NU Online News Service, Feb. 17, 2004, 1:23 p.m. EST – Texas insurance regulators want health carriers to help them estimate how much benefits mandates really cost.[@@]

The Texas Department of Insurance will start requiring small and midsize carriers to file mandate cost information April 1.

Starting in 2005, affected carriers will have to file mandate cost reports every year on Dec. 1.

Texas will require insurers to file the mandate cost reports if they generate at least $10 million in annual premium revenue from Texas group health business or at least $2 million in annual premiums from Texas individual health premium revenue.

Health maintenance organizations will have to file the reports if they generate at least $10 million in annual Texas premium revenue.

The Texas department is developing a Web-based system that carriers can use to enter the data. It hopes to have the system ready March 1.

While carriers are waiting for the developers to complete the electronic system, they can get a paper version of the mandate cost survey form at http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/company/mbindex.html

“Due to the volume and complexity of the data involved, the department strongly recommends that carriers print the forms and begin collecting the required data as soon as possible,” the department says.