Insurer to Employer Notification Requirements for Product Discontinuance Versus Market Withdrawal

On June 2, 2017, the New Hampshire (NH) Insurance Department published Bulletin Docket No.: INS-17-027-AB. The purpose of the bulletin is to clarify consumer protections and to provide health insurance carriers guidance relating to the product discontinuance and full market withdrawal under NH law. Some of that guidance relates to the notice requirements insurers must give employers when discontinuing a product or withdrawing from the market altogether.

The bulletin reminds insurers that coverage in NH is guaranteed to be renewable, with a few exceptions, including where an insurer discontinues a product or withdraws from the market entirely. For product discontinuance, the insurer must provide the employer (in both the small and large employer market) with a notice at least 90 days in advance of the discontinuance and must offer the employer the option to purchase any other health coverage being offered by the carrier in the relevant market (and that coverage may not discriminate on the basis of claims experience or health status). For market withdrawal (i.e., where a carrier discontinues all of its health coverage in a particular market), the carrier must provide the employer (and all covered persons) with notice at least 180 days in advance of the withdrawal. The carrier may not renew any plans in that market and is barred from reentering the market for five years from the date of the withdrawal (although the state can waive or reduce the five-year period for good cause shown).

Although the bulletin contains no new employer obligations, employers with fully insured plans in NH will want to be aware of the insurer notices and requirements that could potentially relate to their plan. Employers should work closely with their carriers and advisors should discontinuance or withdrawal arise.

Bulletin Docket No.: INS-17-027-AB »