"Secondary coverage" means the health plan under which the benefits may be reduced to prevent duplicate or overlapping coverage.

"Self-funded arrangement" means a facility through which the plan sponsor agrees to assume the risk associated with the type of benefit provided without using an insurance company.

"Single membership" means coverage of the employee only under the health benefits program.

"State" means the Commonwealth of Virginia.

"State agency" means a court, department, institution, office, board, council, or other unit of state government located in the legislative, judicial, or executive departments or group of independent agencies, as shown in the Appropriation Act, and which is designated in the Appropriation Act by title and a three-digit agency code.

"State employee" means any person who is regularly employed full time on a salaried basis, whose tenure is not restricted as to temporary or provisional appointment, in the service of, and whose compensation is payable, no more often than biweekly, in whole or in part, by the Commonwealth or any department, institution, or agency thereof. "State employee" shall include the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and members of the General Assembly. It includes "judge" as defined in § 51.1-301 of the Code of Virginia and judges, clerks, and deputy clerks of regional juvenile and domestic relations, county juvenile and domestic relations, and district courts of the Commonwealth.

"State retiree" means a former state employee who has met the terms and conditions for early, normal or late retirement from the Commonwealth.

"Teacher" means any employee of a county, city, or other local public school board.

Statutory Authority

§ 2.2-2818 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR525-01-02 § 1.2, eff. November 21, 1990; amended, Volume 20, Issue 20, eff. July 16, 2004; Volume 26, Issue 25, eff. September 16, 2010; Volume 30, Issue 14, eff. April 24, 2014.

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