Date:September 3, 2003
To:All Insurers Writing Small Employer Group Health Insurance in Wisconsin
From:Jorge Gomez, Commissioner of Insurance
Subject:Small Employer Uniform Employee Application

IMPORTANT NOTICE THAT BEGINNING AUGUST 1, 2003, ALL SMALL EMPLOYER INSURERS AND THEIR AGENTS ARE REQUIRED TO USE THE UNIFORM EMPLOYEE APPLICATION.

This Bulletin is to notify small employer insurers that s. Ins 8.49, Wis. Adm. Code, became effective August 1, 2003, and requires that small employer insurers use the small employer uniform employee application referenced by the rule. The OCI expects small employer insurers to notify their agents that this rule is in effect.

Section 635.10, Wis. Stat., required that beginning no later than August 1, 2003, every small employer insurer use the uniform employee application form developed by the OCI when a small employer applies for coverage under a group health benefit plan offered by the small employer insurer.

Section 635.02 (7), Wis. Stat., defines a small employer as:

With respect to a calendar year and a plan year, an employer that employed an average of at least 2 but not more than 50 employees on business days during the preceding calendar year, or that is reasonably expected to employ an average of at least 2 but not more than 50 employees on business days during the current calendar year if the employer was not in existence during the preceding calendar year, and that employs at least 2 employees on the first day of the plan year.

The OCI promulgated s. Ins 8.49, Wis. Adm. Code, pursuant to s. 635.10, Wis. Stat., regarding the uniform employee application, which became effective August 1, 2003. In addition to providing the format for the application form [OCI 26-501 (C 08/2003)], the rule sets forth the requirements for utilization, timing and maintenance of the uniform application forms. The OCI will not initiate enforcement actions for the duration of the emergency rule provided small employer insurers and their agents take affirmative steps to comply with the statute, transition from their individual application forms to the uniform application, and utilize the uniform application as soon as practicable as required under s. Ins 8.49, Wis. Adm. Code.

Small employer insurers are not required to make a form filing with OCI that includes the uniform application. Please note that small employer insurers may not include the name of the company, the company logo, nor other company identifiers on the uniform application.

A copy of the rule may be obtained from the OCI internet Web site at http://oci.wi.gov/rules/0849em03.pdf (opens in new window) or by contacting Inger Williams at (608) 264-8110. Within the text of the rule is a link to the uniform application form.

Questions may be directed to Michael Honeck (mike.honeck@wisconsin.gov) or Diane Dambach (diane.dambach@wisconsin.gov).

Thank you.