Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 38.2. Insurance
9/19/2020

Article 4.1. Individual Health Insurance Coverage.

§ 38.2-3430.1. Application of article.

This article applies to individual health insurance coverage offered, sold, issued, or renewed in this Commonwealth, but shall not apply to any individual health insurance coverage for any of the "excepted benefits" defined in § 38.2-3431. In the event of conflict between the provisions in this article and other provisions of this title, the provisions of this article shall be controlling.

1997, cc. 807, 913.

§ 38.2-3430.1:1. Health insurance coverage not required.

No resident of this Commonwealth, regardless of whether he has or is eligible for health insurance coverage under any policy or program provided by or through his employer, or a plan sponsored by the Commonwealth or the federal government, shall be required to obtain or maintain a policy of individual insurance coverage except as required by a court or the Department of Social Services where an individual is named a party in a judicial or administrative proceeding. No provision of this title shall render a resident of this Commonwealth liable for any penalty, assessment, fee, or fine as a result of his failure to procure or obtain health insurance coverage. This section shall not apply to individuals voluntarily applying for coverage under a state-administered program pursuant to Title XIX or Title XXI of the Social Security Act. This section shall not apply to students being required by an institution of higher education to obtain and maintain health insurance as a condition of enrollment. Nothing herein shall impair the rights of persons to privately contract for health insurance for family members or former family members.

2010, cc. 106, 107, 108, 818.

§ 38.2-3430.2. Definitions.

A. The terms defined in § 38.2-3431 that are used in this article shall have the meanings set forth in that section.

B. For purposes of this article:

"Eligible individual" means an individual:

1. (i) for whom, as of the date on which the individual seeks coverage under this section, the aggregate of the periods of creditable coverage is 18 or more months and (ii) whose most recent prior creditable coverage was under individual health insurance coverage, a group health plan, governmental plan, church plan, or a state plan under Title XIX of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 1396 et seq.), or health insurance coverage offered in connection with any such plan;

2. Who is not eligible for coverage under (i) a group health plan, (ii) part A or part B of Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, or (iii) a state plan under Title XIX of such Act, 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 subdivision 1 was not terminated based on a factor described in subdivision B 1 or B 2 of § 38.2-3430.7 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;

5. Who, if the individual elected such continuation coverage, has exhausted such continuation coverage under such provision or program; and

6. In the case where individual health insurance coverage is the most recent creditable coverage, the coverage was nonrenewed by the health insurance issuer under the conditions allowed in subdivision C 2 of § 38.2-3430.7, in which case the aggregate period of creditable coverage required is reduced to 12 months.

For the purposes of determining the aggregate of the periods of creditable coverage under subdivision B 1 (i) of this section, a period of creditable coverage shall not be counted with respect to enrollment of an individual under a health benefit plan if, after such period, there was a 63-day period during all of which the individual was not covered under any creditable coverage or was not serving a waiting period for coverage under a group health plan, or for group health insurance coverage or was in an affiliation period. This period shall begin on the day following an individual's termination of coverage and shall continue until the date an individual submits an application for coverage. In those cases where an application is submitted by mail, the date of postmark shall be deemed to be the date the application is submitted.

1997, cc. 807, 913; 1998, c. 24; 1999, c. 1004; 2010, cc. 225, 642.

§ 38.2-3430.3. Guaranteed availability of individual health insurance coverage to certain individuals with prior group coverage.

A. Guaranteed availability.

1. All eligible individuals shall be provided a choice of all individual health insurance coverage currently being offered by a health insurance issuer and the chosen coverage shall be issued.

2. The coverage provided as required in subdivision A 1 shall not impose any preexisting condition exclusion or affiliation period with respect to the coverage.

B. Health insurance issuers are prohibited from imposing any limitations or exclusions based upon named conditions that apply to eligible individuals.

C. Health insurance issuers shall include on all applications for health insurance coverage questions which will enable the health insurance issuer to determine if an applicant is applying for coverage as an eligible individual as defined in § 38.2-3430.2. This requirement shall not apply to applications used in connection with managed health care plans administering and providing care to Medicare beneficiaries in exchange for preestablished compensation from Medicare, as permitted under applicable state and federal guidelines.

D. The provisions of this section shall not apply in any instance in which the provisions of this section are inconsistent or in conflict with a provision of Article 6 (§ 38.2-3438 et seq.) of Chapter 34.

1997, cc. 807, 913; 1999, c. 1004; 2000, c. 136; 2005, c. 335; 2013, c. 751.

§ 38.2-3430.3:1. Expired.

Expired.

§ 38.2-3430.4. Special rules for network plans.

A health insurance issuer that offers health insurance coverage in the individual market may:

1. Limit the eligible individuals who may be enrolled under such coverage to those who live, reside, or work within the service area for such network plan;

2. Within the service area of such plan, deny such coverage to such individuals if the health insurance issuer has demonstrated to the Commission 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, enrollees and enrollees covered under individual contracts; and (ii) it is applying this section uniformly to individuals without regard to any health status-related factor of such individuals and without regard to whether the individuals are eligible individuals;

3. A health insurance issuer, upon denying health insurance coverage in any service area in accordance with subdivision 2, may not offer coverage in the individual market within such service area for a period of 180 days after such coverage is denied.

1997, cc. 807, 913; 1998, c. 24.

§ 38.2-3430.5. Application of financial capacity limits.

A. A health insurance issuer may deny health insurance coverage in the individual market to an eligible individual if the health insurance issuer has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Commission that:

1. It does not have the financial reserves necessary to underwrite additional coverage; and

2. It is applying this section uniformly to all individuals in the individual market in the Commonwealth consistent with the laws of this Commonwealth and without regard to any health status-related factor of such individuals and without regard to whether the individuals are eligible individuals.

B. A health insurance issuer, upon denying individual health insurance coverage in any service area in accordance with subsection A, 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 health insurance issuer has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Commission that the health insurance issuer has sufficient financial reserves to underwrite additional coverage, whichever is later.

1997, cc. 807, 913.

§ 38.2-3430.6. Market requirements.

The provisions of § 38.2-3430.3 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.

1997, cc. 807, 913; 1998, c. 24; 2014, c. 814.

§ 38.2-3430.7. Renewability of individual health insurance coverage.

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

B. A health insurance issuer may nonrenew or discontinue health insurance coverage of an individual in the individual market based on one or more of the following:

1. 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. 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. The issuer is ceasing to offer coverage in the individual market in accordance with subsection C and applicable state law;

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

5. 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 section uniformly without regard to any health status-related factor of covered individuals.

C. Requirements for uniform termination of coverage.

1. In any case in which a health insurance 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 health insurance issuer only if:

a. The health insurance issuer provides notice to each covered individual provided coverage of this type in such market of such discontinuation at least ninety days prior to the date of the discontinuation of such coverage;

b. The health insurance 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 health insurance 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 subdivision 1 b of this subsection, the health insurance 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. Subject to subdivision 1 c of this subsection, in any case in which a health insurance issuer elects to discontinue offering all health insurance coverage in the individual market in the Commonwealth, health insurance coverage may be discontinued by the health insurance issuer only if: (i) the health insurance issuer provides notice to the Commission 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 this Commonwealth in such market is discontinued and coverage under such health insurance coverage in such market is not renewed.

b. In the case of discontinuation under subdivision 2 a of this subsection in the individual market, the health insurance issuer may not provide for the issuance of any health insurance coverage in the individual market in this Commonwealth during the five-year period beginning on the date of the discontinuation of the last health insurance coverage not so renewed.

D. 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 the laws of this Commonwealth and effective on a uniform basis among all individuals with that policy form.

E. In applying this section in the case of health insurance coverage that is made available by health insurance issuers 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.

1997, cc. 807, 913.

§ 38.2-3430.8. Certification of coverage.

The provisions of § 38.2-3432.3 shall apply to health insurance coverage offered by a health insurance issuer in the individual market in the same manner as they apply to health insurance coverage offered by a health insurance issuer in connection with a group health plan in the small or large group market.

1997, cc. 807, 913; 1999, c. 1004.

§ 38.2-3430.9. Regulations establishing standards.

A. The Commission may adopt regulations to enable it to establish and administer such standards relating to the provisions of this article and Article 5 (§ 38.2-3431 et seq.) of this chapter as may be necessary to (i) implement the requirements of this article and (ii) assure that the Commonwealth's regulation of health insurance issuers is not preempted pursuant to P. L. 104-191 (The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996).

B. The Commission may revise or amend such regulations and may increase the scope of the regulations to the extent necessary to maintain federal approval of the Commonwealth's program for regulation of health insurance issuers pursuant to the requirements established by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

C. The Commission shall annually advise the standing committees of the General Assembly having jurisdiction over insurance matters of revisions and amendments made pursuant to subsection B.

1997, cc. 807, 913.

§ 38.2-3430.10. Effective date.

The provisions of this article shall be effective on July 1, 1997, with the exception of § 38.2-3430.3 which shall be effective on January 1, 1998.

1997, cc. 807, 913.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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