Sections 62-80: Connector Seal of Approval Private Insurance Plans Definitions

As used in this chapter the following words shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

“Actuarial opinion”, a signed written statement by a member of the American Academy of Actuaries based upon the person's examination, including a review of the appropriate records and of the actuarial assumptions and methods utilized by the carrier in establishing premium rates for applicable health benefit plans.

“Adjusted average market premium price”, the arithmetic mean of all premium rates for a given prototype plan sold to eligible insureds with similar rate basis type by all carriers selling prototype plans in the commonwealth.

“Base premium rate”, the midpoint rate within a modified community rate band for each rate basis type of each health benefit plan of a carrier.

“Benefit level”, the health benefits, including the benefit payment structure or service delivery and network, provided by a health benefit plan.

“Carrier”, an insurer licensed or otherwise authorized to transact accident and health insurance under chapter 175; a nonprofit hospital service corporation organized under chapter 176A; a non-profit medical service corporation organized under chapter 176B; or a health maintenance organization organized under chapter 176G.

“Class of business”, all or a distinct grouping of eligible insureds as shown on the records of the carrier which is provided with a health benefit plan through a health care delivery system operating under a license distinct from that of another grouping.

“Commissioner”, the commissioner of the division of insurance.

“Connector”, the commonwealth health insurance connector, established by chapter 176Q.

“Connector seal of approval”, the approval given by the board of the connector to indicate that a health benefit plan meets certain standards regarding quality and value.

“Creditable coverage”, coverage of an individual under any of the following health plans with no lapse of coverage of more than 63 days: (a) a group health plan; (b) a health plan, including, but not limited to, a health plan issued, renewed or delivered within or without the commonwealth to an individual who is enrolled in a qualifying student health insurance program under section 18 of chapter 15A or a qualifying student health program of another state; (c) Part A or Part B of Title XVIII of the Social Security Act; (d) Title XIX of the Social Security Act, other than coverage consisting solely of benefits under section 1928; (e) 10 U.S.C. 55; (f) a medical care program of the Indian Health Service or of a tribal organization; (g) a state health benefits risk pool; (h) a health plan offered under 5 U.S.C. 89; (i) a public health plan as defined in federal regulations authorized by the Public Health Service Act, section 2701(c)(I)(I) , as amended by Public Law 104-191; (j) a health benefit plan under the Peace Corps Act, 22 U.S.C. 2504(e); (k) coverage for young adults as offered under section 10 of chapter 176J; or (l) any other qualifying coverage required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, as it is amended, or by regulations promulgated under that act.

“Date of enrollment”, with respect to an individual covered under a group health plan or health insurance coverage, the date of enrollment of the individual in the plan or coverage or, if earlier, the first day of the waiting period for such enrollment.

“Eligible employee”, an employee who: (1) works on a full-time basis with a normal work week of thirty or more hours, and includes an owner, a sole proprietor or a partner of a partnership; provided however, that such owner, sole proprietor or partner is included as an employee under a health care plan of an eligible small business but does not include an employee who works on a temporary or substitute basis, and (2) is hired to work for a period of not less than five months.

“Eligible dependent”, the spouse or child of an eligible person, subject to the applicable terms of the health benefit plan covering such employee.

"Eligible individual", an individual who is a resident of the commonwealth and who is not seeking individual coverage to replace an employer-sponsored health plan for which the individual is eligible and which provides coverage that is at least actuarially equivalent to minimum creditable coverage.

“Eligible small business” or “group”, any sole proprietorship, firm, corporation, partnership or association actively engaged in business who, on at least fifty percent of its working days during the preceding year employed from among one to not more than fifty eligible employees, the majority of whom worked in the commonwealth; provided, however, that a health carrier may offer health insurance to a business of more than fifty employees in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. In determining the number of eligible employees, a business shall be considered to be 1 eligible small business or group if: (1) it is eligible to file a combined tax return for purpose of state taxation, or (2) its companies are affiliated companies through the same corporate parent. Except as otherwise specifically provided, provisions of this chapter which apply to an eligible small business shall continue to apply through the end of the rating period in which an eligible insured no longer meets the requirements of this definition. An eligible small business that exists within a MEWA shall be subject to this chapter.

“Emergency services”, services to treat a medical condition, whether physical or mental, manifesting itself by symptoms of sufficient severity, including severe pain, that the absence of prompt medical attention could reasonably be expected by a prudent layperson who possesses an average knowledge of health and medicine, to result in placing the health of an insured or another person in serious jeopardy, serious impairment to body function, or serious dysfunction of any body organ or part, or, with respect to a pregnant woman, as further defined in section 1867(e)(l)(B) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 1395dd(e)(l)(B).

“Financial impairment”, a condition in which, as determined by the commissioner, the applicant is, or if subjected to the provisions of this chapter could reasonably be expected to be, insolvent, or otherwise in an unsound financial condition such as to render its further transactions of business hazardous to the public or its policyholders or members, or compelled to compromise, or attempt to compromise, with its creditors or claimants on the grounds that it is financially unable to pay its claims.

“Group average premium rates”, a set of numbers, one for each rate basis type, where each number is the total of the premiums charged to an eligible small business for all eligible employees and eligible dependents or eligible individuals and their dependents of that rate basis type, divided by the number of insured eligible employees of that rate basis type.

“Group base premium rates”, the group average premium rates that would be charged by a carrier at the beginning of the rating period if the premiums were based solely upon the age, industry, participation rate, tobacco usage, and rate basis type of the members of the group. The group base premium rates for every group shall be adjusted to a January first basis by dividing each group base premium rate by a deflator. The deflator equals the sum of trend for that carrier and the number one (1), raised to the power of the fraction of the calendar year which has elapsed at the time the new rating period begins.

“Group health plan”, an employee welfare benefit plan, as defined in section 3(1) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. 1002, to the extent that the plan provides medical care, and including items and services paid for as medical care to employees or their dependents, as defined under the terms of the plan directly or through insurance, reimbursement or otherwise. For the purposes of this chapter, medical care means amounts paid for (i) the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, or amounts paid for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body; (ii) amounts paid for transportation primarily for and essential to medical care referred to in clause (i); and (iii) amounts paid for insurance covering medical care referred to in clauses (i) and (ii). Any plan, fund or program which would not be, but for section 2721(e) of the federal Public Health Service Act, an employee welfare benefit plan, and which is established or maintained by a partnership, to the extent that the plan, fund or program provides medical care, including items and services paid for as medical care, to present or former partners in the partnership, or to their dependents, as defined under the terms of the plan, fund or program, directly or through insurance, reimbursement or otherwise, shall be treated, subject to clause (a), as an employee welfare benefit plan which is a group health plan. In a group health plan, (a) the term “employer” also includes the partnership in relation to any partner; and (b) the term “participant” also includes:--

(1) in connection with a group health plan maintained by a partnership, an individual who is a partner of the partnership; or

(2) in connection with a group health plan maintained by a self-employed individual, under which 1 or more employees are participants, the self-employed individual if that individual is, or may become, eligible to receive a benefit under the plan or that individual's beneficiaries may be eligible to receive any benefit. For purposes of this definition, “partnership” shall include a limited liability company with more than 1 member, and a member of such a limited liability company shall be deemed to be a partner.

“Health benefit plan”, any individual, general, blanket or group policy of health, accident and sickness insurance issued by an insurer licensed under chapter 175; an individual or group hospital service plan issued by a non-profit hospital service corporation under chapter 176A; an individual or group medical service plan issued by a nonprofit medical service corporation under chapter 176B; and an individual or group health maintenance contract issued by a health maintenance organization under chapter 176G. Health benefit plans shall not include:accident only, credit only, limited scope vision or dental benefits if offered separately; hospital indemnity insurance policies if offered as independent, non- coordinated benefits which for the purposes of this chapter shall mean policies issued under chapter 175 which provide a benefit not to exceed $500 per day, as adjusted on an annual basis by the amount of increase in the average weekly wages in the commonwealth as defined in section 1 of chapter 152, to be paid to an insured or a dependent, including the spouse of an insured, on the basis of a hospitalization of the insured or a dependent; disability income insurance; coverage issued as a supplement to liability insurance; specified disease insurance that is purchased as a supplement and not as a substitute for a health plan and meets any requirements the commissioner by regulation may set; insurance arising out of a workers' compensation law or similar law; automobile medical payment insurance; insurance under which benefits are payable with or without regard to fault and which is statutorily required to be contained in a liability insurance policy or equivalent self insurance; long-term care if offered separately; coverage supplemental to the coverage provided under 10 U.S.C. 55 if offered as a separate insurance policy; or any policy subject to chapter 176K or any similar policies issued on a group basis, Medicare Advantage plans or Medicare Prescription drug plans. A health plan issued, renewed or delivered within or without the commonwealth to an individual who is enrolled in a qualifying student health insurance program under section 18 of chapter 15A shall not be considered a health plan for the purposes of this chapter and shall be governed by said chapter 15A. The commissioner may by regulation define other health coverage as a health benefit plan for the purposes of this chapter.

“Intermediary”, a chamber of commerce, trade association, or other organization, formed for purposes other than obtaining insurance, as determined by the commissioner, which offers as a service to its members the option of purchasing a health benefit plan.

“Late enrollee”, an eligible employee or dependent who requests enrollment in an eligible small business' health insurance plan or insurance arrangement after the group's initial enrollment period, their initial eligibility date provided under the terms of the plan or arrangement, or the group's annual open enrollment period, provided however, that an eligible employee or dependent shall not be considered a late enrollee if the request for enrollment to the insurer is made within thirty days after termination of coverage provided under another health insurance plan or arrangement where such coverage has ceased due to termination of the spouse's employment or death of the spouse.

“Mandated benefit”, a health service or category of health service provider which a carrier is required by its licensing or other statute to include in its health benefit plan.

“Member”, any person enrolled in a health benefit plan.

“Modified community rate”, a rate resulting from a rating methodology in which the premium for all persons within the same rate basis type who are covered under a health benefit plan is the same without regard to health status, but premiums may vary due to factors such as age, group size, industry, participation rate, geographic area, wellness program usage, tobacco usage, or benefit level for each rate basis type as permitted by this chapter.

“MEWA”, or “multiple employer welfare arrangement”, also called a “multiple employer trust”, either: (1) a fully-insured multiple employer welfare arrangement as defined in sections 3 and 514 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 USC 1002 and 1144, as amended; or, (2) an entity holding itself out to be a multiple employer welfare arrangement or so-called “multiple employer trust” which is not fully insured and, therefore, shall be required to be licensed under chapter one hundred and seventy-five. An arrangement that constitutes a MEWA is considered a separate group health plan with respect to each employer maintaining the arrangement.

“Participation rate”, the percentage of eligible employees electing to participate in a health benefit plan out of all eligible employees, or the percentage of the sum of eligible employees and eligible dependents electing to participate in a health benefit plan out of the sum of all eligible employees and eligible dependents at the election of the carrier. In either case, the numbers used to compute these percentages shall not include any eligible employee or eligible dependent who does not participate in the eligible small business' health benefit plan, but who is enrolled in a health benefit plan through a source other than the eligible small business.

“Participation requirement”, a policy provision, or a carrier's underwriting guideline if there is no such provision, which requires that a group attain a certain participation rate in order for a carrier to accept the group for enrollment in the plan. For groups of five or fewer eligible persons, a carrier may require a participation rate not to exceed one hundred percent. For groups of six or more eligible persons, a carrier may require a participation rate not to exceed seventy-five percent.

“Pre-existing conditions provision”, with respect to coverage, a limitation or exclusion of benefits relating to a condition based on the fact that the condition was present before the date of enrollment for the coverage, whether or not any medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment was recommended or received before that date. Genetic information shall not be treated as a condition in the absence of a diagnosis of the condition related to that information. Pregnancy shall not be a preexisting condition.

“Prototype plan”, a health benefit plan which meets the criteria established by the commissioner. At least one prototype plan shall have benefit and cost sharing levels that are consistent with the basic method of operation and the benefit plans of health maintenance organizations, including any restrictions imposed by federal law.

"Qualified association", a Massachusetts nonprofit or not-for-profit corporation or other entity organized and maintained for the purposes of advancing the occupational, professional, trade or industry interests of its association members, other than that of obtaining health insurance, and that has been in active existence for at least 5 years, that comprises at least 100 association members and membership in which is generally available to potential association members of such occupation, profession, trade or industry without regard to the health condition or status of a prospective association member or the employees and dependents of a prospective association member.

“Qualifying health plan”, any (i) blanket or general policy of medical, surgical or hospital insurance described in subdivision (A), (C) or (D) of section one hundred and ten of chapter one hundred and seventy-five; (ii) policy of accident or sickness insurance as described in section one hundred and eight of chapter one hundred and seventy-five which provides hospital or surgical expense coverage; (iii) nongroup or group hospital or medical service plan issued by a non-profit hospital or medical service corporation under chapters one hundred and seventy-six A and one hundred and seventy-six B; (iv) nongroup or group health maintenance contract issued by a health maintenance organization under chapter one hundred and seventy-six G; (v) insured group health benefit plan that includes a preferred provider arrangement under chapter one hundred and seventy-six I; (vi) self-insured or self-funded employer group health plan; (vii) health coverage provided to persons serving in the armed forces of the United States; or (viii) medical assistance provided under chapter one hundred and eighteen E. The commissioner may, by regulation, define other health coverage as a qualifying health plan for the purposes of this chapter.

“Rate basis type”, each category of individual or family composition for which separate rates are charged for a health benefit plan as determined by the carrier subject to restrictions set forth in regulations promulgated by the commissioner.

“Rating factor”, characteristics including, but not limited to, age, industry, rate basis type, geography, wellness program usage or tobacco usage.

“Rating period”, the period for which premium rates established by a carrier are in effect, as determined by the carrier.

“Resident”, a natural person living in the commonwealth, but the confinement of a person in a nursing home, hospital or other institution shall not by itself be sufficient to qualify a person as a resident.

"Small business group purchasing cooperative", or "group purchasing cooperative", a Massachusetts nonprofit or not-for-profit corporation or association, approved as a qualified association by the commissioner under section 13, all the members of which are part of a qualified association which negotiates with 1 or more carriers for the issuance of health benefit plans that cover employees, and the employees' dependents, of the qualified association's members.

“Trade Act/HCTC-eligible persons”, any eligible trade adjustment assistance recipient or any eligible alternative trade adjustment assistance recipient as defined in section 35(c)(2) of section 201 of Title II of Public Law 107-210, or an eligible Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation pension recipient who is at least 55 years old and who has qualified health coverage, does not have other specified coverage, and is not imprisoned, under Public Law 107-210.

“Trend”, the annual change, from the first day of a group's prior rating period to the first day of that group's new rating period, in the average of all groups' base premium rates attributable to factors other than changes in benefit levels, adjusted for rating periods greater or lesser than one year.

“Waiting period”, a period immediately subsequent to the effective date of an insured's coverage under a health benefit plan during which the plan does not pay for some or all hospital or medical expenses, but in all cases pays for emergency services.

"Wellness program", or "health management program", an organized system designed to improve the overall health of participants through activities that may include, but shall not be limited to, education, health risk assessment, lifestyle coaching, behavior modification and targeted disease management.


Provides definitions pertaining to Connector Seal of Approval for private insurace plans.