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TITLE 28INSURANCE
PART 1TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE
CHAPTER 3LIFE, ACCIDENT, AND HEALTH INSURANCE AND ANNUITIES
SUBCHAPTER XPREFERRED AND EXCLUSIVE PROVIDER PLANS
DIVISION 1GENERAL REQUIREMENTS
RULE §3.3705Nature of Communications with Insureds; Readability, Mandatory Disclosure Requirements, and Plan Designations

(a) Readability. All health insurance policies, health benefit plan certificates, endorsements, amendments, applications or riders are required to be written in a readable and understandable format that meets the requirements of §3.602 of this chapter (relating to Plain Language Requirements).

(b) Disclosure of terms and conditions of the policy. The insurer is required, on request, to provide to a current or prospective group contract holder or a current or prospective insured an accurate written description of the terms and conditions of the policy that allows the current or prospective group contract holder or current or prospective insured to make comparisons and informed decisions before selecting among health care plans. An insurer may utilize its handbook to satisfy this requirement provided that the insurer complies with all requirements set forth in this subsection including the level of disclosure required. The written description must be in a readable and understandable format, by category, and must include a clear, complete, and accurate description of these items in the following order:

  (1) a statement that the entity providing the coverage is an insurance company; the name of the insurance company; that, in the case of a preferred provider benefit plan, the insurance contract contains preferred provider benefits; and, in the case of an exclusive provider benefit plan, that the contract only provides benefits for services received from preferred providers, except as otherwise noted in the contract and written description or as otherwise required by law;

  (2) a toll free number, unless exempted by statute or rule, and address to enable a current or prospective group contract holder or a current or prospective insured to obtain additional information;

  (3) an explanation of the distinction between preferred and nonpreferred providers;

  (4) all covered services and benefits, including payment for services of a preferred provider and a nonpreferred provider, and prescription drug coverage, both generic and name brand;

  (5) emergency care services and benefits and information on access to after-hours care;

  (6) out-of-area services and benefits;

  (7) an explanation of the insured's financial responsibility for payment for any premiums, deductibles, copayments, coinsurance or other out-of-pocket expenses for noncovered or nonpreferred services;

  (8) any limitations and exclusions, including the existence of any drug formulary limitations, and any limitations regarding preexisting conditions;

  (9) any authorization requirements, including preauthorization review, concurrent review, post-service review, and post-payment review; and any penalties or reductions in benefits resulting from the failure to obtain any required authorizations;

  (10) provisions for continuity of treatment in the event of termination of a preferred provider's participation in the plan;

  (11) a summary of complaint resolution procedures, if any, and a statement that the insurer is prohibited from retaliating against the insured because the insured or another person has filed a complaint on behalf of the insured, or against a physician or provider who, on behalf of the insured, has reasonably filed a complaint against the insurer or appealed a decision of the insurer;

  (12) a current list of preferred providers and complete descriptions of the provider networks, including names and locations of physicians and health care providers, and a disclosure of which preferred providers will not accept new patients. Both of these items may be provided electronically, if notice is also provided in the disclosure required by this subsection regarding how a nonelectronic copy may be obtained free of charge;

  (13) the service area(s); and

  (14) information that is updated at least annually regarding the following network demographics for each service area, if the preferred provider benefit plan is not offered on a statewide service area basis, or for each of the 11 regions specified in §3.3711 of this title (relating to Geographic Regions), if the plan is offered on a statewide service area basis:

    (A) the number of insureds in the service area or region;

    (B) for each provider area of practice, including at a minimum internal medicine, family/general practice, pediatric practitioner practice, obstetrics and gynecology, anesthesiology, psychiatry, and general surgery, the number of preferred providers, as well as an indication of whether an active access plan pursuant to §3.3709 of this title (relating to Annual Network Adequacy Report; Access Plan) applies to the services furnished by that class of provider in the service area or region and how such access plan may be obtained or viewed, if applicable; and

    (C) for hospitals, the number of preferred provider hospitals in the service area or region, as well as an indication of whether an active access plan pursuant to §3.3709 of this title applies to hospital services in that service area or region and how the access plan may be obtained or viewed.

  (15) information that is updated at least annually regarding whether any waivers or local market access plans approved pursuant to §3.3707 of this title (relating to Waiver Due to Failure to Contract in Local Markets) apply to the plan and that complies with the following:

    (A) if a waiver or a local market access plan applies to facility services or to internal medicine, family or general practice, pediatric practitioner practice, obstetrics and gynecology, anesthesiology, psychiatry, or general surgery services, this must be specifically noted;

    (B) the information may be categorized by service area or county if the preferred provider benefit plan is not offered on a statewide service area basis, and, if by county, the aggregate of counties is not more than those within a region; or for each of the 11 regions specified in §3.3711 of this title (relating to Geographic Regions), if the plan is offered on a statewide service area basis; and

    (C) the information must identify how to obtain or view the local market access plan.

(c) Filing required. A copy of the written description required in subsection (b) of this section must be filed with the department with the initial filing of the preferred provider benefit plan and within 60 days of any material changes being made in the information required in subsection (b) of this section. Submission of listings of preferred providers as required in subsection (b)(12) of this section may be made electronically in a format acceptable to the department or by submitting with the filing the Internet website address at which the department may view the current provider listing. Acceptable formats include Microsoft Word and Excel documents. Electronic submission of the provider listing, if applicable, must be submitted to the following email address: LifeHealth@tdi.texas.gov. Nonelectronic filings must be submitted to the department at: Life/Health and HMO Intake Team, Mail Code 106-1E, Texas Department of Insurance, P.O. Box 149104, Austin, Texas 78714-9104.

(d) Promotional disclosures required. The preferred provider benefit plan and all promotional, solicitation, and advertising material concerning the preferred provider benefit plan must clearly describe the distinction between preferred and nonpreferred providers. Any illustration of preferred provider benefits must be in close proximity to an equally prominent description of basic benefits, except in the case of an exclusive provider benefit plan.

(e) Internet website disclosures. Insurers that maintain an Internet website providing information regarding the insurer or the health insurance policies offered by the insurer for use by current or prospective insureds or group contract holders must provide:

  (1) an Internet-based provider listing for use by current and prospective insureds and group contract holders;

  (2) an Internet-based listing of the state regions, counties, or three-digit ZIP Code areas within the insurer's service area(s), indicating as appropriate for each region, county or ZIP Code area, as applicable, that the insurer has:

    (A) determined that its network meets the network adequacy requirements of this subchapter; or

    (B) determined that its network does not meet the network adequacy requirements of this subchapter; and

  (3) an Internet-based listing of the information specified for disclosure in subsection (b) of this section.

(f) Notice of rights under a network plan required. An insurer must include the notice specified in Figure: 28 TAC §3.3705(f)(1) for a preferred provider benefit plan that is not an exclusive provider benefit plan, or Figure: 28 TAC §3.3705(f)(2) for an exclusive provider benefit plan, in all policies, certificates, disclosures of policy terms and conditions provided to comply with subsection (b) of this section, and outlines of coverage in at least 12-point font:

  (1) Preferred provider benefit plan notice.

Attached Graphic

  (2) Exclusive provider benefit plan notice.

Attached Graphic

(g) Untrue or misleading information prohibited. No insurer, or agent or representative of an insurer, may cause or permit the use or distribution of information which is untrue or misleading.

(h) Disclosure concerning access to preferred provider listing. The insurer must provide notice to all insureds at least annually describing how the insured may access a current listing of all preferred providers on a cost-free basis. The notice must include, at a minimum, information concerning how to obtain a nonelectronic copy of the listing and a telephone number through which insureds may obtain assistance during regular business hours to find available preferred providers.

(i) Required updates of available provider listings. The insurer must ensure that it updates all electronic or nonelectronic listings of preferred providers made available to insureds at least every three months.

(j) Annual provision of provider listing required in certain cases. If no Internet-based preferred provider listing or other method of identifying current preferred providers is maintained for use by insureds, the insurer must distribute a current preferred provider listing to all insureds no less than annually by mail, or by an alternative method of delivery if an alternative method is agreed to by the insured, group policyholder on behalf of the group, or certificate holder.

(k) Reliance on provider listing in certain cases. A claim for services rendered by a nonpreferred provider must be paid in the same manner as if no preferred provider had been available under §3.3708(b) - (d) of this title (relating to Payment of Certain Basic Benefit Claims and Related Disclosures) and §3.3725(d) - (f) of this title (relating to Payment of Certain Out-of-Network Claims), as applicable, if an insured demonstrates that:

  (1) in obtaining services, the insured reasonably relied upon a statement that a physician or provider was a preferred provider as specified in:

    (A) a provider listing; or

    (B) provider information on the insurer's website;

  (2) the provider listing or website information was obtained from the insurer, the insurer's website, or the website of a third party designated by the insurer to provide such information for use by its insureds;

  (3) the provider listing or website information was obtained not more than 30 days prior to the date of services; and

  (4) the provider listing or website information obtained indicates that the provider is a preferred provider within the insurer's network.

(l) Additional listing-specific disclosure requirements. In all preferred provider listings, including any Internet-based postings of information made available by the insurer to provide information to insureds about preferred providers, the insurer must comply with the requirements in paragraphs (1) - (9) of this subsection.

  (1) The provider information must include a method for insureds to identify those hospitals that have contractually agreed with the insurer to facilitate the usage of preferred providers as specified in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this paragraph.

    (A) The hospital will exercise good faith efforts to accommodate requests from insureds to utilize preferred providers.

    (B) In those instances in which a particular facility-based physician or physician group is assigned at least 48 hours prior to services being rendered, the hospital will provide the insured with information that is:

      (i) furnished at least 24 hours prior to services being rendered; and

      (ii) sufficient to enable the insured to identify the physician or physician group with enough specificity to permit the insured to determine, along with preferred provider listings made available by the insurer, whether the assigned facility-based physician or physician group is a preferred provider.

  (2) The provider information must include a method for insureds to identify, for each preferred provider hospital, the percentage of the total dollar amount of claims filed with the insurer by or on behalf of facility-based physicians that are not under contract with the insurer. The information must be available by class of facility-based physician, including radiologists, anesthesiologists, pathologists, emergency department physicians, and neonatologists.

Cont'd...

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