By Maxey                                              H.B. No. 1190
       74R5341 PB-D
                                 A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
    1-1                                AN ACT
    1-2  relating to a prohibition of the use of certain underwriting
    1-3  guidelines by health insurers.
    1-5        SECTION 1.  Subchapter B, Chapter 21, Insurance Code, is
    1-6  amended by adding Article 21.21-7 to read as follows:
    1-7        Art. 21.21-7.  PROHIBITION ON USE BY HEALTH INSURERS OF
    1-9        Sec. 1.  DEFINITIONS.  In this article:
   1-10              (1)  "Health insurer" means any insurance company,
   1-11  group hospital service corporation, or health maintenance
   1-12  organization that delivers or issues for delivery an individual,
   1-13  group, blanket, or franchise insurance policy or insurance
   1-14  agreement, a group hospital service contract, or an evidence of
   1-15  coverage that provides benefits for medical or surgical expenses
   1-16  incurred as a result of an accident or sickness.
   1-17              (2)  "Underwriting guideline" means a rule, standard,
   1-18  marketing decision, or practice that is used by a health insurer or
   1-19  an agent of a health insurer to examine, bind, accept, reject,
   1-20  cancel, or limit insurance coverage to groups of consumers of
   1-21  insurance.
   1-22        Sec. 2.  APPLICATION.  This article applies to any health
   1-23  insurance policy, agreement, contract, or evidence of coverage
   1-24  delivered or issued for delivery by a health insurer.
    2-1        Sec. 3.  PROHIBITION.  A health insurer may not use an
    2-2  underwriting guideline that is based in whole or in part on the
    2-3  ability of an insured or an applicant for insurance coverage to
    2-4  speak English fluently or to be literate in the English language.
    2-5        Sec. 4.  PENALTY.  A health insurer who violates this article
    2-6  commits an unfair practice in violation of Article 21.21 of this
    2-7  code and is subject to the penalties imposed under that article.
    2-8        SECTION 2.   This Act takes effect September 1, 1995, and
    2-9  applies only to a health insurance policy, contract, agreement, or
   2-10  evidence of coverage that is delivered, issued for delivery, or
   2-11  renewed on or after January 1, 1996.  A policy, contract,
   2-12  agreement, or evidence of coverage that is delivered, issued for
   2-13  delivery, or renewed before January 1, 1996, is governed by the law
   2-14  as it existed immediately before the effective date of this Act,
   2-15  and that law is continued in effect for that purpose.
   2-16        SECTION 3.  The importance of this legislation and the
   2-17  crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an
   2-18  emergency and an imperative public necessity that the
   2-19  constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several
   2-20  days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.