STANDARDS FOR ACCIDENT AND HEALTH INSURANCE
415-A:4-a Minimum Standards for Claim Review; Accident and Health Insurance.
Any carrier that offers group health plans and employee benefit plans shall establish and maintain written procedures by which a claimant may obtain a determination of claims and by which a claimant may appeal a claim denial.
I. The procedures for determination of a claim shall meet the following minimum standards:
(a) The plan shall maintain a toll-free telephone number to ensure that a representative of the plan shall be accessible by telephone to insureds, patients, and claimant's representatives as required to meet the response times specified herein.
(b) Clinical review criteria considered or utilized in making claim benefit determinations shall be:
(1) Developed with input from appropriate practitioners with professional knowledge or clinical expertise in the area being reviewed;
(2) Updated at least biennially and as new treatments, applications, and technologies emerge;
(3) Developed in accordance with the standards of national accreditation entities;
(4) Based on current, nationally accepted standards of medical practice; and
(5) If practicable, evidence-based.
(c) The notification of a claim denial shall be communicated in writing or by electronic means and shall include:
(1) The specific reason or reasons for the determination and shall refer to the specific provision of the policy or plan on which the determination is based;
(2) A statement of the claimant's or the representative of the claimant's right to access the internal grievance process and the process for obtaining external review;
(3) If the claim denial is based upon a determination that the claim is experimental or investigational or not medically necessary or appropriate:
(A) The name and credentials of the carrier or other licensed entity, the medical director, including board status and the state or states where the person is currently licensed. If the person making the claim denial is not the medical director but a designee, then the credentials, board status, and state or states of current license shall also be provided for that person; and
(B) An explanation of the clinical rationale for the determination. This explanation shall recite the terms of the plan or the policy or of any clinical review criteria or any internal rule, guideline, protocol, or other similar provision that was relied upon in making the claim denial and how these provisions apply to the claimant's specific medical circumstances;
(4) If an internal rule, guideline, protocol, or other similar provision was relied upon in making the benefit determination, a statement that such rule, guideline, protocol, or other similar provision was relied upon in making the claim denial;
(5) If clinical review criteria were relied upon in making the benefit determination, a statement that such clinical review criteria were relied upon in making the claim denial. The recitation of the terms of the clinical review criteria required under RSA 415-A:4-a(c)(3)(B) shall be accompanied by the following notice: "The clinical review criteria provided to you are used by this plan to authorize, modify, or deny care for persons with similar illnesses or conditions. Specific care and treatment may vary depending on individual need and the benefits covered under your contract;"
(6) A description of the plan's grievance procedures and the time limits applicable to such procedures. In the case of a denial of a benefit concerning a claim involving urgent care or in the case of a denial of a claim related to continuation of an ongoing course of treatment for a person who has received emergency services, but who has not been discharged from a facility, a description of the expedited review applicable to such a claim shall be included in the determination. For all other claim benefit determinations, a description of the grievance process shall be specifically described in the determination.
II. Notification of a claim denial shall be made within the following time periods:
(a) The determination of a claim involving urgent care shall be made as soon as possible, taking into account the medical exigencies, but in no event later than 72 hours after receipt of the claim, unless the claimant or claimant's representative fails to provide sufficient information to determine whether, or to what extent, benefits are covered or payable. In the case of such failure, the licensee shall notify the claimant or claimant's representative within 24 hours of receipt of the claim and shall advise the claimant or claimant's representative of the specific information necessary to determine the claim. The claimant or the claimant's representative shall be afforded a reasonable amount of time, taking into account the circumstances, but not less than 48 hours, to provide the specified information. Thereafter, notification of the benefit determination shall be made as soon as possible, but in no case later than 48 hours after the earlier of (1) the licensee's receipt of the specified additional information, or (2) the end of the period afforded the claimant or claimant's representative to provide the specified additional information.
(b) The determination of a claim involving urgent care and relating to the extension of an ongoing course of treatment and involving a question of medical necessity shall be made within 24 hours of receipt of the claim, provided that the claim is made at least 24 hours prior to the expiration of the prescribed period of time or course of treatment.
(c) The determination of all other claims for preservice benefits shall be made within a reasonable time period appropriate to the medical circumstances, but in no event more than 15 days after receipt of the claim. This period may be extended one time by the licensee for up to 15 days; provided, that the licensee both determines that such an extension is necessary due to matters beyond the control of the licensee and notifies the claimant or claimant's representative, prior to the expiration of the initial 15-day period, of the circumstances requiring the extension of time and the date by which the licensee expects to render a decision. If such an extension is necessary due to a failure of the claimant or claimant's representative to provide sufficient information to determine whether, or to what extent, benefits are covered as payable, the notice of extension shall specifically describe the required additional information needed, and the claimant or claimant's representative shall be given at least 45 days from receipt of the notice within which to provide the specified information. Notification of the benefit determination following a request for additional information shall be made as soon as possible, but in no case later than 15 days after the earlier of (1) the licensee's receipt of the specified additional information, or (2) the end of the period afforded the claimant or claimant's representative to provide the specified additional information.
(d) The determination of a post-service claim shall be made within 30 days of the date of filing. In the event the claimant fails to provide sufficient information to determine the claim, the carrier shall notify the claimant within 15 days as to what additional information is required to process the claim and the claimant shall be given at least 45 days to provide the required information. The 30-day period for claim determination shall be tolled until such time as the claimant submits the required information.
III. Any carrier or other licensed entity that offers group health plans and employee benefit plans shall file with the department a copy of its claim determination procedure, including all forms used, and a copy of the materials designed to inform its members or insureds of the requirements of the claim determination and grievance procedure and the responsibilities and rights of the members or insureds under the plan each year. The carrier shall also file an acknowledgment that all applicable state and federal laws to protect the confidentiality of individual medical records are followed.
IV. In any request for a benefit determination, the claimant may authorize a representative to pursue the claim or benefit determination by submitting a written statement to the licensed entity that acknowledges the representation.
V. No fees or costs shall be assessed against a claimant related to a request for claim benefit determination.
Source. 2001, 207:3. 2003, 175:3, 4; 276:4-7. 2005, 248:7. 2006, 304:2, eff. Aug. 18, 2006.