Law:Title 5. Protection Of Consumer Interests. Subtitle B. Consumer Service Provisions from Chapter 524. Texlink To Health Coverage (Texas)

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Subtitle B. Consumer Service Provisions

Contents

Chapter 524. Texlink To Health Coverage

PROGRAM

Text of chapter effective on September 1, 2009, but only if a specific appropriation is provided as described by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 721, Sec. 2.04, which states: This Act does not make an appropriation. This Act takes effect only if a specific appropriation for the implementation of the Act is provided in a general appropriations act of the 81st Legislature.


Subchapter A. General Provisions

Section 524.001.  Definitions.

In this chapter:

(1)  "Division" means the division of the department that administers the TexLink to Health Coverage Program.

(2)  "Program" means the TexLink to Health Coverage Program established in accordance with this chapter.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 688, Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 2005.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 721, Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 524.002.  Division Responsibilities.

Under the direction of the commissioner, the division implements this chapter.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 688, Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 2005.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 721, Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 524.003.  Texlink To Health Coverage Program Established.

(a) The department shall develop and implement a health coverage program that complies with this chapter.  The program must:

(1)  educate the public about the importance and value of health coverage;

(2)  promote personal responsibility for health care through the purchase of health coverage;

(3)  assist small employers, individuals, and others seeking to purchase health coverage with technical information necessary to understand available health insurance coverage;

(4)  promote and facilitate the development and availability of new health coverage options;

(5)  increase public awareness of health coverage options available in this state; and

(6)  provide information on health coverage options, including health savings accounts and compatible high deductible health benefit plans.

(b)  The program must include a public awareness and education component.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 688, Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 2005.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 721, Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2009.



Subchapter B. Public Awareness And Education

Section 524.051.  Information About Specific Health Benefit Plan Issuers.

In materials produced for the program, the division may include information about specific health benefit plan issuers but may not favor or endorse one particular issuer over another.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 721, Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 524.052.  Public Service Announcements.

The division shall develop and make public service announcements to educate consumers and employers about the availability of health coverage in this state.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 721, Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 524.053.  Internet Website; Printed Materials; Newsletter.

(a) The division shall develop an Internet website and printed materials designed to educate small employers, individuals, and others seeking to purchase health coverage about health coverage in accordance with Section 524.003(a), including information about health savings accounts and compatible high deductible health benefit plans.

(b)  The division shall make the printed materials produced under the program available to small employers, individuals, and others seeking to purchase health coverage.  The division may:

(1)  distribute the printed materials through facilities such as libraries, health care facilities, and schools as well as other venues the division selects; and

(2)  use other distribution methods the division selects.

(c)  The division may produce a newsletter to provide updated information about health coverage to subscribers who elect to receive the newsletter.  The division may:

(1)  produce a newsletter under this subsection for small employers, for individuals, or for other purchasers of health coverage;

(2)  distribute the newsletter on a monthly, quarterly, or other basis; and

(3)  distribute the newsletter as a printed document or electronically.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 721, Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 524.054.  Toll-free Telephone Hotline; Access To Information.

(a) The division may operate a toll-free telephone hotline to respond to inquiries and provide information and technical assistance concerning health insurance coverage.

(b)  The Health and Human Services Commission, through its 2-1-1 telephone number for access to human services, may disseminate information regarding health insurance coverage provided to the commission by the department and may refer inquiries regarding health insurance coverage to the toll-free telephone hotline.  The department may provide information to the Health and Human Services Commission as necessary to implement this subsection.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 721, Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 524.055.  Education For High School Students.

(a) The division may develop educational materials and a curriculum to be used in high school classes that educate students about:

(1)  the importance and value of health coverage;

(2)  comparing health benefit plans; and

(3)  understanding basic provisions contained in health benefit plans.

(b)  The division may consult with the Texas Education Agency in developing educational materials and a curriculum under this section.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 721, Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 524.056.  Health Coverage Fairs.

(a) The division may conduct health coverage fairs to provide small employers, individuals, and others seeking to purchase health coverage the opportunity to obtain information about health coverage from division employees and from health benefit plan issuers and agents that elect to participate.

(b)  The division shall seek to obtain funding for health coverage fairs conducted under this section through gifts and grants obtained in accordance with Subchapter C.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 721, Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 524.057.  Community Events.

The division may participate in events held in this state to promote awareness of the importance and value of health coverage and to educate small employers, individuals, and others seeking to purchase health coverage about health coverage in accordance with Section 524.003(a).

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 721, Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 524.058.  Health Coverage Provided Through Colleges And Universities.

The division may cooperate with a public or private college or university to promote enrollment in health coverage programs sponsored by or through the college or university.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 721, Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 524.059.  Support For Community-based Projects.

The division may provide support and assistance to individuals and organizations seeking to develop community-based health coverage plans for uninsured individuals.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 721, Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 524.060. Other Education.

The division may provide other appropriate education to the public regarding health coverage and the importance and value of health coverage in accordance with Section 524.003(a).

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 721, Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 524.061.  Task Force.

(a) The commissioner may appoint a task force to make recommendations regarding the division's duties under this subchapter.  If appointed, the task force must be composed of:

(1)  one representative from each of the following groups or entities:

(A)  health coverage consumers;

(B)  small employers;

(C)  employers generally;

(D)  insurance agents;

(E)  the office of public insurance counsel;

(F)  the Texas Health Insurance Risk Pool;

(G)  physicians;

(H)  advanced practice nurses;

(I)  hospital trade associations; and

(J)  medical units of institutions of higher education;

(2)  a representative of the Health and Human Services Commission responsible for programs under Medicaid and the children's health insurance program;

(3)  one or more representatives of health benefit plan issuers; and

(4)  one or more representatives of a regional or local health care program for employees of small employers under Chapter 75, Health and Safety Code.

(b)  In addition to the individuals listed in Subsection (a), the commissioner may select to serve on any task force one or more individuals with experience in public relations, marketing, or another related field of professional services.

(c)  The division may consult the task force regarding the content for the public service announcements, Internet website, printed materials, and other educational materials required or authorized by this subchapter.  The commissioner has authority to make final decisions as to what the program's materials will contain.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 721, Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 524.062.  Federal Tax "tool Kit" For Certain Businesses.

The department may:

(1)  produce materials that:

(A)  provide step-by-step instructions for a small employer or single-employee business that is obtaining health coverage for the benefit of the employer or business and the employees of the business; and

(B)  are designed to allow the employer or business to obtain the coverage in a manner that qualifies for favorable treatment under federal tax laws; and

(2)  make department staff available to assist small employers and single-employee businesses that are obtaining health coverage as described by Subdivision (1).

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 721, Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 524.063.  Assistance For Small Employers And Single-employee Businesses.

The department may train staff concerning available health coverage options for small employers and single-employee businesses to:

(1)  respond to telephone inquiries from small employers and single-employee businesses; and

(2)  speak at events to provide information about health coverage options for small employers and single-employee businesses and about the importance and value of health coverage.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 721, Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 524.064.  Accountant.

The department may employ an accountant with experience in federal tax law and the purchase of group health coverage as necessary to implement this chapter.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 721, Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2009.



Subchapter C. Funding

Section 524.101.  Funding.

The department may accept gifts and grants from any party, including a health benefit plan issuer or a foundation associated with a health benefit plan issuer, to assist with funding the program.  The department shall adopt rules governing acceptance of donations that are consistent with Chapter 575, Government Code.  Before adopting rules under this section, the department shall:

(1)  submit the proposed rules to the Texas Ethics Commission for review; and

(2)  consider the commission's recommendations regarding the regulations.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 721, Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2009.


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