(a) (1) For services rendered subject to Section 10112.8, effective July 1, 2017, unless otherwise agreed to by the noncontracting individual health professional and the insurer, the insurer shall reimburse the greater of the average contracted rate or 125 percent of the amount Medicare reimburses on a fee-for-service basis for the same or similar services in the general geographic region in which the services were rendered. For the purposes of this section, “average contracted rate” means the average of the contracted commercial rates paid by the health insurer for the same or similar services in the geographic region. This subdivision does not apply to subdivision (c) of Section 10112.8 or subdivision (b) of this section.
(2) (A) By July 1, 2017, each health insurer shall provide to the commissioner all of the following:
(i) Data listing its average contracted rates for the insurer for services most frequently subject to Section 10112.8 in each geographic region in which the services are rendered for the calendar year 2015.
(ii) Its methodology for determining the average contracted rate for the insurer for services subject to Section 10112.8. The methodology to determine an average contracted rate shall ensure that the insurer includes the highest and lowest contracted rates for the calendar year 2015.
(iii) The policies and procedures used to determine the average contracted rates under this subdivision.
(B) For each calendar year after the health insurer’s initial submission of the average contracted rate as specified in subparagraph (A) and until the standardized methodology under paragraph (3) is specified, a health insurer shall adjust the rate initially established pursuant to this subdivision by the Consumer Price Index for Medical Care Services, as published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
(3) (A) By January 1, 2019, the commissioner shall specify a methodology that insurers shall use to determine the average contracted rates for services most frequently subject to Section 10112.8. This methodology shall take into account, at a minimum, information from the independent dispute resolution process, the specialty of the individual health professional, and the geographic region in which the services are rendered. The methodology to determine an average contracted rate shall ensure that the insurer includes the highest and lowest contracted rates.
(B) Insurers shall provide to the commissioner the policies and procedures used to determine the average contracted rates in compliance with subparagraph (A).
(C) The average contracted rate data submitted pursuant to this section shall be confidential and not subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code).
(D) In developing the standardized methodology under this subdivision, the commissioner shall consult with interested parties throughout the process of developing the standards, including the Department of Managed Health Care, representatives of health plans, insurers, health care providers, hospitals, consumer advocates, and other stakeholders it deems appropriate. The commissioner shall hold the first stakeholder meeting no later than July 1, 2017.
(4) A health insurer shall include in its reports submitted to the commissioner pursuant to Section 10133.5 and regulations adopted pursuant to that section, in a manner specified by the department, the number of payments made to noncontracting individual health professionals for services at a contracting health facility and subject to Section 10112.8, as well as other data sufficient to determine the proportion of noncontracting individual health professionals to contracting individual health professionals at contracting health facilities, as defined in subdivision (f) of Section 10112.8. The commissioner shall include a summary of this information in its January 1, 2019, report required pursuant to subdivision (j) of Section 10112.81 and its findings regarding the impact of the act that added this section on health insurer contracting and network adequacy.
(5) A health insurer that provides services subject to Section 10112.8 shall meet the network adequacy requirements set forth in this chapter, including, but not limited to, Section 10133.5 of this code and Sections 2240.1 and 2240.7 of Title 10 of the California Code of Regulations, including, but not limited to, inpatient hospital services and specialist physician services, and if necessary, the commissioner may adopt additional regulations related to those services. This section shall not be construed to limit the commissioner’s authority under this chapter.
(6) For the purposes of this section, for average contracted rates for individual and small group coverage, geographic region shall be the geographic regions listed in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 10753.14. For purposes of this section for Medicare fee-for-service reimbursement, geographic regions shall be the geographic regions specified for physician reimbursement for Medicare fee-for-service by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
(7) A health insurer shall authorize and permit assignment of the insured’s right, if any, to any reimbursement for health care services covered under the health insurance policy to a noncontracting individual health professional who furnishes the health care services rendered subject to Section 10112.8. Lack of assignment pursuant to this paragraph shall not be construed to limit the applicability of this section, Section 10112.8, or Section 10112.81.
(8) A noncontracting individual health professional or health insurer who disputes the claim reimbursement under this section shall utilize the independent dispute resolution process described in Section 10112.81.
(b) If nonemergency services are provided by a noncontracting individual health professional consistent with subdivision (c) of Section 10112.8 to an insured who has voluntarily chosen to use his or her out-of-network benefit for services covered by an insurer that includes coverage for out-of-network benefits, unless otherwise agreed to by the insurer and the noncontracting individual health professional, the amount paid by the insurer shall be the amount set forth in the insured’s policy. This payment is not subject to the independent dispute resolution process described in Section 10112.81.
(c) If a health insurer delegates the responsibility for payment of claims to a contracted entity, including, but not limited to, a medical group or independent practice association, then the entity to which that responsibility is delegated shall comply with the requirements of this section.
(d) (1) A payment made by the health insurer to the noncontracting health care professional for nonemergency services as required by Section 10112.8 and this section, in addition to the applicable cost sharing owed by the insured, shall constitute payment in full for nonemergency services rendered unless either party uses the dispute resolution process or other lawful means pursuant to Section 10112.81.
(2) Notwithstanding any other law, the amounts paid by an insurer for services under this section shall not constitute the prevailing or customary charges, the usual fees to the general public, or other charges for other payers for an individual health professional.
(3) This subdivision shall not preclude the use of the independent dispute resolution process pursuant to Section 10112.81.
(e) This section shall not apply to emergency services and care, as defined in Section 1317.1 of the Health and Safety Code.
(f) The definitions in subdivision (f) of Section 10112.8 shall apply for purposes of this section.
(g) This section shall not be construed to alter a health insurer’s obligations pursuant to Section 10123.13.
(Added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 492, Sec. 6. (AB 72) Effective January 1, 2017.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018