45 CFR § 149.120 - Preventing surprise medical bills for non-emergency services performed by nonparticipating providers at certain participating facilities.

§ 149.120 Preventing surprise medical bills for non-emergency services performed by nonparticipating providers at certain participating facilities.

(a) In general. If a group health plan, or a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage, provides or covers any benefits with respect to items and services described in paragraph (b) of this section, the plan or issuer must cover the items and services when furnished by a nonparticipating provider in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section.

(b) Items and services described. The items and services described in this paragraph (b) are items and services (other than emergency services) furnished to a participant, beneficiary, or enrollee by a nonparticipating provider with respect to a visit at a participating health care facility, unless the provider has satisfied the notice and consent criteria of § 149.420(c) through (i) with respect to such items and services.

(c) Coverage requirements. In the case of items and services described in paragraph (b) of this section, the plan or issuer -

(1) Must not impose a cost-sharing requirement for the items and services that is greater than the cost-sharing requirement that would apply if the items or services had been furnished by a participating provider.

(2) Must calculate the cost-sharing requirements as if the total amount that would have been charged for the items and services by such participating provider were equal to the recognized amount for the items and services.

(3) Not later than 30 calendar days after the bill for the items or services is transmitted by the provider (or in cases where the recognized amount is determined by a specified State law or All-Payer Model Agreement, such other timeframe as specified under the State law or All-Payer Model Agreement), must determine whether the items and services are covered under the plan or coverage and, if the items and services are covered, send to the provider an initial payment or a notice of denial of payment. For purposes of this paragraph (c)(3), the 30-calendar-day period begins on the date the plan or issuer receives the information necessary to decide a claim for payment for the items or services.

(4) Must pay a total plan or coverage payment directly to the nonparticipating provider that is equal to the amount by which the out-of-network rate for the items and services involved exceeds the cost-sharing amount for the items and services (as determined in accordance with paragraphs (c)(1) and (2) of this section), less any initial payment amount made under paragraph (c)(3) of this section. The total plan or coverage payment must be made in accordance with the timing requirement described in section 2799A-1(c)(6) of the PHS Act, or in cases where the out-of-network rate is determined under a specified State law or All-Payer Model Agreement, such other timeframe as specified by the State law or All-Payer Model Agreement.

(5) Must count any cost-sharing payments made by the participant, beneficiary, or enrollee toward any in-network deductible and in-network out-of-pocket maximums (including the annual limitation on cost sharing under section 2707(b) of the PHS Act) (as applicable) applied under the plan or coverage (and the in-network deductible and out-of-pocket maximums must be applied) in the same manner as if such cost-sharing payments were made with respect to items and services furnished by a participating provider.

(d) Applicability date. The provisions of this section are applicable with respect to plan years (in the individual market, policy years) beginning on or after January 1, 2022.

The following state regulations pages link to this page.