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TITLE 28INSURANCE
PART 1TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE
CHAPTER 3LIFE, ACCIDENT, AND HEALTH INSURANCE AND ANNUITIES
SUBCHAPTER TMINIMUM STANDARDS FOR MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT POLICIES
RULE §3.3325Medicare Select Policies, Certificates and Plans of Operation

(a) This section applies to Medicare Select policies, certificates, and plans of operation, as defined in this section.

(b) No policy or certificate may be advertised as a Medicare Select policy or certificate unless it meets the requirements of this section.

(c) The following words and terms, when used in this section, have the following meanings, unless the context indicates otherwise. These words and terms must be defined and included in all Medicare Select policies, certificates, and plans of operation.

  (1) Complaint--Any dissatisfaction expressed by an individual concerning a Medicare Select issuer or its network providers.

  (2) Emergency care--Bona fide emergency services provided after the sudden onset of a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity, including severe pain, such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in:

    (A) placing the patient's health in serious jeopardy;

    (B) serious impairment to bodily functions; or

    (C) serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.

  (3) Grievance--Dissatisfaction expressed in writing by an individual insured under a Medicare Select policy or certificate with the administration, claims practices, or provision of services concerning a Medicare Select issuer or its network providers.

  (4) Medicare Select issuer--An issuer offering, or seeking to offer, a Medicare Select policy or certificate.

  (5) Medicare Select policy or Medicare Select certificate--A Medicare supplement policy or certificate, respectively that contains restricted network provisions.

  (6) Network provider--A provider of health care, or a group of providers of health care, which has entered into a written agreement with the issuer to provide benefits covered under a Medicare Select policy.

  (7) Nonnetwork provider--A provider of health care, or a group of providers of health care, that has not entered into a written agreement with the issuer to provide benefits covered under a Medicare Select policy.

  (8) Restricted network provisions--Any provision that conditions the payment of benefits, in whole or in part, on the use of network providers.

  (9) Service area--The geographic area approved by the Commissioner as part of the plan of operation or amended plan of operation, within which an issuer is authorized to offer a Medicare Select policy.

(d) The Commissioner may authorize an issuer to offer a Medicare Select policy or certificate, under this section and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1990, §4358, if the Commissioner finds that the issuer has satisfied all of the requirements of this subchapter.

(e) A Medicare Select issuer may not issue a Medicare Select policy or certificate in this state until the Commissioner approves its plan of operation. A Medicare Select issuer may not file a Medicare Select policy under Insurance Code Chapter 1701, Subchapter B, until the Commissioner has approved its plan of operation.

(f) A Medicare Select issuer must file a proposed plan of operation with the department, the form and content of which is subject to approval by the Commissioner. The plan of operation must contain, at a minimum, the information in paragraphs (1) - (7) of this subsection, and at the time of submission must have a form number printed or typed on the lower left hand corner of the face page.

  (1) The plan must contain evidence that all covered services that are subject to restricted network provisions are available and accessible through network providers, including a demonstration of each of the items referenced in subparagraphs (A) - (E) of this paragraph.

    (A) Services can be provided by network providers with reasonable promptness with respect to geographic location, hours of operation and after-hour care. The hours of operation and availability of after-hour care must reflect usual practice in the local area. Geographic availability must reflect the usual travel times within the community.

    (B) The number of network providers in the service area must be documented by credible statistics to be sufficient, with respect to current and expected policyholders, either:

      (i) to deliver adequately all services that are subject to a restricted network provision; or

      (ii) to make appropriate referrals.

    (C) Written agreements with network providers describing specific responsibilities must be included.

    (D) Emergency care availability 24 hours per day and seven days a week must be demonstrated.

    (E) In the case of covered services subject to a restricted-network provision and that are provided on a prepaid basis, there are written agreements with network providers prohibiting the providers from billing or otherwise seeking reimbursement from or recourse against any individual covered under a Medicare Select policy or certificate. This subparagraph does not apply to supplemental charges or coinsurance amounts as stated in the Medicare Select policy or certificate.

  (2) A clear description of the service area must be provided by narrative statement or a map.

  (3) The grievance procedure used must be described.

  (4) The quality assurance program must be described, including:

    (A) the formal organizational structure;

    (B) the written criteria for selection, retention, and removal of network providers; and

    (C) the procedures for evaluating quality of care provided by network providers, and the process to initiate corrective action when warranted.

  (5) Network providers must be listed and described by specialty.

  (6) Copies of the written information proposed to be used by the issuer to comply with subsection (k) of this section must be provided.

  (7) Any other information requested by the Commissioner must be provided.

(g) A Medicare Select issuer must file any proposed changes to the plan of operation, except for changes to the list of network providers, with the Commissioner 60 days before implementing the changes. Changes will be considered approved by the Commissioner after 30 days unless specifically disapproved or unless the issuer requests an extension of the 30-day period and the Commissioner grants the requested extension.

(h) An updated list of network providers must be filed with the Commissioner at least quarterly. If there is no change to the list of network providers within a particular calendar quarter, correspondence indicating no change from the prior reporting period to the current reporting period must, at a minimum, be filed to meet the reporting requirements of this subchapter.

(i) A Medicare Select policy or certificate may not restrict payment for covered services provided by nonnetwork providers if:

  (1) the services are for symptoms requiring emergency care or are immediately required for an unforeseen illness, injury, or a condition; and

  (2) it is not reasonable to obtain the services through a network provider.

(j) A Medicare Select policy or certificate must provide payment for full coverage under the policy for covered services that are not available through network providers.

(k) A Medicare Select issuer must make full and fair disclosure, in writing, of the provisions, restrictions, and limitations of the Medicare Select policy or certificate to each applicant. This disclosure must include at least the following:

  (1) an outline of coverage sufficient to permit the applicant to compare the coverage and premiums of the Medicare Select policy or certificate with other Medicare supplement policies or certificates offered by the issuer and with other Medicare Select policies or certificates;

  (2) a description (including address, phone number, and hours of operation) of the network providers, including primary care physicians, specialty physicians, hospitals, and other providers;

  (3) a description of the restricted network provisions, including payments for coinsurance and deductibles when providers other than network providers are utilized (except to the extent specified in the policy or certificate, expenses incurred when using out-of-network providers do not count toward the out-of-pocket annual limit contained in plans K and L);

  (4) a description of coverage for emergency and urgently needed care and other out-of-service area coverage;

  (5) a description of limitations on referrals to restricted network providers and to other providers;

  (6) a description of the policyholder's rights to purchase any other Medicare supplement policy or certificate otherwise offered by the issuer; and

  (7) a description of the Medicare Select issuer's quality assurance program and grievance procedure.

  (8) For hospital network providers, the statement in 12-point bold-face type: "Only certain hospitals are network providers under this policy. Check with your physician to determine if he or she has admitting privileges at the network hospital. If he or she does not, you may be required to use another physician at time of hospitalization or you will be required to pay for all expenses." This statement must also be included in the "invitation to contract" advertisement, as that term is defined in §21.113(b) of this title (relating to Rules Pertaining Specifically to Accident and Health Insurance Advertising and Health Maintenance Organization Advertising).

(l) Before the sale of a Medicare Select policy or certificate, a Medicare Select issuer must obtain from the applicant a signed and dated form stating that the applicant has received the information provided under subsection (k) of this section and that the applicant understands the restrictions of the Medicare Select policy or certificate.

(m) A Medicare Select issuer must have and use procedures for hearing complaints and resolving written grievances from the subscribers. Such procedures must be aimed at mutual agreement for settlement and may include arbitration procedures. If a binding arbitration procedure is included, the insured must have made an informed choice to accept binding arbitration after having been advised of the right to reject this method of dispute or claim resolution.

  (1) The grievance procedure must be described in the policy and certificates and in the outline of coverage. The in-hospital grievance procedure must be outlined separately from the grievance procedures for other treatments or services, or both. All grievances should be addressed immediately and resolved as soon as possible. Grievances relating to ongoing hospital treatment should be addressed immediately on receipt of any written or oral grievance, and be resolved as quickly as possible in a manner that does not interfere with, obstruct, or interrupt continued proper medical treatment and care of the patient. The timetable for their resolution must comply with all applicable provisions of the Insurance Code.

  (2) At the time the policy or certificate is issued, the issuer must provide detailed information to the policyholder describing how a grievance may be registered with the issuer, both during the period of care and after care.

  (3) Grievances must be considered in a timely manner and must be transmitted to appropriate decision makers who have authority to fully investigate the issue and take corrective action.

  (4) If a grievance is found to be valid, corrective action must be taken promptly.

  (5) All concerned parties must be notified about the results of a grievance.

  (6) The issuer must report no later than each March 31st to the Commissioner regarding its grievance procedure. The report must be in a format prescribed by the Commissioner, must contain the number of grievances filed in the past year, and must include a summary of the subject, nature, and resolution of the grievances.

(n) At the time of initial purchase, a Medicare Select issuer must make available to each applicant for a Medicare Select policy or certificate the opportunity to purchase any Medicare supplement policy or certificate otherwise offered by the issuer.

(o) At the request of an individual covered under a Medicare Select policy or certificate, a Medicare Select issuer must make available to the individual covered the opportunity to purchase any Medicare supplement policy or certificate offered by the issuer that has comparable or lesser benefits and that does not contain a restricted network provision. The issuer must make the policies or certificates available without requiring evidence of insurability after the Medicare Select policy or certificate has been in force for six months.

(p) For the purposes of this subsection, a Medicare supplement policy or certificate will be considered to have comparable or lesser benefits unless it contains one or more significant benefits not included in the Medicare Select policy or certificate being replaced. For the purposes of this paragraph, a significant benefit means coverage for the Medicare Part A deductible, coverage for at-home recovery services, or coverage for Part B excess charges.

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