(a) The board shall select a plan administrator through a competitive bidding process to administer the plan. The board shall evaluate bids submitted based on criteria established by the board which shall include:
(1) The plan administrator's proven ability to handle health insurance coverage to individuals;
(2) The efficiency and timeliness of the plan administrator's claim processing procedures;
(3) An estimate of total charges for administering the plan;
(4) The plan administrator's ability to apply effective cost containment programs and procedures and to administer the plan in a cost efficient manner; and
(5) The financial condition and stability of the plan administrator.
(b) (1) The plan administrator shall serve for a period specified in the contract between the plan and the plan administrator subject to removal for cause and subject to any terms, conditions and limitations of the contract between the plan and the plan administrator.
(2) At least one year prior to the expiration of each period of service by a plan administrator, the board shall invite eligible entities, including the current plan administrator to submit bids to serve as the plan administrator. Selection of the plan administrator for the succeeding period shall be made at least six months prior to the end of the current period.
(c) The plan administrator shall perform such functions relating to the plan as may be assigned to it, including:
(1) Determination of eligibility;
(2) Payment of claims;
(3) Establishment of a premium billing procedure for collection of premium from persons covered under the plan; and
(4) Other necessary functions to assure timely payment of benefits to covered persons under the plan.
(d) The plan administrator shall submit regular reports to the board regarding the operation of the plan. The frequency, content and form of the report shall be specified in the contract between the board and the plan administrator.
(e) Following the close of each calendar year, the plan administrator shall determine net written and earned premiums, the expense of administration and the paid and incurred losses for the year and report this information to the board and the commission on a form prescribed by the commissioner.
(f) Notwithstanding any other provision in this section to the contrary, the board may elect to designate the Public Employees Insurance Agency as the plan administrator. If so designated, the Public Employees Insurance Agency shall provide the services set forth in subsection (c) of this section and shall be subject to the reporting requirements of subsections (d) and (e) of this section. The plan shall, if the Public Employees Insurance Agency is designated by the board as the plan administrator, reimburse health care providers at the same health care reimbursement rates then in effect for the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency and health care providers are subject to the same prohibition against balance billing of plan participants as set forth in section four, article twenty-nine-d, chapter sixteen of this code.