2006 Georgia Code - 33-30A-233-30A-2. (a) On and after July 1, 1997, the Commissioner is authorized to issue certificates of authority to nonprofit corporations to operate as health plan purchasing cooperatives to provide services to members located within particular geographic areas of the state in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. (b) A health plan purchasing cooperative authorized by the Commissioner pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section may also offer other related employee benefits and services to its members, including continuation coverage administration and purchasing services for limited accident and sickness insurance coverages such as dental, vision, and long-term care; provided, however, that a purchasing cooperative offering such related benefits or services must provide separate and explicitly identified rate or fee schedules for such benefits and services to distinguish them from health benefit plan premiums and membership fees. (c)(1) Any health benefit plan, limited accident and sickness policy, or other insurance offered through a cooperative must be provided by a carrier. (2) A cooperative may not directly provide insurance or bear any risk associated with any health benefit plan or other insurance offered through the cooperative. (d) No entity shall hold itself out as a health plan purchasing cooperative without a certificate of authority granted by the Commissioner. Any entity not authorized as a health plan purchasing cooperative by the Commissioner shall not use as part of its advertising or marketing any self-descriptive term which is confusingly similar to a health plan purchasing cooperative. Any entity not authorized as a health plan purchasing cooperative by the Commissioner and providing services substantially similar to those of a purchasing cooperative shall clearly indicate in its advertising and marketing materials that such entity is not a health plan purchasing cooperative. Failure to comply with this subsection shall be an unfair and deceptive act or practice in the business of insurance within the meaning of paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of Code Section 33-6-4. (e) Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to permit a health plan purchasing cooperative to act as an insurer as defined in Code Section 33-1-2 or as an agent as defined in Code Section 33-23-1.
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