The Vermont Statutes Online
Subchapter 001 : GENERALLY(Cite as: 8 V.S.A. § 4062)
§ 4062. Filing and approval of policy forms and premiums
(a)(1) No policy of health insurance or certificate under a policy filed by an insurer offering health insurance as defined in subdivision 3301(a)(2) of this title, a nonprofit hospital or medical service corporation, a health maintenance organization, or a managed care organization and not exempted by subdivision 3368(a)(4) of this title shall be delivered or issued for delivery in this State, nor shall any endorsement, rider, or application that becomes a part of any such policy be used, until a copy of the form and of the rules for the classification of risks has been filed with the Department of Financial Regulation and a copy of the premium rates has been filed with the Green Mountain Care Board; and the Green Mountain Care Board has issued a decision approving, modifying, or disapproving the proposed rate.
(2)(A) The Green Mountain Care Board shall review rate requests and shall approve, modify, or disapprove a rate request within 90 calendar days after receipt of an initial rate filing from an insurer. If an insurer fails to provide necessary materials or other information to the Board in a timely manner, the Board may extend its review for a reasonable additional period of time, not to exceed 30 calendar days.
(B) Prior to the Board's decision on a rate request, the Department of Financial Regulation shall provide the Board with an analysis and opinion on the impact of the proposed rate on the insurer's solvency and reserves.
(3) The Board shall determine whether a rate is affordable, promotes quality care, promotes access to health care, protects insurer solvency, and is not unjust, unfair, inequitable, misleading, or contrary to the laws of this State. In making this determination, the Board shall consider the analysis and opinion provided by the Department of Financial Regulation pursuant to subdivision (2)(B) of this subsection.
(b)(1) In conjunction with a rate filing required by subsection (a) of this section, an insurer shall file a plain language summary of the proposed rate. All summaries shall include a brief justification of any rate increase requested, the information that the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requires for rate increases over 10 percent, and any other information required by the Board. The plain language summary shall be in the format required by the Secretary of HHS pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-148, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-152, and shall include notification of the public comment period established in subsection (c) of this section. In addition, the insurer shall post the summaries on its website.
(2)(A) In conjunction with a rate filing required by subsection (a) of this section, an insurer shall disclose to the Board:
(i) for all covered prescription drugs, including generic drugs, brand-name drugs excluding specialty drugs, and specialty drugs dispensed at a pharmacy, network pharmacy, or mail-order pharmacy for outpatient use:
(I) the percentage of the premium rate attributable to prescription drug costs for the prior year for each category of prescription drugs;
(II) the year-over-year increase or decrease, expressed as a percentage, in per-member, per-month total health plan spending on each category of prescription drugs; and
(III) the year-over-year increase or decrease in per-member, per-month costs for prescription drugs compared to other components of the premium rate; and
(ii) the specialty tier formulary list.
(B) The insurer shall provide, if available, the percentage of the premium rate attributable to prescription drugs administered by a health care provider in an outpatient setting that are part of the medical benefit as separate from the pharmacy benefit.
(C) The insurer shall include information on its use of a pharmacy benefit manager, if any, including which components of the prescription drug coverage described in subdivisions (A) and (B) of this subdivision (2) are managed by the pharmacy benefit manager, as well as the name of the pharmacy benefit manager or managers used.
(3)(A) Upon request, in conjunction with a rate filing required by subsection (a) of this section, an insurer shall provide to the Board detailed information about the insurer's payments to specific providers, which may include fee schedules, payment methodologies, and other payment information specified by the Board.
(B) Confidential business information and trade secrets received from an insurer pursuant to subdivision (A) of this subdivision (3) shall be exempt from public inspection and copying under 1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(9) and shall be kept confidential, except that the Board may disclose or release information publicly in summary or aggregate form if doing so would not disclose confidential business information or trade secrets.
(C) Notwithstanding 1 V.S.A. chapter 5, subchapter 2 (Vermont Open Meeting Law), the Board may examine and discuss confidential information outside a public hearing or meeting.
(c)(1) The Board shall provide information to the public on the Board's website about the public availability of the filings and summaries required under this section.
(2)(A) The Board shall post the rate filings pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and summaries pursuant to subsection (b) of this section on the Board's website within five calendar days following filing. The Board shall also establish a mechanism by which members of the public may request to be notified automatically each time a proposed rate is filed with the Board.
(B) The Board shall provide an electronic mechanism for the public to comment on all rate filings. The Board shall accept public comment on each rate filing from the date on which the Board posts the rate filing on its website pursuant to subdivision (A) of this subdivision (2) until 15 calendar days after the Board posts on its website the analyses and opinions of the Department of Financial Regulation and of the Board's consulting actuary, if any, as required by subsection (d) of this section. The Board shall review and consider the public comments prior to issuing its decision.
(3)(A) In addition to the public comment provisions set forth in this subsection, the Office of the Health Care Advocate established in 18 V.S.A. chapter 229, acting on behalf of health insurance consumers in this State, may, within 30 calendar days after the Board receives an insurer's rate request pursuant to this section, submit to the Board, in writing, suggested questions regarding the filing for the Board to provide to its contracting actuary, if any.
(B) The Office of the Health Care Advocate may also submit to the Board written comments on an insurer's rate request. The Board shall post the comments on its website and shall consider the comments prior to issuing its decision.
(d)(1) No later than 60 calendar days after receiving an insurer's rate request pursuant to this section, the Green Mountain Care Board shall make available to the public the insurer's rate filing, the Department's analysis and opinion of the effect of the proposed rate on the insurer's solvency, and the analysis and opinion of the rate filing by the Board's contracting actuary, if any.
(2) The Board shall post on its website, after redacting any confidential or proprietary information relating to the insurer or to the insurer's rate filing:
(A) all questions the Board poses to its contracting actuary, if any, and the actuary's responses to the Board's questions; and
(B) all questions the Board, the Board's contracting actuary, if any, or the Department poses to the insurer and the insurer's responses to those questions.
(e) Within the time period set forth in subdivision (a)(2)(A) of this section, the Board shall:
(1) conduct a public hearing, at which the Board shall:
(A) call as witnesses the Commissioner of Financial Regulation or designee and the Board's contracting actuary, if any, unless all parties agree to waive such testimony; and
(B) provide an opportunity for testimony from the insurer; the Office of the Health Care Advocate; and members of the public;
(2) at a public hearing, announce the Board's decision of whether to approve, modify, or disapprove the proposed rate; and
(3) issue its decision in writing.
(f)(1) The insurer shall notify its policyholders of the Board's decision in a timely manner, as defined by the Board by rule.
(2) Rates shall take effect on the date specified in the insurer's rate filing.
(3) If the Board has not issued its decision by the effective date specified in the insurer's rate filing, the insurer shall notify its policyholders of its pending rate request and of the effective date proposed by the insurer in its rate filing.
(g) An insurer, the Office of the Health Care Advocate, and any member of the public with party status, as defined by the Board by rule, may appeal a decision of the Board approving, modifying, or disapproving the insurer's proposed rate to the Vermont Supreme Court.
(h)(1) The authority of the Board under this section shall apply only to the rate review process for policies for major medical insurance coverage and shall not apply to the policy forms for major medical insurance coverage or to the rate and policy form review process for policies for specific disease, accident, injury, hospital indemnity, dental care, vision care, disability income, long-term care, student health insurance coverage, Medicare supplemental coverage, or other limited benefit coverage; to short-term, limited-duration health insurance coverage; or to benefit plans that are paid directly to an individual insured or to his or her assigns and for which the amount of the benefit is not based on potential medical costs or actual costs incurred. Premium rates and rules for the classification of risk for Medicare supplemental insurance policies shall be governed by sections 4062b and 4080e of this title.
(2) The policy forms for major medical insurance coverage, as well as the policy forms, premium rates, and rules for the classification of risk for the other lines of insurance described in subdivision (1) of this subsection shall be reviewed and approved or disapproved by the Commissioner. In making his or her determination, the Commissioner shall consider whether a policy form, premium rate, or rule is affordable and is not unjust, unfair, inequitable, misleading, or contrary to the laws of this State; and, for a policy form for major medical insurance coverage, whether it ensures equal access to appropriate mental health care in a manner equivalent to other aspects of health care as part of an integrated, holistic system of care. The Commissioner shall make his or her determination within 30 days after the date the insurer filed the policy form, premium rate, or rule with the Department. At the expiration of the 30-day period, the form, premium rate, or rule shall be deemed approved unless prior to then it has been affirmatively approved or disapproved by the Commissioner or found to be incomplete. The Commissioner shall notify an insurer in writing if the insurer files any form, premium rate, or rule containing a provision that does not meet the standards expressed in this subsection. In such notice, the Commissioner shall state that a hearing will be granted within 20 days upon the insurer's written request.
(i) Notwithstanding the procedures and timelines set forth in subsections (a) through (e) of this section, the Board may establish, by rule, a streamlined rate review process for certain rate decisions, including proposed rates affecting fewer than a minimum number of covered lives and proposed rates for which a de minimis increase, as defined by the Board by rule, is sought. (Amended 1983, No. 238 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1989, No. 106, § 3; 1989, No. 225 (Adj. Sess.), § 25; 1995, No. 180 (Adj. Sess.), § 38; 2011, No. 48, § 15, eff. Jan. 1, 2012; 2011, No. 78 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. April 2, 2012; 2011, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 25, eff. May 16, 2012; 2013, No. 79, § 5c, eff. Jan. 1, 2014; 2013, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. May 27, 2014; 2013, No. 179 (Adj. Sess.), § E.345.1; 2015, No. 54, § 31; 2017, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 16, 2018; 2017, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 7, eff. May 30, 2018; 2017, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 11; 2019, No. 159 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. Nov. 1, 2020.)