(a) A premium rate for a health care insurance plan subject to this chapter is subject to the following provisions:

Terms Used In Alaska Statutes 21.56.120 - Premium rate restrictions; disclosures; reports; confidentiality

(1) the premium rate charged or offered during a rating period to small employers with similar case characteristics as determined by the insurer for the same or similar coverage may not vary from the applicable index rate by more than 35 percent of the applicable index rate;

(2) regarding a health care insurance plan issued before July 1, 1993, if premium rates charged or offered for the same or similar coverage under a health care insurance plan covering a small employer with similar case characteristics as determined by the insurer exceeds the applicable index rate by more than 35 percent, an increase in premium rates for a new rating period may not exceed the sum of

(A) a percentage change in the base premium rate measured from the first day of the prior rating period to the first day of the new rating period; plus

(B) adjustments due to changes in case characteristics or plan design of the small employer, as determined by the insurer;

(3) the percentage increase in the premium rate charged to a small employer for a new rating period may not exceed the sum of the following:

(A) the percentage change in the new business premium rate measured from the first day of the prior rating period to the first day of the new rating period; in the case of a health benefit plan into which the small employer insurer is no longer enrolling new small employers, the small employer insurer shall use the percentage change in the base premium rate, provided that the change does not exceed, on a percentage basis, the change in the new business premium rate for the most similar health care insurance plan into which the small employer insurer is actively enrolling new small employers;

(B) any adjustment, not to exceed 15 percent annually and adjusted pro rata for rating periods of less than one year, due to the claim experience, health status, or duration of coverage of the employees or dependents of the small employer as determined from the small employer insurer’s rate manual; and

(C) any adjustment due to change in coverage or change in the case characteristics of the small employer, as determined from the small employer insurer’s rate manual;

(4) adjustments in rates for claim experience, health status, and duration of coverage may not be charged to individual employees or dependents; any adjustment must be applied uniformly to the rates charged for all employees and dependents of the small employer;

(5) a premium rate for a health care insurance plan shall comply with the requirements of this section;

(6) a small employer insurer may use industry as a case characteristic in establishing premium rates, provided that the rate factor associated with an industry classification may not vary by more than 15 percent from the arithmetic average of the highest and lowest rate factors associated with all industry classifications;

(7) a small employer insurer shall

(A) apply rating factors, including case characteristics, consistently with respect to all small employers; rating factors must produce premiums for identical groups that differ only by amounts attributable to plan design and do not reflect differences due to the nature of the groups assumed to select particular health care insurance plans; and

(B) treat all health care insurance plans issued or renewed in the same calendar month as having the same rating period;

(8) for the purposes of this subsection, a health care insurance plan that contains a restricted provider network may not be considered similar coverage to a health care insurance plan that does not use a restricted provider network if the restriction of benefits to network providers results in substantial differences in claim costs;

(9) a small employer insurer may not use case characteristics, other than age, sex, industry, geographic area, family composition, and group size without prior approval of the director.

(b) In connection with the offering for sale of a health care insurance plan to a small employer, a small employer insurer shall, as part of its solicitation and sales materials, disclose in a manner understandable by the average small employer and sufficient to reasonably inform small employers of their rights and obligations under the health care insurance plan

(1) the extent that premium rates for a specified small employer are established or adjusted based upon the actual or expected variation in claims costs or actual or expected variation in health status of the employees of the small employer and their dependents; and

(2) the provisions of the health care insurance plan

(A) concerning the small employer insurer’s right to change premium rates and factors that affect changes in premium rates;

(B) relating to renewability of policies and contracts;

(C) relating to any preexisting condition provision; and

(D) concerning the benefits and premiums available under all health care insurance plans for which the small employer qualifies.

(c) A small employer insurer shall

(1) maintain at its principal place of business a complete and detailed description of its rating practices and renewal underwriting practices, including information and documentation that demonstrate that its rating methods and practices are based upon commonly accepted actuarial assumptions and are in accordance with sound actuarial principles;

(2) file with the director annually, on or before March 15, an actuarial certification certifying that the insurer is in compliance with this chapter and AS 21.54.100 – 21.54.500 and that the rating methods of the small employer insurer are actuarially sound; the certification shall be in a form and manner, and must contain information, as specified by the director; a copy of the certification shall be retained by the small employer insurer at its principal place of business;

(3) make the information and documentation described in (1) of this subsection available to the director upon request; the information is confidential and not subject to disclosure, except

(A) as agreed to by the small employer insurer;

(B) as ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction; or

(C) the director may use the information or other discovered information in a judicial or administrative proceeding.

(d) The director may adopt regulations to implement the provisions of this section and to ensure that rating practices used by small employer insurers are consistent with the purposes of this chapter, including ensuring that differences in rates charged for health care insurance plans by small employer insurers are reasonable and reflect objective differences in plan design, not including differences due to the nature of the groups assumed to select particular health care insurance plans.

(e) In determining the premium rates for a small employer covered under an association health insurance policy authorized under AS 21.54.060 (a)(6), a small employer insurer may not use the claims experience of the small employer while the employer was covered under another health insurance policy and may use only that underwriting information obtained through the insurer’s normal application process for new small employer groups that are not written under the association plan.