2006 Georgia Code - 33-24-29.1

33-24-29.1. (a) As used in this Code section, the term: (1) 'Accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract' means: (A) A group or blanket accident and sickness insurance policy or contract, as defined in Chapter 30 of this title; (B) A group contract of the type issued by a nonprofit hospital service corporation established under Chapter 19 of this title; (C) A group contract of the type issued by a health care plan established under Chapter 20 of this title; (D) A group contract of the type issued by a nonprofit medical service corporation established under Chapter 18 of this title; (E) A group contract of the type issued by a health maintenance organization established under Chapter 21 of this title; or (F) Any similar group accident and sickness benefit plan, policy, or contract. (2) 'Mental disorder' shall have the same meaning as defined by The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(American Psychiatric Association) or The International Classification of Diseases (World Health Organization) as of January 1, 1981, or as the Commissioner may further define such term by rule and regulation. (b) This Code section shall apply only to accident and sickness insurance benefit plans, policies, or contracts, certificates evidencing coverage under a policy of insurance, or any other evidence of insurance issued by an insurer, delivered, or issued for delivery in this state, except for policies issued to an employer in another state which provide coverage for employees in this state who are employed by such employer policyholder, providing major medical benefits covering all groups except small groups as defined in subsection (a) of Code Section 33-30-12. (c) Every insurer authorized to issue accident and sickness insurance benefit plans, policies, or contracts shall be required to make available, either as a part of or as an optional endorsement to all such policies providing major medical insurance coverage which are issued, delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed on or after July 1, 1998, coverage for the treatment of mental disorders, which coverage shall be at least as extensive and provide at least the same degree of coverage and the same annual and lifetime dollar limits as that provided by the respective plan, policy, or contract for the treatment of other types of physical illnesses. Such an optional endorsement shall also provide that the coverage required to be made available pursuant to this Code section shall also cover the spouse and the dependents of the insured if the insured́s spouse and dependents are covered under such benefit plan, policy, or contract. (d)(1) The optional endorsement required to be made available under subsection (c) of this Code section shall not contain any exclusions, reductions, or other limitations as to coverages, including without limitation limits on the number of inpatient treatment days and outpatient treatment visits, which apply to the treatment of mental disorders unless such provisions apply generally to other similar benefits provided or paid for under the accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract, except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection. (2) The optional endorsement required to be made available under subsection (c) of this Code section may contain deductibles or coinsurance provisions which apply to the treatment of mental disorders, and such deductibles or coinsurance provisions need not apply generally to other similar benefits provided or paid for under the accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract; provided, however, that if a separate deductible applies to the treatment of mental disorders, it shall not exceed the deductible for medical or surgical coverages. A separate out-of-pocket limit may be applied to the treatment of mental disorders, which limit, in the case of an indemnity type plan, shall not exceed the maximum out-of-pocket limit for medical or surgical coverages and which, in the case of a health maintenance organization plan, shall not exceed the maximum out-of-pocket limit for medical or surgical coverages or the amount of $2,000.00 in 1998 and as annually adjusted thereafter according to the Consumer Price Index for health care, whichever is greater. (e)(1) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to prohibit an insurer, nonprofit corporation, health care plan, health maintenance organization, or other person issuing any similar accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract from issuing or continuing to issue an accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract which provides benefits greater than the minimum benefits required to be made available under this Code section or from issuing any such plans, policies, or contracts which provide benefits which are generally more favorable to the insured than those required to be made available under this Code section. (2) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to prohibit any person issuing an accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract from providing the coverage required to be made available under subsection (c) of this Code section through an indemnity plan with or without designating preferred providers of services or from arranging for or providing services instead of indemnifying against the cost of such services, without regard to whether such method of providing coverage for treatment of mental disorders applies generally to other similar benefits provided or paid for under the accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract. (f) The requirements of this Code section with respect to a group or blanket accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract shall be satisfied if the coverage specified in subsections (c) and (d) of this Code section is made available to the master policyholder of such plan, policy, or contract. Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to require the group insurer, nonprofit corporation, health care plan, health maintenance organization, or master policyholder to provide or make available such coverage to any insured under such group or blanket plan, policy, or contract.
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