58-3-122. Anesthesia and hospital charges necessary for safe and effective administration of dental procedures for young children, persons with serious mental or physical conditions, and persons with significant behavioral problems; coverage in health benefit plans.

(a) All health benefit plans shall provide coverage for payment of anesthesia and hospital or facility charges for services performed in a hospital or ambulatory surgical facility in connection with dental procedures for children below the age of nine years, persons with serious mental or physical conditions, and persons with significant behavioral problems, where the provider treating the patient involved certifies that, because of the patient's age or condition or problem, hospitalization or general anesthesia is required in order to safely and effectively perform the procedures. The same deductibles, coinsurance, network requirements, medical necessity provisions, and other limitations as apply to physical illness benefits under the health benefit plan shall apply to coverage for anesthesia and hospital or facility charges required to be covered under this section.

(b) As used in this section, the term:

(1) "Health benefit plan" means an accident and health insurance policy or certificate; a nonprofit hospital or medical service corporation contract; a health maintenance organization subscriber contract; a plan provided by a multiple employer welfare arrangement; or a plan provided by another benefit arrangement, to the extent permitted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, or by any waiver of or other exception to that Act provided under federal law or regulation. "Health benefit plan" does not mean any plan implemented or administered by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services or the United States Department of Health and Human Services, or any successor agency, or its representatives. "Health benefit plan" also does not mean any of the following kinds of insurance:

a. Accident.

b. Credit.

c. Disability income.

d. Long-term care or nursing home care.

e. Medicare supplement.

f. Specified disease.

g. Dental or vision.

h. Coverage issued as a supplement to liability insurance.

i. Workers' compensation.

j. Medical payments under automobile or homeowners.

k. Hospital income or indemnity.

l. Insurance under which benefits are payable with or without regard to fault and that is statutorily required to be contained in any liability policy or equivalent self-insurance.

(2) "Insurer" includes an insurance company subject to this Chapter, a service corporation organized under Article 65 of this Chapter, a health maintenance organization organized under Article 67 of this Chapter, or a multiple employer welfare arrangement subject to Article 49 of this Chapter. (1999-134, s. 1.)