NU Online News Service, Jan. 2, 2004, 4:57 p.m. EST – The Texas Department of Insurance is asking carriers that sell small group health plans in the state to file Consumer Choice Plan policies.[@@]

A new state law created by state Senate Bill 541 requires small group carriers to offer small employers a choice between a plan that provides all state-mandated benefits and a CCP version that does without many state-mandated benefits.

The new law replaces an old law that required small group carriers to offer employers a choice between catastrophic health insurance and basic coverage, according to Texas Commissioner’s Bulletin Number B-0051-03.

“To date, many small employer carriers have not filed CCP policy, certificate and evidence of coverage forms,” Kimberly Stokes, a senior associate commissioner, writes in the bulletin.

The Texas department’s Life, Health & Licensing unit will be reviewing CCP filings starting April 1, Stokes writes.

The Texas department still is developing the rules needed to implement the CCP program, but carriers can base their coverage forms on the requirements given in the law, Stokes says.

The Texas department has posted the bulletin at http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/commish/bulletins/b-0051-3.html