An Act concerning eligibility for small employer health benefits plans and amending P.L.1992, c.162.

    Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

    1.    Section 8 of P.L.1992, c.162 (C.17B:27A-24) is amended to read as follows:

C.17B:27A-24 Reasonable specified minimum participation.

    8.    Any small employer carrier may require a reasonable specified minimum participation of eligible employees, which shall not exceed 75%, or reasonable minimum employer contributions in determining whether to accept a small group pursuant to this act. The standards so established by the carrier shall be first approved by the board and shall be applied uniformly to all small groups, except that in no event shall a carrier require an employer to contribute more than 10% to the annual cost of the policy or contract, or an amount as otherwise provided by the board, and any minimum participation standards established by the carrier shall be reasonable. In establishing the percentage of employee participation, a one-to-one credit shall be given for each employee covered by a spouse's health benefits coverage, Medicare or another group health benefits plan. In calculating an employer's participation, the carrier shall include all insured employees, regardless of whether the employees chose an indemnity plan or a health maintenance organization, or a combination thereof.

    2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

    Approved January 6, 2002.