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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 14. Insurance
Agency 5. State Corporation Commission, Bureau of Insurance
Chapter 216. Rules Governing Internal Appeal and External Review
7/15/2020

14VAC5-216-40. Minimum Appeal Requirements.

A. Each covered person shall be entitled to a full and fair review of an adverse benefit determination. Within 180 days after the date of receipt of a notice of an adverse benefit determination, a covered person may file an appeal with the health carrier. A health carrier may designate a utilization review entity to coordinate the review. For purposes of this chapter, "health carrier" may also mean its designated utilization review entity.

B. The health carrier shall conduct the appeal in a manner to ensure the independence and impartiality of the individuals involved in reviewing the appeal. In ensuring the independence and impartiality of such individuals, the health carrier shall not make decisions regarding hiring, compensation, termination, promotion, or other similar matters based upon the likelihood that an individual will support the denial of benefits.

C. 1. In deciding an appeal of any adverse benefit determination that is based in whole or in part on a medical judgment, including determinations with regard to whether a particular treatment, drug, or other service is experimental, investigational, or not medically necessary or appropriate, the health carrier shall designate a clinical peer reviewer to review the appeal. The clinical peer reviewer shall not have been involved in any previous adverse benefit determination with respect to the claim.

2. A reviewer of any other type of adverse benefit determination shall be an appropriate person designated by the health carrier. The reviewer of the appeal shall not be the individual who made any previous adverse benefit determination of the subject appeal nor the subordinate of such individual and shall not defer to any prior adverse benefit determination.

D. A full and fair review shall also provide for:

1. The covered person to have an opportunity to submit written comments, documents, records, and other information relating to the appeal for the reviewer or reviewers to consider when reviewing the appeal.

2. Upon request to the health carrier, the covered person to have reasonable access to and free of charge copies of all documents, records, and other information relevant to the covered person's request for benefits. This information shall be provided to the covered person as soon as practicable.

3. An appeal process that takes into account all comments, documents, records, and other information submitted by the covered person relating to the appeal, without regard to whether such information was submitted or considered in the initial benefit determination.

4. The identification of medical or vocational experts whose advice was obtained on behalf of the health carrier in connection with a covered person's adverse benefit determination, without regard to whether the advice was relied upon in making the benefit determination.

5. An urgent care appeal process.

6. Prior to issuing a final adverse benefit determination, the health carrier to provide free of charge to the covered person any new or additional evidence relied upon or generated by the health carrier or at the direction of the health carrier, in connection with the internal appeal sufficiently in advance of the date the determination is required to be provided to permit the covered person a reasonable opportunity to respond prior to that date.

E. A health carrier shall notify the covered person of the final benefit determination within a reasonable period of time appropriate to the medical circumstances, but not later than the timeframes established in subdivisions 1 and 2 of this subsection.

1. If an internal appeal involves a pre-service claim review request, the health carrier shall notify the covered person of its decision within 30 days after receipt of the appeal. A health carrier may provide a second level of internal appeal for group health plans only, provided that a maximum of 15 days is allowed for a benefit determination and notification from each level of the appeal.

2. If an internal appeal involves a post-service claim review request, the health carrier shall notify the covered person of its decision within 60 days after receipt of the appeal. A health carrier may provide a second level of internal appeal for group health plans only, provided that a maximum of 30 days is allowed for a benefit determination and notification from each level of the appeal.

Statutory Authority

§ 12.1-13 and 38.2-223 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 27, Issue 22, eff. July 1, 2011; amended, Virginia Register Volume 28, Issue 08, eff. January 1, 2012; Volume 32, Issue 12, eff. February 1, 2016.

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