(a) The commissioner is authorized to request proposals or to negotiate and to enter into contracts with parties which in the judgment of the commissioner are best qualified to provide service to the benefit plans. Contracts entered into are not subject to the requirements of sections 16C.16 to 16C.19. The commissioner may negotiate premium rates and coverage. The commissioner shall consider the cost of the plans, conversion options relating to the contracts, service capabilities, character, financial position, and reputation of the carriers, and any other factors which the commissioner deems appropriate. Each benefit contract must be for a uniform term of at least one year, but may be made automatically renewable from term to term in the absence of notice of termination by either party. A carrier licensed under chapter 62A is exempt from the taxes imposed by chapter 297I on premiums paid to it by the state.
(b) All self-insured hospital and medical service products must comply with coverage mandates, data reporting, and consumer protection requirements applicable to the licensed carrier administering the product, had the product been insured, including chapters 62J, 62M, and 62Q. Any self-insured products that limit coverage to a network of providers or provide different levels of coverage between network and nonnetwork providers shall comply with section 62D.123 and geographic access standards for health maintenance organizations adopted by the commissioner of health in rule under chapter 62D.
(c) Notwithstanding paragraph (b), a self-insured hospital and medical product offered under sections 43A.22 to 43A.30 is not required to extend dependent coverage to an eligible employee's unmarried child under the age of 25 to the full extent required under chapters 62A and 62L. Dependent coverage must, at a minimum, extend to an eligible employee's unmarried child who is under the age of 19 or an unmarried child under the age of 25 who is a full-time student. The definition of "full-time student" for purposes of this paragraph includes any student who by reason of illness, injury, or physical or mental disability as documented by a physician is unable to carry what the educational institution considers a full-time course load so long as the student's course load is at least 60 percent of what otherwise is considered by the institution to be a full-time course load. Any notice regarding termination of coverage due to attainment of the limiting age must include information about this definition of "full-time student."