Section 15: Disenrollment of provider; continuation of treatment; specialty health care coverage
Section 15. (a) A carrier that allows or requires the designation of a primary care provider shall notify an insured at least 30 days before the disenrollment of such insured's primary care provider and shall permit such insured to continue to be covered for health services, consistent with the terms of the evidence of coverage, by such primary care provider for at least 30 days after said provider is disenrolled, other than disenrollment for quality-related reasons or for fraud. Such notice shall also include a description of the procedure for choosing an alternative primary care provider.
(b) A carrier shall allow any female insured who is in her second or third trimester of pregnancy and whose provider in connection with her pregnancy is involuntarily disenrolled, other than disenrollment for quality-related reasons or for fraud, to continue treatment with said provider, consistent with the terms of the evidence of coverage, for the period up to and including the insured's first postpartum visit.
(c) A carrier shall allow any insured who is terminally ill and whose provider in connection with said illness is involuntarily disenrolled, other than disenrollment for quality-related reasons or for fraud, to continue treatment with said provider, consistent with the terms of the evidence of coverage, until the insured's death.
(d) A carrier shall provide coverage for health services for up to 30 days from the effective date of coverage to a new insured by a provider who is not a participating provider in the carrier's network if: (1) the insured's employer only offers the insured a choice of carriers in which said provider is not a participating provider, and (2) said provider is providing the insured with an ongoing course of treatment or is the insured's primary care provider. With respect to an insured in her second or third trimester of pregnancy, this subsection shall apply to services rendered through the first postpartum visit. With respect to an insured with a terminal illness, this subsection shall apply to services rendered until death.
(e) A carrier may condition coverage of continued treatment by a provider under subsections (a) to (d), inclusive, upon the provider's agreeing: (1) to accept reimbursement from the carrier at the rates applicable prior to notice of disenrollment as payment in full and not to impose cost sharing with respect to the insured in an amount that would exceed the cost sharing that could have been imposed if the provider had not been disenrolled; (2) to adhere to the quality assurance standards of the carrier and to provide the carrier with necessary medical information related to the care provided; and (3) to adhere to such carrier's policies and procedures, including procedures regarding referrals, obtaining prior authorization and providing services under a treatment plan, if any, approved by the carrier. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require the coverage of benefits that would not have been covered if the provider involved remained a participating provider.
(f) A carrier that requires an insured to designate a primary care provider shall allow such a primary care provider to authorize a standing referral for specialty health care provided by a health care provider participating in such carrier's network when (1) the primary care provider determines that such referrals are appropriate, (2) the provider of specialty health care agrees to a treatment plan for the insured and provides the primary care provider with all necessary clinical and administrative information on a regular basis, and (3) the health care services to be provided are consistent with the terms of the evidence of coverage. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit a provider of specialty health care who is the subject of a referral to authorize any further referral of an insured to any other provider without the approval of the insured's carrier.
(g) No carrier shall require an insured to obtain a referral or prior authorization from a primary care provider for specialty care provided by an obstetrician, gynecologist, certified nurse-midwife or family practitioner participating in such carrier's health care provider network for the following: (1) annual preventive gynecologic health examinations, including any subsequent obstetric or gynecological services determined by such obstetrician, gynecologist, certified nurse-midwife or family practitioner to be medically necessary as a result of such examination; (2) maternity care; and (3) medically necessary evaluations and resultant health care services for acute or emergency gynecological conditions. No carrier shall require higher copayments, coinsurance, deductibles or additional cost sharing arrangements for such services provided to such insureds in the absence of a referral from a primary care provider. Carriers may establish reasonable requirements for participating obstetricians, gynecologists, certified nurse-midwives or family practitioners to communicate with an insured's primary care provider regarding the insured's condition, treatment and need for follow-up care. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit an obstetrician, gynecologist, certified nurse-midwife or family practitioner to authorize any further referral of an insured to any other provider without the approval of the insured's carrier.
(h) A carrier shall provide coverage of pediatric specialty care, including mental health care, by persons with recognized expertise in specialty pediatrics to insureds requiring such services.
(i) A carrier, including a dental or vision carrier, shall provide health, dental or vision care providers applying to be participating providers who are denied such status with a written reason or reasons for denial of such application.
(j) No carrier shall make a contract with a health care provider which includes a provision permitting termination without cause. A carrier shall provide a written statement to a provider of the reason or reasons for such provider's involuntary disenrollment.
(k) A carrier, including a dental or vision carrier, shall provide insureds, upon request, interpreter and translation services related to administrative procedures.