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AB-1802 Health care service plans.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 07/15/2019 09:00 PM
AB1802:v96#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 1802
CHAPTER 113

An act to amend Sections 1358.20, 1368.015, 1368.02, 1371, and 1373.65 of the Health and Safety Code, relating to health care service plans.

[ Approved by Governor  July 12, 2019. Filed with Secretary of State  July 12, 2019. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1802, Committee on Health. Health care service plans.
Existing law, the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act of 1975, provides for the licensure and regulation of health care service plans by the Department of Managed Health Care, and makes a willful violation of the act a crime. Existing law requires a health care service plan, including a specialized health care service plan, to reimburse a claim or portion of a claim no later than 30 working days after receipt of the claim, unless the plan contests or denies the claim, in which case the plan is required to notify the claimant within 30 working days that the claim is contested or denied. Existing law extends these timelines to 45 working days for a health maintenance organization. Existing law specifies that the obligation of a specialized health care service plan to comply with these provisions is not waived if the plan requires its medical groups, independent practice associations, or other contracting entities to pay claims for covered services.
This bill would instead provide that the obligation of a plan to comply with those provisions is not deemed to be waived if the plan requires its medical groups, independent practice associations, or other contracting entities to pay claims for covered services.
Existing law requires a health care service plan to provide department contact information in specified materials, including on the application form for a Medicare supplement contract, on its online grievance form, and in communications that concern contract termination or a block transfer.
This bill would update the information a health care service plan is required to provide pursuant to those provisions, as specified. Because a willful violation of these requirements would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 1358.20 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:

1358.20.
 (a) An issuer, directly or through solicitors or other representatives, shall do each of the following:
(1) Establish marketing procedures to ensure that any comparison of Medicare supplement coverage by its solicitors or other representatives will be fair and accurate.
(2) Establish marketing procedures to ensure that excessive coverage is not sold or issued.
(3) Display prominently by type, stamp, or other appropriate means, on the first page of the outline of coverage and contract, the following:

“Notice to buyer: This Medicare supplement contract may not cover all of your medical expenses.”

(4) Inquire and otherwise make every reasonable effort to identify whether a prospective applicant for a Medicare supplement contract already has health care coverage and the types and amounts of that coverage.
(5) Provide, on the application form for Medicare supplement contracts, a statement that reads as follows: “A rate guide is available that compares the policies sold by different insurers. You can obtain a copy of this rate guide by calling the Department of Managed Health Care’s consumer toll-free telephone number (1-888-466-2219), by calling the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) toll-free telephone number (1-800-434-0222), or by accessing the Department of Managed Health Care’s internet website (www.dmhc.ca.gov).”
(6) Establish auditable procedures for verifying compliance with this subdivision.
(b) In addition to the practices prohibited by this code or any other law, the following acts and practices are prohibited:
(1) Twisting, which means knowingly making any misleading representation or incomplete or fraudulent comparison of any coverages or issuers for the purpose of inducing or tending to induce, any person to lapse, forfeit, surrender, terminate, retain, pledge, assign, borrow on, or convert any coverage or to take out coverage with another plan or insurer.
(2) High pressure tactics, which means employing any method of marketing having the effect of or tending to induce the purchase of coverage through force, fright, threat, whether explicit or implied, or undue pressure to purchase or recommend the purchase of coverage.
(3) Cold lead advertising, which means making use directly or indirectly of any method of marketing that fails to disclose in a conspicuous manner that a purpose of the method of marketing is the solicitation of coverage and that contact will be made by a health care service plan or its representative.
(c) The terms “Medicare supplement,” “Medigap,” “Medicare Wrap-Around” and words of similar import shall not be used unless the contract is issued in compliance with this article.

SEC. 2.

 Section 1368.015 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:

1368.015.
 (a) Effective July 1, 2003, every plan with an internet website shall provide an online form through its internet website that subscribers or enrollees can use to file with the plan a grievance, as described in Section 1368, online.
(b) The internet website shall have an easily accessible online grievance submission procedure that shall be accessible through a hyperlink on the internet website’s home page or member services portal clearly identified as “GRIEVANCE FORM.” All information submitted through this process shall be processed through a secure server.
(c) The online grievance submission process shall be approved by the Department of Managed Health Care and shall meet the following requirements:
(1) It shall utilize an online grievance form in HTML format that allows the user to enter required information directly into the form.
(2) It shall allow the subscriber or enrollee to preview the grievance that will be submitted, including the opportunity to edit the form prior to submittal.
(3) It shall include a current hyperlink to the Department of Managed Health Care internet website, and shall include a statement in a legible font that is clearly distinguishable from other content on the page and is in a legible size and type, containing the following language:

“The California Department of Managed Health Care is responsible for regulating health care service plans. If you have a grievance against your health plan, you should first telephone your health plan at (insert health plan’s telephone number) and use your health plan’s grievance process before contacting the department. Utilizing this grievance procedure does not prohibit any potential legal rights or remedies that may be available to you. If you need help with a grievance involving an emergency, a grievance that has not been satisfactorily resolved by your health plan, or a grievance that has remained unresolved for more than 30 days, you may call the department for assistance. You may also be eligible for an Independent Medical Review (IMR). If you are eligible for IMR, the IMR process will provide an impartial review of medical decisions made by a health plan related to the medical necessity of a proposed service or treatment, coverage decisions for treatments that are experimental or investigational in nature and payment disputes for emergency or urgent medical services. The department also has a toll-free telephone number (1-888-466-2219) and a TDD line (1-877-688-9891) for the hearing and speech impaired. The department’s internet website www.dmhc.ca.gov has complaint forms, IMR application forms, and instructions online.”

The plan shall update the URL, hyperlink, and telephone numbers in this statement as necessary.
(d) A plan that utilizes a hardware system that does not have the minimum system requirements to support the software necessary to meet the requirements of this section is exempt from these requirements until January 1, 2006.
(e) For purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
(1) “Homepage” means the first page or welcome page of an internet website that serves as a starting point for navigation of the internet website.
(2) “HTML” means Hypertext Markup Language, the authoring language used to create documents on the World Wide Web, which defines the structure and layout of a web document.
(3) “Hyperlink” means a special HTML code that allows text or graphics to serve as a link that, when clicked on, takes a user to another place in the same document, to another document, or to another internet website or page.
(4) “Member services portal” means the first page or welcome page of an internet website that can be reached directly by the internet website’s homepage and that serves as a starting point for a navigation of member services available on the internet website.
(5) “Secure server” means an Internet connection to an internet website that encrypts and decrypts transmissions, protecting them against third-party tampering and allowing for the secure transfer of data.
(6) “URL” or “Uniform Resource Locator” means the address of an internet website or the location of a resource on the World Wide Web that allows a browser to locate and retrieve the internet website or the resource.
(7) “Internet website” means a site or location on the World Wide Web.
(f) (1) Every health care service plan, except a plan that primarily serves Medi-Cal or Healthy Families Program enrollees, shall maintain an internet website. For a health care service plan that provides coverage for professional mental health services, the internet website shall include, but not be limited to, providing information to subscribers, enrollees, and providers that will assist subscribers and enrollees in accessing mental health services as well as the information described in Section 1368.016.
(2) The provision in paragraph (1) that requires compliance with Section 1368.016 shall not apply to a health care service plan that contracts with a specialized health care service plan, insurer, or other entity to cover professional mental health services for its enrollees, provided that the health care service plan provides a link on its internet website to an internet website operated by the specialized health care service plan, insurer, or other entity with which it contracts, and that plan, insurer, or other entity complies with Section 1368.016.

SEC. 3.

 Section 1368.02 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:

1368.02.
 (a) The director shall establish and maintain a toll-free telephone number for the purpose of receiving complaints regarding health care service plans regulated by the director.
(b) Every health care service plan shall publish the department’s toll-free telephone number, the department’s TDD line for the hearing and speech impaired, the plan’s telephone number, and the department’s internet website address, on every plan contract, on every evidence of coverage, on copies of plan grievance procedures, on plan complaint forms, and on all written notices to enrollees required under the grievance process of the plan, including any written communications to an enrollee that offer the enrollee the opportunity to participate in the grievance process of the plan and on all written responses to grievances. The department’s telephone number, the department’s TDD line, the plan’s telephone number, and the department’s internet website address shall be displayed by the plan in each of these documents in 12-point boldface type in the following regular type statement:
“The California Department of Managed Health Care is responsible for regulating health care service plans. If you have a grievance against your health plan, you should first telephone your health plan at (insert health plan’s telephone number) and use your health plan’s grievance process before contacting the department. Utilizing this grievance procedure does not prohibit any potential legal rights or remedies that may be available to you. If you need help with a grievance involving an emergency, a grievance that has not been satisfactorily resolved by your health plan, or a grievance that has remained unresolved for more than 30 days, you may call the department for assistance. You may also be eligible for an Independent Medical Review (IMR). If you are eligible for IMR, the IMR process will provide an impartial review of medical decisions made by a health plan related to the medical necessity of a proposed service or treatment, coverage decisions for treatments that are experimental or investigational in nature and payment disputes for emergency or urgent medical services. The department also has a toll-free telephone number (1-888-466-2219) and a TDD line (1-877-688-9891) for the hearing and speech impaired. The department’s internet website www.dmhc.ca.gov has complaint forms, IMR application forms and instructions online.”

SEC. 4.

 Section 1371 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:

1371.
 (a) (1) A health care service plan, including a specialized health care service plan, shall reimburse claims or a portion of a claim, whether in state or out of state, as soon as practicable, but no later than 30 working days after receipt of the claim by the health care service plan, or if the health care service plan is a health maintenance organization, 45 working days after receipt of the claim by the health care service plan, unless the claim or portion thereof is contested by the plan, in which case the claimant shall be notified, in writing, that the claim is contested or denied, within 30 working days after receipt of the claim by the health care service plan, or if the health care service plan is a health maintenance organization, 45 working days after receipt of the claim by the health care service plan. The notice that a claim is being contested shall identify the portion of the claim that is contested and the specific reasons for contesting the claim.
(2) If an uncontested claim is not reimbursed by delivery to the claimants’ address of record within the respective 30 or 45 working days after receipt, interest shall accrue at the rate of 15 percent per annum beginning with the first calendar day after the 30- or 45-working-day period. A health care service plan shall automatically include in its payment of the claim all interest that has accrued pursuant to this section without requiring the claimant to submit a request for the interest amount. A plan failing to comply with this requirement shall pay the claimant a ten dollar ($10) fee.
(3) For the purposes of this section, a claim, or portion thereof, is reasonably contested if the plan has not received the completed claim and all information necessary to determine payer liability for the claim, or has not been granted reasonable access to information concerning provider services. Information necessary to determine payer liability for the claim includes, but is not limited to, reports of investigations concerning fraud and misrepresentation, and necessary consents, releases, and assignments, a claim on appeal, or other information necessary for the plan to determine the medical necessity for the health care services provided.
(4) If a claim or portion thereof is contested on the basis that the plan has not received all information necessary to determine payer liability for the claim or portion thereof and notice has been provided pursuant to this section, the plan shall have 30 working days or, if the health care service plan is a health maintenance organization, 45 working days after receipt of this additional information to complete reconsideration of the claim. If a plan has received all of the information necessary to determine payer liability for a contested claim and has not reimbursed a claim it has determined to be payable within 30 working days of the receipt of that information, or if the plan is a health maintenance organization, within 45 working days of receipt of that information, interest shall accrue and be payable at a rate of 15 percent per annum beginning with the first calendar day after the 30- or 45-working-day period.
(b) Notwithstanding any other law, a specialized health care service plan that undertakes solely to arrange for the provision of vision care services may use a statistically reliable method to investigate suspected fraud and to recover overpayments made as a result of fraud only if the specialized health care service plan complies with this subdivision.
(1) A specialized health care service plan’s statistically reliable method, and how the specialized health care service plan intends to utilize that method to determine recovery of overpayments made as a result of fraud, shall be submitted to, and approved by, the department as elements of the specialized health care service plan’s antifraud plan established and approved pursuant to Section 1348. The specialized health care service plan’s utilization of a statistically reliable method shall help protect and promote the interests of enrollees and shall help ensure a stable health care delivery system. The statistically reliable method shall be consistent with direction provided by the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing and the guidance provided by the International Professional Practices Framework guide, which are both produced by the Institute of Internal Auditors.
(2) Pursuant to its antifraud plan established and approved pursuant to Section 1348, a specialized health care service plan shall provide a written notice of suspected fraud to a provider that includes, at a minimum, all of the following:
(A) A clear description of the specialized health care service plan’s statistically reliable methodology. The description shall include information that ensures that the sample size used to calculate the repayment amount is consistent with the professional guidance provided in the 2009 edition of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Audit Sampling Considerations of Circular A-133 Compliance Audits.
(B) A clear description of the universe of claims from which the statistical random sample was drawn and, if different, the universe of claims upon which the statistical analysis was applied to generate the recovery amount.
(C) A clear explanation of how the specialized health care service plan’s statistically reliable methodology was utilized in the specialized health care service plan’s findings of suspected fraud.
(D) Notice that a provider may dispute the specialized health care service plan’s findings within 45 working days from the date of receipt of the notice of suspected fraud.
(E) The following information for each of the claims in the statistical sample that was utilized in the specialized health care service plan’s findings:
(i) The claim number.
(ii) The name of the patient.
(iii) The date of service.
(iv) The date of payment.
(v) A clear explanation of the basis upon which the specialized health care service plan suspects the claim is fraudulent.
(3) A specialized health care service plan that undertakes solely to arrange for the provision of vision care services may use a statistically reliable method to recover overpayments made as a result of suspected fraud only if the universe of claims upon which the statistical analysis is performed consists only of those claims made between 365 days from the date of payment of the earliest in time claim and the date of payment of the latest in time claim. Notice shall be mailed to the provider no later than 60 days following the date of payment of the latest in time claim.
(4) If the provider contests the specialized health care service plan’s notice of suspected fraud, the provider, within 45 working days of the date of receipt of the notice of suspected fraud, shall send written notice to the specialized health care service plan stating the basis upon which the provider believes that the claims are not fraudulent. The specialized health care service plan shall receive and process this contested notice of suspected fraud as a provider dispute pursuant to subdivision (a) of this section, paragraph (1) of subdivision (h) of Section 1367, and the regulations promulgated thereunder.
(5) A specialized health care service plan may offset the amount the specialized health care service plan disclosed as overpaid to the provider in an uncontested notice of suspected fraud against the provider’s current claim submissions only if all of the following requirements are met:
(A) The provider fails to reimburse the specialized health care service plan within 45 working days from the date of receipt by the provider of the notice of suspected fraud.
(B) The specialized health care service plan sends written notice to the provider no less than 10 working days prior to withholding current claim payments in which the specialized health care service plan, at a minimum, states its intent to withhold current claim payments and identifies the claim payments that the specialized health care service plan intends to withhold.
(C) The withheld claim payments do not exceed the amount asserted by the specialized health care service plan to be owed to the specialized health care service plan in its notice of suspected fraud.
(6) This section does not limit or remove a specialized health care service plan’s obligation to comply with its antifraud plan established pursuant to Section 1348, or to limit or remove the specialized health care service plan’s obligation to comply with the requirements for claims subject to subdivision (a).
(7) This subdivision does not limit or remove a specialized health care service plan’s ability to recover overpayments as long as recovery is consistent with applicable law, including subdivision (a) and the regulations promulgated thereunder.
(8) This subdivision does not apply to claims submitted by a physician and surgeon for medical or surgical services that are outside the scope of practice of an optometrist pursuant to the Optometry Practice Act (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 3000) of Division 2 of the Business and Professions Code).
(c) The obligation of a plan to comply with this section shall not be deemed to be waived when the plan requires its medical groups, independent practice associations, or other contracting entities to pay claims for covered services.

SEC. 5.

 Section 1373.65 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:

1373.65.
 (a) At least 75 days before the termination date of its contract with a provider group or a general acute care hospital, the health care service plan shall submit an enrollee block transfer filing to the department that includes the written notice the plan proposes to send to affected enrollees. The plan may not send this notice to enrollees until the department has reviewed and approved its content. If the department does not respond within seven days of the date of its receipt of the filing, the notice shall be deemed approved.
(b) At least 60 days before the termination date of a contract between a health care service plan and a provider group or a general acute care hospital, the plan shall send the written notice described in subdivision (a) by United States mail to enrollees who are assigned to the terminated provider group or hospital. A plan that is unable to comply with the timeframe because of exigent circumstances shall apply to the department for a waiver. The plan is excused from complying with this requirement only if its waiver application is granted by the department or the department does not respond within seven days of the date of its receipt of the waiver application. If the terminated provider is a hospital and the plan assigns enrollees to a provider group with exclusive admitting privileges to the hospital, the plan shall send the written notice to each enrollee who is a member of the provider group and who resides within a 15-mile radius of the terminated hospital. If the plan operates as a preferred provider organization or assigns members to a provider group with admitting privileges to hospitals in the same geographic area as the terminated hospital, the plan shall send the written notice to all enrollees who reside within a 15-mile radius of the terminated hospital.
(c) The health care service plan shall send enrollees of a preferred provider organization the written notice required by subdivision (b) only if the terminated provider is a general acute care hospital.
(d) If an individual provider terminates the provider’s contract or employment with a provider group that contracts with a health care service plan, the plan may require that the provider group send the notice required by subdivision (b).
(e) If, after sending the notice required by subdivision (b), a health care service plan reaches an agreement with a terminated provider to renew or enter into a new contract or to not terminate their contract, the plan shall offer each affected enrollee the option to return to that provider. If an affected enrollee does not exercise this option, the plan shall reassign the enrollee to another provider.
(f) A health care service plan and a provider shall include in all written, printed, or electronic communications sent to an enrollee that concern the contract termination or block transfer, the following statement in not less than 8-point type: “If you have been receiving care from a health care provider, you may have a right to keep your provider for a designated time period. Please contact your health plan’s customer service department, and if you have further questions, you are encouraged to contact the Department of Managed Health Care, which protects consumers, by telephone at its toll-free number, 1-888-466-2219, or at a TDD number for the hearing and speech impaired at 1-877-688-9891, or online at www.dmhc.ca.gov.”
(g) For purposes of this section, “provider group” means a medical group, independent practice association, or any other similar organization.

SEC. 6.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.