February 24, 2015
On Feb. 6, 2015, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services issued a bulletin directed toward carriers offering transitional health benefit plans, but information contained throughout is also helpful for employers. The department considered whether to allow small group transitional health benefit plans to be renewed through policy years beginning on or before Oct. 1, 2016 and providing coverage through 2016 and 2017. The department decided carriers cannot renew these small group plans after Oct. 1, 2016 and must discontinue the plan offerings no later than Oct. 1, 2017.
Employers who are currently providing such transitional health benefit plans to their employees should be aware that carriers will be discontinuing the plans in accordance with this requirement. There is a specific notice, "Discontinuation Notice to Employers for the Small Group Market," which must be provided at least 90 days prior to discontinuation. If the plans are renewed through 2015 and 2016, a separate notice is required to be provided at least 60 days in advance of the renewal using the specific notice, "Small Group Transitional Plan Renewal Notice."
Carriers are also required to include the SBC for new plans offered in place of discontinued plans and for plans being renewed.
Finally, the bulletin mentions the complexity involved with the fact that the small group market definition is expanding in 2016 (from 1-50 lives to 1-100 lives) and notes that future guidance on this issue will be forthcoming.