1731.03 Small employer health care alliance powers.

(A) A small employer health care alliance may do any of the following:

(1) Negotiate and enter into agreements with one or more insurers for the insurers to offer and provide one or more health benefit plans to small employers for their employees and retirees, and the dependents and members of the families of such employees and retirees, which coverage may be made available to enrolled small employers without regard to industrial, rating, or other classifications among the enrolled small employers under an alliance program, except as otherwise provided under the alliance program, and for the alliance to perform, or contract with others for the performance of, functions under or with respect to the alliance program;

(2) Contract with another alliance for the inclusion of the small employer members of one in the alliance program of the other;

(3) Provide or cause to be provided to small employers information concerning the availability, coverage, benefits, premiums, and other information regarding an alliance program and promote the alliance program;

(4) Provide, or contract with others to provide, enrollment, record keeping, information, premium billing, collection and transmittal, and other services under an alliance program;

(5) Receive reports and information from the insurer and negotiate and enter into agreements with respect to inspection and audit of the books and records of the insurer;

(6) Provide services to and on behalf of an alliance program sponsored by another alliance, including entering into an agreement described in division (B) of section 1731.01 of the Revised Code on behalf of the other alliance;

(7) If it is a nonprofit corporation created under Chapter 1702. of the Revised Code, exercise all powers and authority of such corporations under the laws of the state, or, if otherwise constituted, exercise such powers and authority as apply to it under the applicable laws, and its articles, regulations, constitution, bylaws, or other relevant governing instruments.

(B) A small employer health care alliance is not and shall not be regarded for any purpose of law as an insurer, an offeror or seller of any insurance, a partner of or joint venturer with any insurer, an agent of, or solicitor for an agent of, or representative of, an insurer or an offeror or seller of any insurance, an adjuster of claims, or a third-party administrator, and will not be liable under or by reason of any insurance coverage or other health benefit plan provided or not provided by any insurer or by reason of any conditions or restrictions on eligibility or benefits under an alliance program or any insurance or other health benefit plan provided under an alliance program or by reason of the application of those conditions or restrictions.

(C) The promotion of an alliance program by an alliance or by an insurer is not and shall not be regarded for any purpose of law as the offer, solicitation, or sale of insurance.

(D)

(1) No alliance shall adopt, impose, or enforce medical underwriting rules or underwriting rules requiring a small employer to have more than a minimum number of employees for the purpose of determining whether an alliance member is eligible to purchase a policy, contract, or plan of health insurance or health benefits from any insurer in connection with the alliance health care program.

(2) No alliance shall reject any applicant for membership in the alliance based on the health status of the applicant's employees or their dependents or because the small employer does not have more than a minimum number of employees.

(3) A violation of division (D)(1) or (2) of this section is deemed to be an unfair and deceptive act or practice in the business of insurance under sections 3901.19 to 3901.26 of the Revised Code.

(4) Nothing in division (D)(1) or (2) of this section shall be construed as inhibiting or preventing an alliance from adopting, imposing, and enforcing rules, conditions, limitations, or restrictions that are based on factors other than the health status of employees or their dependents or the size of the small employer for the purpose of determining whether a small employer is eligible to become a member of the alliance. Division (D)(1) of this section does not apply to an insurer that sells health coverage to an alliance member under an alliance health care program.

(E) Except as otherwise specified in section 1731.09 of the Revised Code, health benefit plans offered and sold to alliance members that are small employers as defined in section 3924.01 of the Revised Code are subject to sections 3924.01 to 3924.14 of the Revised Code.

(F) Any person who represents an alliance in bargaining or negotiating a health benefit plan with an insurer shall disclose to the governing board of the alliance any direct or indirect financial relationship the person has or had during the past two years with the insurer.

Effective Date: 10-29-2003; 03-23-2007