Standard timeframes and notice requirements for organization determinations.
(a) Method and place for filing a request.
An enrollee must ask for a standard organization determination by making a request with the MA organization or, if applicable, to the entity responsible for making the determination (as directed by the MA organization), in accordance with the following:
The request may be made orally or in writing, except as provided in paragraph (a)(2) of this section.
Requests for payment must be made in writing (unless the MA organization or entity responsible for making the determination has implemented a voluntary policy of accepting verbal payment requests).
(b) Timeframe for requests for service.
When a party has made a request for a service, the MA organization must notify the enrollee of its determination as expeditiously as the enrollee's health condition requires, but no later than 14 calendar days after the date the organization receives the request for a standard organization determination. The MA organization may extend the timeframe by up to 14 calendar days if the enrollee requests the extension or if the organization justifies a need for additional information and how the delay is in the interest of the enrollee (for example, the receipt of additional medical evidence from noncontract providers may change an MA organization's decision to deny). When the MA organization extends the timeframe, it must notify the enrollee in writing of the reasons for the delay, and inform the enrollee of the right to file an expedited grievance if he or she disagrees with the MA organization's decision to grant an extension.
(c) Timeframe for requests for payment.
The MA organization must process requests for payment according to the “prompt payment” provisions set forth in § 422.520.
(d) Written notice for MA organization denials.
The MA organization must give the enrollee a written notice if—
An MA organization decides to deny service or payment in whole or in part, or reduce or prematurely discontinue the level of care for a previously authorized ongoing course of treatment.
An enrollee requests an MA organization to provide an explanation of a practitioner's denial of an item or service, in whole or in part.
(e) Form and content of the MA organization notice.
The notice of any denial under paragraph (d) of this section must—
Use approved notice language in a readable and understandable form;
State the specific reasons for the denial;
Inform the enrollee of his or her right to a reconsideration;
For service denials, describe both the standard and expedited reconsideration processes, including the enrollee's right to, and conditions for, obtaining an expedited reconsideration and the rest of the appeal process; and
For payment denials, describe the standard reconsideration process and the rest of the appeal process; and
Comply with any other notice requirements specified by CMS.
(f) Effect of failure to provide timely notice.
If the MA organization fails to provide the enrollee with timely notice of an organization determination as specified in this section, this failure itself constitutes an adverse organization determination and may be appealed.
[65 FR 40329, June 29, 2000, as amended at 70 FR 4739, Jan. 28, 2005; 70 FR 52027, Sept. 1, 2005; 75 FR 19812, Apr. 15, 2010; 75 FR 32859, June 10, 2010]