HBA-BSM S.B. 771 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 771 By: Harris Insurance 5/8/2001 Engrossed BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Currently, employers may find it difficult to make an informed decision when comparing plans for health benefits. The Texas Department of Insurance (department) has developed a guide for auto insurance that provides information on each plan to allow consumers to make a more informed decision on the plan that best meets a consumer's needs. Senate Bill 771 requires the department to prepare a consumers' guide on health plans so that employers may compare different plans, premium rates, and the coverage and benefits available under each plan. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the commissioner of insurance in SECTION 1 (Article 26.10, Insurance Code) of this bill. ANALYSIS Senate Bill 771 amends the Insurance Code to require the Texas Department of Insurance in consultation with the office of public insurance counsel to annually prepare a consumers' guide designed to assist employers in comparing premium rates for, and coverage and benefits provided or offered under, the different types of employer health benefit plans available in Texas. The guide must describe the different types of plans available and allow a person to compare the coverage and benefits provided or offered under each type of plan in relation to the premium rates typically charged for each type of plan. The bill authorizes the commissioner of insurance (commissioner) to include any other information in the guide the commissioner determines will assist employers in assessing employer health benefit plans. The bill requires the commissioner to adopt rules as necessary to implement the consumers' guide to employer health benefit plans. EFFECTIVE DATE On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act takes effect September 1, 2001.