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General Laws

Section 2. An organization may enter into a preferred provider arrangement with one or more health care providers upon a determination by the commissioner that the organization and the arrangement comply with the requirements of this chapter and the regulations hereunder. An organization shall not condition its willingness to allow any health care provider to participate in a preferred provider arrangement on such health care provider’s agreeing to enter into other contracts or arrangements with the organization that are not part of or related to such preferred provider arrangements. An organization shall not refuse to contract with or compensate for covered services an otherwise eligible participating or nonparticipating provider solely because such provider has in good faith communicated with one or more of his current, former or prospective patients regarding the provisions, terms or requirements of the organization’s products as they relate to the needs of such provider’s patients. A preferred provider arrangement entered into between an organization and a home health agency or licensed hospice agency shall not require the participating home health agency or participating licensed hospice agency to be accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations or other national accrediting body if the agency is certified for participation in the Medicare program, Title XVIII of the federal Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. Sections 1395 et seq.

An organization shall submit information concerning any proposed preferred provider arrangements to the commissioner for approval in accordance with regulations promulgated by the commissioner. Said regulations shall comply with the applicable provisions of chapter thirty A of the General Laws. Said information shall include at least the following: (a) a description of the health services and any other benefits to which the covered person is entitled; (b) a description of the locations where and the manner in which health services and other benefits may be obtained; (c) a copy of the evidence of coverage; (d) copies of any contracts with preferred providers; (e) a description of the rating methodology and rates. The arrangement shall meet the following standards:

(a) Standards for maintaining quality health care, including satisfying any quality assurance regulations promulgated by any state agency;

(b) Standards for controlling health care costs;

(c) Standards for assuring reasonable levels of access of health care services and an adequate number and geographical distribution of preferred providers to render those services;

(d) Standards for assuring appropriate utilization of health care service; and

(e) Other standards deemed appropriate by the commissioner.

No organization may enter into a preferred provider arrangement with one or more health care providers unless said written arrangement contains a provision requiring that within 45 days after the receipt by the organization of completed forms for reimbursement to the health care provider, the organization shall (i) make payments for the provision of such services, (ii) notify the provider in writing of the reason or reasons for nonpayment, or (iii) notify the provider in writing of what additional information or documentation is necessary to complete said forms for such reimbursement. If the organization fails to comply with the provisions of this paragraph for any claims related to the provision of health care services, said organization shall pay, in addition to any reimbursement for health care services provided, interest on such benefits, which shall accrue beginning 45 days after the organization’s receipt of request for reimbursement at the rate of 1.5 per cent per month, not to exceed 18 per cent per year. The provisions of this paragraph relating to interest payments shall not apply to a claim that the organization is investigating because of suspected fraud.

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