26 CFR § 54.9816-8 - Independent dispute resolution process.

§ 54.9816-8 Independent dispute resolution process.

(a)-(b) For further guidance see § 54.9816-8T(a) and (b).

(c) For further guidance see § 54.9816-8T(c) introductory text through (c)(3).

(1)-(3) [Reserved]

(4) For further guidance see § 54.9816-8T(c)(4) introductory text through (c)(4)(ii) introductory text.

(i) [Reserved]

(ii) [Reserved]

(A) Select as the out-of-network rate for the qualified IDR item or service one of the offers submitted under § 54.9816-8T(c)(4)(i), weighing only the considerations specified in paragraph (c)(4)(iii) of this section (as applied to the information provided by the parties pursuant to § 54.9816-8T(c)(4)(i)). The certified IDR entity must select the offer that the certified IDR entity determines best represents the value of the qualified IDR item or service as the out-of-network rate.

(B) For further guidance see § 54.9816-8T(c)(4)(ii)(B).

(iii) Considerations in determination. In determining which offer to select:

(A) The certified IDR entity must consider the qualifying payment amount(s) for the applicable year for the same or similar item or service.

(B) The certified IDR entity must then consider information submitted by a party that relates to the following circumstances:

(1) The level of training, experience, and quality and outcomes measurements of the provider or facility that furnished the qualified IDR item or service (such as those endorsed by the consensus-based entity authorized in section 1890 of the Social Security Act).

(2) The market share held by the provider or facility or that of the plan or issuer in the geographic region in which the qualified IDR item or service was provided.

(3) The acuity of the participant or beneficiary receiving the qualified IDR item or service, or the complexity of furnishing the qualified IDR item or service to the participant or beneficiary.

(4) The teaching status, case mix, and scope of services of the facility that furnished the qualified IDR item or service, if applicable.

(5) Demonstration of good faith efforts (or lack thereof) made by the provider or facility or the plan or issuer to enter into network agreements with each other, and, if applicable, contracted rates between the provider or facility, as applicable, and the plan or issuer, as applicable, during the previous 4 plan years.

(C) The certified IDR entity must also consider information provided by a party in response to a request by the certified IDR entity under § 54.9816-8T(c)(4)(i)(A)(2) that relates to the offer for the payment amount for the qualified IDR item or service that is the subject of the payment determination and that does not include information on factors described in § 54.9816-8T(c)(4)(v).

(D) The certified IDR entity must also consider additional information submitted by a party that relates to the offer for the payment amount for the qualified IDR item or service that is the subject of the payment determination and that does not include information on factors described in § 54.9816-8T(c)(4)(v).

(E) In weighing the considerations described in paragraphs (c)(4)(iii)(B) through (D) of this section, the certified IDR entity should evaluate whether the information is credible and relates to the offer submitted by either party for the payment amount for the qualified IDR item or service that is the subject of the payment determination. The certified IDR entity should not give weight to information to the extent it is not credible, it does not relate to either party's offer for the payment amount for the qualified IDR item or service, or it is already accounted for by the qualifying payment amount under paragraph (c)(4)(iii)(A) of this section or other credible information under paragraphs (c)(4)(iii)(B) through (D) of this section.

(iv) Examples. The rules of paragraph (c)(4)(iii) of this section are illustrated in the following paragraphs. Each example assumes that the Federal IDR process applies for purposes of determining the out-of-network rate, that both parties have submitted the information parties are required to submit as part of the Federal IDR process, and that the submitted information does not include information on factors described in paragraph (c)(4)(v) of this section:

(A) Example 1 -

(1) Facts. A level 1 trauma center that is a nonparticipating emergency facility and an issuer are parties to a payment determination in the Federal IDR process. The facility submits an offer that is higher than the qualifying payment amount. The facility also submits additional written information showing that the scope of services available at the facility was critical to the delivery of care for the qualified IDR item or service provided, given the particular patient's acuity. This information is determined to be credible by the certified IDR entity. Further, the facility submits additional information showing the contracted rates used to calculate the qualifying payment amount for the qualified IDR item or service were based on a level of service that is typical in cases in which the services are delivered by a facility that is not a level 1 trauma center and that does not have the capability to provide the scope of services provided by a level 1 trauma center. This information is also determined to be credible by the certified IDR entity. The issuer submits an offer equal to the qualifying payment amount. No additional information is submitted by either party. The certified IDR entity determines that all the information submitted by the nonparticipating emergency facility relates to the offer for the payment amount for the qualified IDR item or service that is the subject of the payment determination.

(2) Conclusion. In this paragraph (c)(4)(iv)(A) (Example 1), the certified IDR entity must consider the qualifying payment amount. The certified IDR entity then must consider the additional information submitted by the nonparticipating emergency facility, provided the information relates to circumstances described in paragraphs (c)(4)(iii)(B) through (D) of this section and relates to the offer for the payment amount for the qualified IDR item or service that is the subject of the payment determination. If the certified IDR entity determines that it is appropriate to give weight to the additional credible information submitted by the nonparticipating emergency facility and that the additional credible information submitted by the facility demonstrates that the facility's offer best represents the value of the qualified IDR item or service, the certified IDR entity should select the facility's offer.

(B) Example 2 -

(1) Facts. A nonparticipating provider and an issuer are parties to a payment determination in the Federal IDR process. The provider submits an offer that is higher than the qualifying payment amount. The provider also submits additional written information regarding the level of training and experience the provider possesses. This information is determined to be credible by the certified IDR entity, but the certified IDR entity finds that the information does not demonstrate that the provider's level of training and experience relates to the offer for the payment amount for the qualified IDR item or service that is the subject of the payment determination (for example, the information does not show that the provider's level of training and experience was necessary for providing the qualified IDR service that is the subject of the payment determination to the particular patient, or that the training or experience made an impact on the care that was provided). The nonparticipating provider does not submit any additional information. The issuer submits an offer equal to the qualifying payment amount, with no additional information.

(2) Conclusion. In this paragraph (c)(4)(iv)(B) (Example 2), the certified IDR entity must consider the qualifying payment amount. The certified IDR entity must then consider the additional information submitted by the nonparticipating provider, provided the information relates to circumstances described in paragraphs (c)(4)(iii)(B) through (D) of this section and relates to the offer for the payment amount for the qualified IDR item or service that is the subject of the payment determination. In addition, the certified IDR entity should not give weight to information to the extent it is already accounted for by the qualifying payment amount or other credible information under paragraphs (c)(4)(iii)(B) through (D) of this section. If the certified IDR entity determines that the additional information submitted by the provider is credible but does not relate to the offer for the payment amount for the qualified IDR service that is the subject of the payment determination, and determines that the issuer's offer best represents the value of the qualified IDR service, in the absence of any other credible information that relates to either party's offer, the certified IDR entity should select the issuer's offer.

(C) Example 3 -

(1) Facts. A nonparticipating provider and an issuer are parties to a payment determination in the Federal IDR process involving an emergency department visit for the evaluation and management of a patient. The provider submits an offer that is higher than the qualifying payment amount. The provider also submits additional written information showing that the acuity of the patient's condition and complexity of the qualified IDR service furnished required the taking of a comprehensive history, a comprehensive examination, and medical decision making of high complexity. This information is determined to be credible by the certified IDR entity. The issuer submits an offer equal to the qualifying payment amount for CPT code 99285, which is the CPT code for an emergency department visit for the evaluation and management of a patient requiring a comprehensive history, a comprehensive examination, and medical decision making of high complexity. The issuer also submits additional written information showing that this CPT code accounts for the acuity of the patient's condition. This information is determined to be credible by the certified IDR entity. The certified IDR entity determines that the information provided by the provider and issuer relates to the offer for the payment amount for the qualified IDR service that is the subject of the payment determination. Neither party submits any additional information.

(2) Conclusion. In this paragraph (c)(4)(iv)(C) (Example 3), the certified IDR entity must consider the qualifying payment amount. The certified IDR entity then must consider the additional information submitted by the parties, but the certified IDR entity should not give weight to information to the extent it is already accounted for by the qualifying payment amount or other credible information under paragraphs (c)(4)(iii)(B) through (D) of this section. If the certified IDR entity determines the additional information on the acuity of the patient and complexity of the service is already accounted for in the calculation of the qualifying payment amount, the certified IDR entity should not give weight to the additional information provided by the provider. If the certified IDR entity determines that the issuer's offer best represents the value of the qualified IDR service, the certified IDR entity should select the issuer's offer.

(D) Example 4 -

(1) Facts. A nonparticipating emergency facility and an issuer are parties to a payment determination in the Federal IDR process. Although the facility is not participating in the issuer's network during the relevant plan year, it was a participating facility in the issuer's network in the previous 4 plan years. The issuer submits an offer that is higher than the qualifying payment amount and that is equal to the facility's contracted rate (adjusted for inflation) for the previous year with the issuer for the qualified IDR service. The issuer also submits additional written information showing that the contracted rates between the facility and the issuer during the previous 4 plan years were higher than the qualifying payment amount submitted by the issuer, and that these prior contracted rates account for the case mix and scope of services typically furnished at the nonparticipating facility. The certified IDR entity determines this information is credible and that it relates to the offer submitted by the issuer for the payment amount for the qualified IDR service that is the subject of the payment determination. The facility submits an offer that is higher than both the qualifying payment amount and the contracted rate (adjusted for inflation) for the previous year with the issuer for the qualified IDR service. The facility also submits additional written information, with the intent to show that the case mix and scope of services available at the facility were integral to the service provided. The certified IDR entity determines this information is credible and that it relates to the offer submitted by the facility for the payment amount for the qualified IDR service that is the subject of the payment determination. Neither party submits any additional information.

(2) Conclusion. In this paragraph (c)(4)(iv)(D) (Example 4), the certified IDR entity must consider the qualifying payment amount. The certified IDR entity then must consider the additional information submitted by the parties, but should not give weight to information to the extent it is already accounted for by the qualifying payment amount or other credible information under paragraphs (c)(4)(iii)(B) through (D) of this section. If the certified IDR entity determines that the information submitted by the facility regarding the case mix and scope of services available at the facility includes information that is also accounted for in the information the issuer submitted regarding prior contracted rates, then the certified IDR entity should give weight to that information only once. The certified IDR entity also should not give weight to the same information provided by the nonparticipating emergency facility in relation to any other factor. If the certified IDR entity determines that the issuer's offer best represents the value of the qualified IDR service, the certified IDR entity should select the issuer's offer.

(E) Example 5 -

(1) Facts. A nonparticipating provider and an issuer are parties to a payment determination in the Federal IDR process regarding a qualified IDR service for which the issuer downcoded the service code that the provider billed. The issuer submits an offer equal to the qualifying payment amount (which was calculated using the downcoded service code). The issuer also submits additional written information that includes the documentation disclosed to the nonparticipating provider under § 54.9816-6(d)(1)(ii) at the time of the initial payment (which describes why the service code was downcoded). The certified IDR entity determines this information is credible and that it relates to the offer for the payment amount for the qualified IDR service that is the subject of the payment determination. The provider submits an offer equal to the amount that would have been the qualifying payment amount had the service code not been downcoded. The provider also submits additional written information that includes the documentation disclosed to the nonparticipating provider under § 54.9816-6(d)(1)(ii) at the time of the initial payment. Further, the provider submits additional written information that explains why the billed service code was more appropriate than the downcoded service code, as evidence that the provider's offer, which is equal to the amount the qualifying payment amount would have been for the service code that the provider billed, best represents the value of the service furnished, given its complexity. The certified IDR entity determines this information to be credible and that it relates to the offer for the payment amount for the qualified IDR service that is the subject of the payment determination. Neither party submits any additional information.

(2) Conclusion. In this paragraph (c)(4)(iv)(E) (Example 5), the certified IDR entity must consider the qualifying payment amount, which is based on the downcoded service code. The certified IDR entity then must consider whether to give weight to additional information submitted by the parties. If the certified IDR entity determines that the additional credible information submitted by the provider demonstrates that the nonparticipating provider's offer, which is equal to the qualifying payment amount for the service code that the provider billed, best represents the value of the qualified IDR service, the certified IDR entity should select the nonparticipating provider's offer.

(v) For further guidance see § 54.9816-8T(c)(4)(v) through (c)(4)(vi)(A).

(vi) [Reserved]

(A) [Reserved]

(B) The certified IDR entity's written decision must include an explanation of their determination, including what information the certified IDR entity determined demonstrated that the offer selected as the out-of-network rate is the offer that best represents the value of the qualified IDR item or service, including the weight given to the qualifying payment amount and any additional credible information under paragraphs (c)(4)(iii)(B) through (D) of this section. If the certified IDR entity relies on information described under paragraphs (c)(4)(iii)(B) through (D) of this section in selecting an offer, the written decision must include an explanation of why the certified IDR entity concluded that this information was not already reflected in the qualifying payment amount.

(vii)-(ix) For further guidance see § 54.9816-8T(c)(4)(vii) through (ix).

(d)-(e) For further guidance see § 54.9816-8T(d) through (e).

(f) For further guidance see § 54.9816-8T(f) introductory text through (f)(1)(iv).

(1) [Reserved]

(i)-(iv) [Reserved]

(v) For further guidance see § 54.9816-8T(f)(1)(v) introductory text through (f)(1)(v)(E).

(A)-(E) [Reserved]

(F) The rationale for the certified IDR entity's decision, including the extent to which the decision relied on the criteria in paragraphs (c)(4)(iii)(B) through (D) of this section.

(G)-(I) For further guidance see § 54.9816-8T(f)(1)(v)(G) through (I).

(vi) For further guidance see § 54.9816-8T(f)(1)(vi).

(2) [Reserved]

(g) For further guidance see § 54.9816-8T(g).

(h) Applicability date. The provisions of this section are applicable with respect to plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2022, except that paragraphs (c)(4)(ii) through (iv) of this section regarding payment determinations, paragraph (c)(4)(vi)(B) of this section regarding written decisions, and paragraph (f)(1)(v)(F) of this section regarding reporting of information relating to the Federal IDR process are applicable with respect to items or services provided or furnished on or after October 25, 2022, for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2022.

[T.D. 9965, 87 FR 52645, Aug. 26, 2022]