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S02541 Summary:

BILL NOS02541
 
SAME ASSAME AS A01753
 
SPONSORRIVERA
 
COSPNSRBAILEY, GOUNARDES, HARCKHAM, HOYLMAN, JACKSON, KENNEDY, KRUEGER, PERSAUD, RAMOS, SALAZAR
 
MLTSPNSR
 
Add 2828, Pub Health L; add Art 10-B 286 - 287, D & C L; amd 5004, CPLR; add 3244 & 4331, Ins L
 
Provides extensions for certain medical debt and insurance premiums related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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S02541 Actions:

BILL NOS02541
 
01/21/2021REFERRED TO HEALTH
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S02541 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                          2541
 
                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions
 
                    IN SENATE
 
                                    January 21, 2021
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced  by Sens. RIVERA, BAILEY, GOUNARDES, HARCKHAM, HOYLMAN, JACK-
          SON, KENNEDY, KRUEGER, PERSAUD,  RAMOS,  SALAZAR  --  read  twice  and
          ordered  printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on
          Health
 
        AN ACT to amend the public health law, the debtor and creditor law,  the
          civil  practice  law  and  rules and the insurance law, in relation to
          COVID-19 pandemic medical debt requirements
 
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section  1.  The  public health law is amended by adding a new section
     2  2828 to read as follows:
     3    § 2828. COVID-19 pandemic medical debt requirements.  1.  Definitions.
     4  The  following words or phrases, as used in this section, shall have the
     5  following meanings:
     6    (a) "Collection action" means any of the following:
     7    (i) Selling an individual's debt to another party, except if, prior to
     8  the sale, the medical creditor has entered into a legally binding  writ-
     9  ten agreement with the medical debt buyer of the debt pursuant to which:
    10    (1) The medical debt buyer or collector is prohibited from engaging in
    11  any  collection  actions,  as  defined herein, to obtain payment for the
    12  care;
    13    (2) The medical debt buyer is prohibited from charging interest on the
    14  debt in excess of that described in subdivision three of this section;
    15    (3) The debt is returnable to or recallable by  the  medical  creditor
    16  upon  a determination by the medical creditor or medical debt buyer that
    17  the individual is eligible for financial assistance; and
    18    (4) If the individual is  determined  to  be  eligible  for  financial
    19  assistance  and  the  debt is not returned to or recalled by the medical
    20  creditor, the medical debt buyer is required  to  adhere  to  procedures
    21  which  shall be specified in the agreement that ensure that the individ-
    22  ual does not pay, and has no obligation to pay, the medical  debt  buyer
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD00589-01-1

        S. 2541                             2
 
     1  and  the  medical  creditor  together  more than he or she is personally
     2  responsible for paying in compliance with this section.
     3    (ii)  Reporting  adverse  information  about  a  patient to a consumer
     4  reporting agency; or
     5    (iii) Actions that require a legal or judicial process, including  but
     6  not limited to:
     7    (1) Placing or executing a lien on the individual's property;
     8    (2)  Attaching  or  seizing  an individual's bank account or any other
     9  personal property;
    10    (3) Commencing or prosecuting a civil action against an individual;
    11    (4) Garnishing an individual's wages; or
    12    (5) Any other involuntary collection activity.
    13    (b) "Consumer reporting agency" has the same meaning as such  term  is
    14  defined in section three hundred eighty-a of the general business law.
    15    (c)  "Declared  state  disaster  emergency" means the declaration of a
    16  state of emergency pursuant to article two-B of the executive law.
    17    (d) "Healthcare professional" means a  person  licensed  or  certified
    18  pursuant to title eight of the education law.
    19    (e)   "Healthcare   services"   means   services  for  the  diagnosis,
    20  prevention, treatment, cure or relief of a physical, dental,  behavioral
    21  substance  use  disorder  or mental health condition, illness, injury or
    22  disease. These services include, but are not limited to, any procedures,
    23  products, devices or medications.
    24    (f) "Hospital" means all providers licensed under this article.
    25    (g) "Medical debt" means a debt arising from the receipt of healthcare
    26  services.
    27    (h) "Medical debt buyer" means a person or entity that is  engaged  in
    28  the business of purchasing medical debts for collection purposes, wheth-
    29  er  it collects the debt itself or hires a third party for collection or
    30  an attorney for litigation in order to collect such debt.
    31    (i) "Medical debt collector" means any person or entity that regularly
    32  collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly,  medical  debts
    33  originally  owed  or  due  or  asserted  to be owed or due to another. A
    34  medical debt buyer is considered to be a medical debt collector for  all
    35  purposes.
    36    (j)  "Patient"  means the person who received healthcare services, and
    37  for the purposes of this section shall include: a parent if the  patient
    38  is  a minor; a legal guardian if the patient is an adult under guardian-
    39  ship; an authorized representative; or a guarantor.
    40    (k) "Period of suspension" means a period consisting of the first  day
    41  of  a declared state disaster emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic
    42  and until no less than sixty days after a declared state disaster  emer-
    43  gency  related  to the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer in effect anywhere
    44  in the state.
    45    2. Involuntary collection activity. No hospital or healthcare  profes-
    46  sional  shall  engage  in  any  collection  actions during the period of
    47  suspension.
    48    3. No accrual of interest. Interest shall not accrue  on  any  medical
    49  debt  described under subdivision two for which collection was suspended
    50  for the period of suspension.
    51    4. Notice. To inform patients of the actions taken in accordance  with
    52  this  section  and  ensure  an  effective  transition, all hospitals and
    53  healthcare professionals shall:
    54    (a) Not later than fifteen days  after  the  effective  date  of  this
    55  section, notify patients:

        S. 2541                             3
 
     1    (i) of the actions taken in accordance with subdivisions two and three
     2  of  this  section  for whom collections have been suspended and interest
     3  waived;
     4    (ii)  of the option to continue making payments toward any amount due;
     5  and
     6    (iii) that the program  described  in  this  section  is  a  temporary
     7  program.
     8    (b)  Within fifteen days after the expiration of the period of suspen-
     9  sion, carry out a program to provide no  fewer  than  three  notices  by
    10  postal  mail, telephone or electronic communication to patients indicat-
    11  ing:
    12    (i) when the patient's normal payment obligations will resume;
    13    (ii) with respect to notices submitted by hospitals, that the  patient
    14  may  be  eligible  to enroll in the hospital's financial assistance plan
    15  pursuant to section twenty-eight hundred seven-k of this article; and
    16    (iii) with respect to notices submitted by  healthcare  professionals,
    17  that  the  patient  may  be eligible to enroll in a financial assistance
    18  plan, if the healthcare professional has a financial  assistance  policy
    19  for his or her patients.
    20    5.  Proof  of  submission  of  claim. With respect to patients who are
    21  uninsured on the date that the treating hospital or  healthcare  profes-
    22  sional  renders  testing  or  treatment  services  related  to COVID-19,
    23  including, but not limited to, diagnostic evaluations, testing or  other
    24  methods  to  rule  out  diseases  with  similar symptoms to COVID-19, no
    25  hospital or healthcare professional may engage in any collection actions
    26  to collect payment for such services, unless the  treating  hospital  or
    27  healthcare  professional  produces  a sworn affidavit that he, she or it
    28  submitted a claim for payment for such services to the  federal  depart-
    29  ment  of health and human services, health resources and services admin-
    30  istration (HRSA), in accordance with federal law, and that  HRSA  denied
    31  the claim.
    32    6.  Private  right of action. Every violation of this section shall be
    33  deemed a deceptive act and practice subject to enforcement under article
    34  twenty-two-A of the general business law. Nothing in this section  shall
    35  be  construed  to restrict any right which any person may have under any
    36  other statute or the common law.
    37    § 2. The debtor and creditor law is amended by adding  a  new  article
    38  10-B to read as follows:
    39                                ARTICLE 10-B
    40         TEMPORARY RELIEF FROM COLLECTION OF MEDICAL DEBT DURING THE
    41                              COVID-19 PANDEMIC
    42  Section 286. Definitions.
    43          287. Requirements.
    44    § 286. Definitions. As used in this article, the following terms shall
    45  have the following meanings:
    46    1. "Collection action" means any of the following:
    47    (a) Selling an individual's debt to another party, except if, prior to
    48  the  sale, the medical creditor has entered into a legally binding writ-
    49  ten agreement with the medical debt buyer of the debt pursuant to which:
    50    (i) The medical debt buyer or collector is prohibited from engaging in
    51  any collection actions, as defined herein, to  obtain  payment  for  the
    52  care;
    53    (ii)  The  medical  debt buyer is prohibited from charging interest on
    54  the debt in excess of that described in this section;

        S. 2541                             4
 
     1    (iii) The debt is returnable to or recallable by the medical  creditor
     2  upon  a determination by the medical creditor or medical debt buyer that
     3  the individual is eligible for financial assistance; and
     4    (iv)  If  the  individual  is  determined to be eligible for financial
     5  assistance and the debt is not returned to or recalled  by  the  medical
     6  creditor,  the  medical  debt  buyer is required to adhere to procedures
     7  which shall be specified in the agreement that ensure that the  individ-
     8  ual  does  not pay, and has no obligation to pay, the medical debt buyer
     9  and the medical creditor together more than  he  or  she  is  personally
    10  responsible for paying in compliance with this section.
    11    (b)  Reporting  adverse  information  about  a  patient  to a consumer
    12  reporting agency; or
    13    (c) Actions that require a legal or judicial  process,  including  but
    14  not limited to:
    15    (i) Placing or executing a lien on the individual's property;
    16    (ii)  Attaching  or  seizing an individual's bank account or any other
    17  personal property;
    18    (iii) Commencing or prosecuting a civil action against an individual;
    19    (iv) Garnishing an individual's wages; or
    20    (v) Any other involuntary collection activity.
    21    2. "Consumer reporting agency" has the same meaning as  such  term  is
    22  defined in section three hundred eighty-a of the general business law.
    23    3.  "Declared  state  disaster  emergency"  means the declaration of a
    24  state of emergency pursuant to article two-B of the executive law.
    25    4. "Healthcare professional" means  a  person  licensed  or  certified
    26  pursuant to title eight of the education law.
    27    5. "Healthcare services" means services for the diagnosis, prevention,
    28  treatment,  cure  or  relief of a physical, dental, behavioral substance
    29  use disorder or mental health condition,  illness,  injury  or  disease.
    30  These  services  include,  but  are  not  limited  to,  any  procedures,
    31  products, devices or medications.
    32    6. "Hospital" means all hospitals licensed under article  twenty-eight
    33  of the public health law.
    34    7.  "Medical debt" means a debt arising from the receipt of healthcare
    35  services.
    36    8. "Medical debt buyer" means a person or entity that  is  engaged  in
    37  the business of purchasing medical debts for collection purposes, wheth-
    38  er  it collects the debt itself or hires a third party for collection or
    39  an attorney for litigation in order to collect such debt.
    40    9. "Medical debt collector" means any person or entity that  regularly
    41  collects  or  attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, medical debts
    42  originally owed or due or asserted to be  owed  or  due  to  another.  A
    43  medical  debt buyer is considered to be a medical debt collector for all
    44  purposes.
    45    10. "Patient" means the person who received healthcare  services,  and
    46  for  the purposes of this article shall include: a parent if the patient
    47  is a minor; a legal guardian if the patient is an adult under  guardian-
    48  ship; an authorized representative; or a guarantor.
    49    11.  "Period of suspension" means a period consisting of the first day
    50  of a declared state disaster emergency related to the COVID-19  pandemic
    51  and  until no less than sixty days after a declared state disaster emer-
    52  gency related to the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer in  effect  anywhere
    53  in the state.
    54    §  287.  Requirements.  1. Temporary relief from collection of medical
    55  debt. All medical debt buyers and collectors shall suspend all  payments
    56  due for medical debt through the period of suspension.

        S. 2541                             5
 
     1    2.  No  accrual  of interest. Interest shall not accrue on any medical
     2  debt described under subdivision one of this section for  which  payment
     3  was suspended for the period of suspension.
     4    3. Involuntary collection activity. No medical debt buyer or collector
     5  shall engage in any collection actions during the period of suspension.
     6    4.  Notice. To inform patients of the actions taken in accordance with
     7  this section and ensure an effective transition, all medical debt buyers
     8  and collectors shall:
     9    (a) Not later than fifteen days  after  the  effective  date  of  this
    10  section, notify patients:
    11    (i)  of  the actions taken in accordance with subdivisions one and two
    12  of this section for whom  payments  have  been  suspended  and  interest
    13  waived;
    14    (ii) of the actions taken in accordance with subdivision three of this
    15  section for whom collections have been suspended;
    16    (iii) of the option to continue making payments toward any amount due;
    17  and
    18    (iv)  that  the  program  described  under this section is a temporary
    19  program.
    20    (b) Within fifteen days after the expiration of the period of  suspen-
    21  sion,  carry  out  a  program  to provide no fewer than three notices by
    22  postal mail, telephone or electronic communication to patients  indicat-
    23  ing:
    24    (i) when the patient's normal payment obligations will resume; and
    25    (ii) that the patient may be eligible to enroll in a financial assist-
    26  ance  plan pursuant to any applicable and available financial assistance
    27  policy of either the medical debt buyer or collector.
    28    5. Proof of submission of claim. With  respect  to  patients  who  are
    29  uninsured  on  the date that the treating hospital or healthcare profes-
    30  sional renders  testing  or  treatment  services  related  to  COVID-19,
    31  including,  but not limited to, diagnostic evaluations, testing or other
    32  methods to rule out diseases  with  similar  symptoms  to  COVID-19,  no
    33  medical  debt buyer or collector may engage in any collection actions to
    34  collect payment for such  services,  unless  the  treating  hospital  or
    35  healthcare  professional  produces  a sworn affidavit that he, she or it
    36  submitted a claim for payment for such services to the  federal  depart-
    37  ment  of health and human services, health resources and services admin-
    38  istration (HRSA), in accordance with federal law, and that  HRSA  denied
    39  the claim.
    40    6.  Private  right of action. Every violation of this section shall be
    41  deemed a deceptive act and practice subject to enforcement under article
    42  twenty-two-A of the general business law. Nothing in this section  shall
    43  be  construed  to restrict any right which any person may have under any
    44  other statute or the common law.
    45    § 3. Section 5004 of the civil practice law and rules, as  amended  by
    46  chapter 258 of the laws of 1981, is amended to read as follows:
    47    §  5004.  Rate  of interest. Interest shall be at the rate of nine per
    48  centum per annum, except where otherwise provided by  statute,  provided
    49  that  the  annual  rate  of interest to be paid on a judgment or accrued
    50  claim in an action arising from a medical debt, as  defined  by  section
    51  two  thousand eight hundred twenty-eight of the public health law, where
    52  the purchaser, borrower or debtor is the defendant shall  be  calculated
    53  at  the  one-year United States treasury bill rate; and provided further
    54  that no interest shall accrue on a  judgment  or  accrued  claim  in  an
    55  action  arising  from  a medical debt while the state disaster emergency
    56  order related to the COVID-19 pandemic is in effect. For the purposes of

        S. 2541                             6

     1  this section, the "one-year United States treasury bill rate" means  the
     2  weekly  average  one-year constant maturity treasury yield, as published
     3  by the board of governors of the federal reserve system, for the  calen-
     4  dar  week  preceding  the  date  of  the  entry of the judgment awarding
     5  damages.
     6    § 4. The insurance law is amended by adding a new section 3244 to read
     7  as follows:
     8    § 3244. Extension of premium  payment  periods;  COVID-19.  (a)  Defi-
     9  nitions.  As  used  in  this section, the following terms shall have the
    10  following meanings:
    11    (1) "Credit reporting agency" means a reporting agency that  regularly
    12  engages in the practice of assembling or evaluating and maintaining, for
    13  the  purpose  of furnishing credit reports to third parties bearing on a
    14  person's credit worthiness, credit standing,  or  credit  capacity,  and
    15  credit  account  information  from  persons who furnish that information
    16  regularly and in the ordinary course of business.
    17    (2) "Late fee" means  a  fee  associated  with  an  insurance  premium
    18  payment  that  is  made  at  a time later than the premium due date, but
    19  prior to both insurance policy or contract termination and the  time  in
    20  which  an  insurer,  HMO,  or  student  health  plan  may reject premium
    21  payment.
    22    (3) "Medical debt buyer" means a person or entity that is  engaged  in
    23  the business of purchasing medical debts for collection purposes, wheth-
    24  er  it collects the debt itself or hires a third-party for collection or
    25  an attorney for litigation in order to collect such debt.
    26    (4) "Medical debt collector" means any person or entity that regularly
    27  collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly,  medical  debts
    28  originally  owed  or  due  or  asserted  to be owed or due to another. A
    29  medical debt buyer is considered to be a medical debt collector for  all
    30  purposes.
    31    (5)  "Student health plan" has the meaning set forth in paragraph five
    32  of subsection (a) of section one thousand  one  hundred  twenty-four  of
    33  this chapter.
    34    (6)  "Child health plus" means coverage issued pursuant to section two
    35  thousand five hundred eleven of the public health law.
    36    (7) "HMO" shall mean a health maintenance  organization  operating  in
    37  accordance  with  the  provisions  of  article  forty-four of the public
    38  health law or article forty-three of this chapter.
    39    (b) Extension of premium payment periods. Every issuer of  individual,
    40  small  group and student blanket comprehensive health insurance policies
    41  subject to this article, as well as any issuer of a  child  health  plus
    42  policy  where the policyholder or contract holder pays the entire premi-
    43  um, shall, subject to consideration by the superintendent of the liquid-
    44  ity and solvency of the applicable insurer, HMO, or student health plan,
    45  extend the period for the payment of premiums for  any  policyholder  or
    46  contract  holder  who  can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of
    47  the COVID-19 pandemic to the later of the expiration of  the  applicable
    48  contractual  grace period and the date sixty days after a state disaster
    49  emergency is no longer in effect with respect to the  COVID-19  pandemic
    50  anywhere  in  the  state.  Such an insurer, HMO, and student health plan
    51  shall be responsible for the payment of claims during  such  period  and
    52  may  not retroactively terminate the insurance policy for non-payment of
    53  the premium during such period.
    54    (c) Requirements. With  regard  to  an  individual,  small  group,  or
    55  student  blanket comprehensive health insurance policyholder or contract
    56  holder who does not make a timely premium payment  and  can  demonstrate

        S. 2541                             7
 
     1  financial  hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the applicable
     2  insurer, HMO, or student health plan: (1) shall not impose any late fees
     3  relating to such premium payment; (2) shall not report the  policyholder
     4  or contract holder to a credit reporting agency or refer the policyhold-
     5  er  or contract holder to a medical debt buyer or collector with respect
     6  to such premium payment; (3) shall provide information  to  the  policy-
     7  holder  or  contract  holder regarding alternate policies available from
     8  the insurer, HMO, or student health plan and provide contact information
     9  for the NY state of health established pursuant to title seven of  arti-
    10  cle  two  of  the  public  health law; and (4) shall provide information
    11  regarding health insurance and medical debt consumer  assistance  avail-
    12  able from the state designated consumer assistance program.
    13    (d)  Other provisions. (1) Subject to consideration by the superinten-
    14  dent of the liquidity and solvency of the applicable  insurer,  HMO,  or
    15  student  health  plan,  the  insurer,  HMO,  or student health plan also
    16  shall, within ten business days following the  effective  date  of  this
    17  section:
    18    (A) mail or deliver, which may include electronic mail, written notice
    19  to  every  individual,  small  group,  or  student blanket comprehensive
    20  health insurance policyholder and contract holder of the  provisions  of
    21  this section and a toll-free number that the individual, small group, or
    22  student  blanket comprehensive health insurance policyholder or contract
    23  holder may call to discuss billing and make alternative payment arrange-
    24  ments; and
    25    (B) notify insurance producers and any third-party administrators with
    26  whom or which the insurer  does  business  of  the  provisions  of  this
    27  section.
    28    (2)  A  licensed insurance producer who procured the individual, small
    29  group, or student blanket comprehensive health insurance policy for  the
    30  policyholder or contract holder shall mail or deliver, which may include
    31  electronic  mail,  notice  to the policyholder or contract holder of the
    32  provisions of this section within ten business days following the effec-
    33  tive date of this section.
    34    (3) Solely for the purposes of  this  section,  an  insurer,  HMO,  or
    35  student  health plan shall accept a written attestation from an individ-
    36  ual, small group,  or  student  blanket  comprehensive  policyholder  or
    37  contract  holder  as  proof  of  financial  hardship  as a result of the
    38  COVID-19 pandemic.
    39    (4) Nothing in this section shall prohibit an individual, small group,
    40  or  student  blanket  comprehensive  health  insurance  policyholder  or
    41  contract holder from voluntarily cancelling a health insurance policy.
    42    (5)  The  period  to  pay insurance premiums set forth in this section
    43  shall not constitute a waiver or forgiveness of the premium.
    44    (6) The period set forth in subsection (b)  of  this  section  applies
    45  only  to  terminations  attributed  to a failure by an individual, small
    46  group, or student blanket comprehensive health insurance policyholder or
    47  contract holder to pay premiums during such period. If an insurer,  HMO,
    48  or  student health plan terminates a policy for any other reason permit-
    49  ted by law, the insurer, HMO, or student health plan shall  comply  with
    50  statutory notice requirements.
    51    § 5. The insurance law is amended by adding a new section 4331 to read
    52  as follows:
    53    §  4331.  Extension  of  premium  payment periods; COVID-19. (a) Defi-
    54  nitions.  As used in this section, the following terms  shall  have  the
    55  following meanings:

        S. 2541                             8
 
     1    (1)  "Credit reporting agency" means a reporting agency that regularly
     2  engages in the practice of assembling or evaluating and maintaining, for
     3  the purpose of furnishing credit reports to third parties bearing  on  a
     4  person's  credit  worthiness,  credit  standing, or credit capacity, and
     5  credit  account  information  from  persons who furnish that information
     6  regularly and in the ordinary course of business.
     7    (2) "Late fee" means  a  fee  associated  with  an  insurance  premium
     8  payment  that  is  made  at  a time later than the premium due date, but
     9  prior to both insurance policy or contract termination and the  time  in
    10  which  an  insurer,  HMO,  or  student  health  plan  may reject premium
    11  payment.
    12    (3) "Medical debt buyer" means a person or entity that is  engaged  in
    13  the business of purchasing medical debts for collection purposes, wheth-
    14  er  it collects the debt itself or hires a third-party for collection or
    15  an attorney for litigation in order to collect such debt.
    16    (4) "Medical debt collector" means any person or entity that regularly
    17  collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly,  medical  debts
    18  originally  owed  or  due  or  asserted  to be owed or due to another. A
    19  medical debt buyer is considered to be a medical debt collector for  all
    20  purposes.
    21    (5)  "Student health plan" has the meaning set forth in paragraph five
    22  of subsection (a) of section one thousand  one  hundred  twenty-four  of
    23  this chapter.
    24    (6)  "Child health plus" means coverage issued pursuant to section two
    25  thousand five hundred eleven of the public health law.
    26    (7) "HMO" shall mean a health maintenance  organization  operating  in
    27  accordance  with  the  provisions  of  article  forty-four of the public
    28  health law or this article.
    29    (b) Extension of premium payment periods. Every medical expense indem-
    30  nity corporation, HMO, hospital service corporation  or  health  service
    31  corporation subject to this article which issues direct pay, small group
    32  or  student  blanket  comprehensive  contracts, as well as any issuer of
    33  child health plus coverage where the subscriber pays the entire premium,
    34  subject to consideration by the  superintendent  of  the  liquidity  and
    35  solvency  of  the applicable medical expense indemnity corporation, HMO,
    36  hospital service corporation or health service corporation, shall extend
    37  the period for the payment of premiums for any policyholder or  contract
    38  holder  who can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-
    39  19 pandemic to the later of the expiration of the applicable contractual
    40  grace period and the date sixty days after a state disaster emergency is
    41  no longer in effect with respect to the COVID-19  pandemic  anywhere  in
    42  the  state.  Such a medical expense indemnity corporation, HMO, hospital
    43  service corporation or health service corporation shall  be  responsible
    44  for  the  payment of claims during such period and may not retroactively
    45  terminate the contract for non-payment of the premium during such  peri-
    46  od.
    47    (c) Requirements. With regard to a direct pay, small group, or student
    48  blanket comprehensive health insurance contract holder who does not make
    49  a  timely  premium  payment  and can demonstrate financial hardship as a
    50  result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the applicable medical  expense  indem-
    51  nity  corporation,  HMO,  hospital service corporation or health service
    52  corporation: (1) shall not impose any late fees relating to such premium
    53  payment; (2) shall not report the contract holder to a credit  reporting
    54  agency or refer the contract holder to a medical debt buyer or collector
    55  with  respect  to such premium payment; (3) shall provide information to
    56  the contract holder regarding  alternate  policies  available  from  the

        S. 2541                             9
 
     1  medical  expense  indemnity corporation, hospital service corporation or
     2  health service corporation; and (4) shall provide information  regarding
     3  health insurance and medical debt consumer assistance available from the
     4  state designated consumer assistance program.
     5    (d)  Other provisions. (1) Subject to consideration by the superinten-
     6  dent of the liquidity and solvency of  the  applicable  medical  expense
     7  indemnity  corporation,  HMO,  hospital  service  corporation  or health
     8  service corporation, medical  expense  indemnity  corporation,  hospital
     9  service corporation or health service corporation also shall, within ten
    10  business days following the effective date of this section:
    11    (A) mail or deliver, which may include electronic mail, written notice
    12  to  every  direct  pay,  small  group,  or student blanket comprehensive
    13  health insurance contract holder of the provisions of this section and a
    14  toll-free number that the direct pay small  group,  or  student  blanket
    15  comprehensive  health  contract  holder  may call to discuss billing and
    16  make alternative payment arrangements;
    17    (B) notify insurance producers and any third-party administrators with
    18  whom or which the medical expense indemnity corporation,  HMO,  hospital
    19  service  corporation  or health service corporation does business of the
    20  provisions of this section.
    21    (2) A licensed insurance producer who procured the direct  pay,  small
    22  group, or student blanket comprehensive contract for the contract holder
    23  shall  mail or deliver, which may include electronic mail, notice to the
    24  contract holder of the provisions of this section  within  ten  business
    25  days following the effective date of this section.
    26    (3)  Solely for the purposes of this section, a medical expense indem-
    27  nity corporation, HMO, hospital service corporation  or  health  service
    28  corporation  shall accept a written attestation from a direct pay, small
    29  group, or student blanket comprehensive  contract  holder  as  proof  of
    30  financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    31    (4)  Nothing in this section shall prohibit a direct pay, small group,
    32  or  student  blanket  comprehensive  contract  holder  from  voluntarily
    33  cancelling a contract.
    34    (5)  The  period  to  pay premiums set forth in this section shall not
    35  constitute a waiver or forgiveness of the premium.
    36    (6) The period set forth in subsection (b)  of  this  section  applies
    37  only  to  terminations  attributed  to  a failure by a direct pay, small
    38  group, or student blanket comprehensive contract holder to pay  premiums
    39  during such period. If a medical expense indemnity corporation, hospital
    40  service  corporation  or  health service corporation terminates a policy
    41  for any other reason permitted  by  law,  the  insurer  medical  expense
    42  indemnity  corporation,  hospital  service corporation or health service
    43  corporation shall comply with statutory notice requirements.
    44    § 6. This act shall take effect immediately.
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