61st Legislature
2009 Regular Session

Passed by the House March 10, 2009
  Yeas 62   Nays 34

Speaker of the House of Representatives

Passed by the Senate April 14, 2009
  Yeas 41   Nays 5

President of the Senate

I, Barbara Baker, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 2052 as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.

Chief Clerk

Governor of the State of Washington

Secretary of State
State of Washington



Passed Legislature - 2009 Regular Session
State of Washington61st Legislature2009 Regular Session

By House Ways & Means (originally sponsored by Representative Cody; by request of Health Care Authority)

READ FIRST TIME 03/03/09.   

     AN ACT Relating to delaying implementation of the health insurance partnership; amending RCW 70.47A.030, 70.47A.040, and 70.47A.070; and repealing 2007 c 260 s 11 (uncodified).


Sec. 1   RCW 70.47A.030 and 2008 c 143 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:
     (1) To the extent funding is appropriated in the operating budget for this purpose, the health insurance partnership is established. The administrator shall be responsible for the implementation and operation of the health insurance partnership, directly or by contract. The administrator shall offer premium subsidies to eligible partnership participants under RCW 70.47A.040. ((The partnership shall begin to offer coverage no later than March 1, 2009.))
     (2) Consistent with policies adopted by the board under RCW 70.47A.110, the administrator shall, directly or by contract:
     (a) Establish and administer procedures for enrolling small employers in the partnership, including publicizing the existence of the partnership and disseminating information on enrollment, and establishing rules related to minimum participation of employees in small groups purchasing health insurance through the partnership. Opportunities to publicize the program for outreach and education of small employers on the value of insurance shall explore the use of online employer guides. As a condition of participating in the partnership, a small employer must agree to establish a cafeteria plan under section 125 of the federal internal revenue code that will enable employees to use pretax dollars to pay their share of their health benefit plan premium. The partnership shall provide technical assistance to small employers for this purpose;
     (b) Establish and administer procedures for health benefit plan enrollment by employees of small employers during open enrollment periods and outside of open enrollment periods upon the occurrence of any qualifying event specified in the federal health insurance portability and accountability act of 1996 or applicable state law. Except to the extent authorized in RCW 70.47A.110(1)(e), neither the employer nor the partnership shall limit an employee's choice of coverage from among the health benefit plans offered through the partnership;
     (c) Establish and manage a system of collecting and transmitting to the applicable carriers all premium payments or contributions made by or on behalf of partnership participants, including employer contributions, automatic payroll deductions for partnership participants, premium subsidy payments, and contributions from philanthropies;
     (d) Establish and manage a system for determining eligibility for and making premium subsidy payments under chapter 259, Laws of 2007;
     (e) Establish a mechanism to apply a surcharge to each health benefit plan purchased through the partnership, which shall be used only to pay for administrative and operational expenses of the partnership. The surcharge must be applied uniformly to all health benefit plans purchased through the partnership. Any surcharge amount may be added to the premium, but shall not be considered part of the small group community rate, and shall be applied only to the coverage purchased through the partnership. Surcharges may not be used to pay any premium assistance payments under this chapter. The surcharge shall reflect administrative and operational expenses remaining after any appropriation provided by the legislature to support administrative or operational expenses of the partnership during the year the surcharge is assessed;
     (f) Design a schedule of premium subsidies that is based upon gross family income, giving appropriate consideration to family size and the ages of all family members based on a benchmark health benefit plan designated by the board. The amount of an eligible partnership participant's premium subsidy shall be determined by applying a sliding scale subsidy schedule with the percentage of premium similar to that developed for subsidized basic health plan enrollees under RCW 70.47.060. The subsidy shall be applied to the employee's premium obligation for his or her health benefit plan, so that employees benefit financially from any employer contribution to the cost of their coverage through the partnership.
     (3) The administrator may enter into interdepartmental agreements with the office of the insurance commissioner, the department of social and health services, and any other state agencies necessary to implement this chapter.

Sec. 2   RCW 70.47A.040 and 2008 c 143 s 3 are each amended to read as follows:
     Beginning January 1, ((2009)) 2011, subject to sufficient state or federal funding being provided specifically for this purpose, the administrator shall accept applications from eligible partnership participants, on behalf of themselves, their spouses, and their dependent children, to receive premium subsidies through the health insurance partnership. Every effort shall be made to coordinate premium subsidies for dependent children with federal funding available under Title XIX and Title XXI of the federal social security act, consistent with the requirements established in RCW 74.09.470(4) for the employer-sponsored insurance program at the department of social and health services.

Sec. 3   RCW 70.47A.070 and 2008 c 143 s 4 are each amended to read as follows:
     Upon implementation of the health insurance partnership program, the administrator shall report biennially((, beginning November 1, 2010,)) to the relevant policy and fiscal committees of the legislature on the effectiveness and efficiency of the health insurance partnership program, including enrollment trends, the services and benefits covered under the purchased health benefit plans, consumer satisfaction, and other program operational issues.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4   2007 c 260 s 11 (uncodified) is repealed.

--- END ---