Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 38.2. Insurance
Chapter 34. Provisions Relating to Accident and Sickness Insurance
9/19/2020

§ 38.2-3407.19. Payment for services by optometrists and ophthalmologists.

A. As used in this section, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Covered materials" means lenses, devices containing lenses, prisms, lens treatments and coatings, contact lenses, and devices to correct, relieve, or treat defects or abnormal conditions of the human eye and its adnexa for which benefits under a policy, contract, or evidence of coverage are payable by a vision care plan carrier, including materials paid by the insureds, subscribers, or enrollees because the annual or periodic payment maximum established by the vision care plan has been met.

"Covered services" means the health care services for which benefits under a policy, contract, or evidence of coverage are payable by a vision care plan carrier, including services paid by the insureds, subscribers, or enrollees because the annual or periodic payment maximum established by the vision care plan has been met.

"Enrollee" means any person entitled to health care services under a vision care plan.

"Optometric services plan" has the same meaning ascribed thereto in § 38.2-4501.

"Participating provider agreement" means a contract or agreement between an optometrist or ophthalmologist and a vision care plan carrier in which the optometrist or ophthalmologist has agreed to provide vision-related health care services to enrollees and to hold those enrollees harmless from payment with an expectation of receiving payment, other than copayments or deductibles, directly or indirectly from a vision care plan.

"Vision care plan" means (i) an individual or group accident and sickness insurance policy providing hospital, medical, and surgical or major medical coverage on an expense-incurred basis; (ii) an individual or group accident and sickness subscription contract; (iii) an optometric services plan; (iv) a health care plan provided by a health maintenance organization; or (v) an integrated or stand-alone vision benefit plan or a vision care insurance policy or contract that provides vision benefits to an enrollee pertaining to the provision of covered services or covered materials, under which policy, contract, or plan an enrollee is eligible to receive a benefit for covered services or covered materials.

"Vision care plan carrier" means (i) an insurer proposing to issue individual or group accident and sickness insurance policies providing hospital, medical, and surgical or major medical coverage on an expense-incurred basis; (ii) a nonstock corporation providing individual or group accident and sickness subscription contracts; (iii) a nonstock corporation offering an optometric services plan; (iv) a health maintenance organization providing a health care plan; and (v) an entity that creates, promotes, sells, provides, advertises, or administers (a) an integrated or stand-alone vision benefit plan or (b) a vision care insurance policy or contract that provides vision benefits to an enrollee pertaining to the provision of covered services or covered materials.

B. No participating provider agreement shall establish the fee or rate that the optometrist or ophthalmologist is required to accept for the provision of health care materials or services, or require that an optometrist or ophthalmologist accept the reimbursement paid as payment in full, unless the health care materials and services are covered materials or covered services under the applicable vision care plan.

C. Reimbursement paid by the vision care plan carrier for covered services and covered materials shall be reasonable and shall not provide nominal reimbursement in order to claim that services and materials are covered services or covered materials under the applicable vision care plan. For the purposes of this subsection, "reasonable" means the negotiated fee or rate that is set forth in the participating provider agreement and is acceptable to the provider.

D. No vision care plan shall require an optometrist or ophthalmologist to use a particular optical laboratory, manufacturer of eyeglass frames or contact lenses, or third-party supplier as a condition of participation in a vision care plan.

E. Any changes to a participating provider agreement proposed by the vision care plan carrier shall be submitted in writing to the optometrist or ophthalmologist at least 30 days prior to the effective date of such proposed changes.

F. This section shall apply with respect to any participating provider agreement that is entered into, amended, extended, or renewed on or after January 1, 2016.

G. The Commission shall have no jurisdiction to adjudicate individual controversies arising out of this section.

H. The provisions of subsections B through G, as related to covered materials only, shall be applicable to licensed opticians practicing in the Commonwealth.

2015, c. 723.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.