(a) This section establishes authorized
coordination of benefits provisions for group and blanket disability insurance
policies pursuant to s.
Stats. It has been found that these clauses are necessary to provide certainty
of meaning. Regulation of contract forms will be more effective, and litigation
will be substantially reduced if there is uniformity regarding coordination of
benefits provisions in health insurance policies.
(b) A Coordination of benefits (COB)
provision as defined in sub. (3) (e) avoids claim payment delays be
establishing an order in which Plans pay their claims and by providing the
authority for the orderly transfer of information needed to pay claims
promptly. It avoids duplication of benefits by permitting a reduction of the
benefits of a Plan when, by the rules established by this section, a Plan does
not have to pay its benefits first.
(c) Coordinating health benefits has been
found to be an effective tool in containing health care costs. However, minimum
standards of protection and uniformity are needed to protect the insured's and
the public's interest.
(2)SCOPE. This section applies to all group
and blanket disability insurance policies subject to s.
Stats., that provide 24-hour continuous coverage for medical or dental care,
treatment or expenses due to either injury or sickness that contain a
coordination of benefits provision, an "excess," "anti-duplication,"
"non-profit" or "other insurance" exclusion by whatever name designated under
which benefits are reduced because of other insurance, other than an exclusion
for expenses covered by worker's compensation, employer's liability insurance,
or individual traditional automobile "fault" contracts. Except as permitted
under s. , Stats., this section applies to the medical benefits provisions in
an automobile "no fault" type or group or group-type "fault" policy. A policy
subject to this section may reduce benefits because of Medicare only to the
extent permitted by federal law and shall comply with s.
Stats., when reducing benefits because of coverage by or eligibility for
In this section:
(a) "Allowable expense"
means the necessary, reasonable, and customary item of expense for health care,
when the item of expense is covered at least in part by one or more Plans
covering the person for whom the claim is made, except as provided in sub.
"Claim" means a request
that benefits of a Plan be provided or paid. The benefits claimed may be in the
form of any of the following:
2. Payment for
all or a portion of the expenses incurred.
3. A combination of subds. 1. and
(c) "Claim determination period"
means the period of time over which allowable expenses are compared with total
benefits payable in the absence of COB to determine whether overinsurance
exists and how much each Plan will pay or provide. However, it does not include
any part of a year before the date this COB provision or a similar provision
(d) "Complying Plan"
means a Plan with order of benefit determination rules which comply with this
(e) A "Coordination of
benefits (COB) provision" means an insurance contract provision intended to
avoid claims payment delays and duplication of benefits when a person is
covered by 2 or more plans providing benefits or services for medical, dental
or other care or treatment.
"Group-type contracts" means contracts which are not available to the general
public and may be obtained and maintained only because of membership in or
connection with a particular organization or group. Group-type contracts
answering this description may be included in the definition of Plan at the
option of the insurer issuing group-type plans or the service provider and its
contract-client, whether or not uninsured arrangements or individual contract
forms are used and regardless of how the group-type coverage is designated (for
example, "franchise" or "blanket"). The use of payroll deductions by the
employee, subscriber or member to pay for the coverage is not sufficient, of
itself, to make an individual contract part of a group-type plan. Group-type
contracts do not include individually underwritten and issued, guaranteed
renewable policies that may be purchased through payroll deduction at a premium
savings to the insured.
"Hospital indemnity benefits" means benefits for hospital confinement which are
not related to expenses incurred but does not include plans that reimburse a
person for actual hospital expenses incurred even if the plans are designed or
administered to give the insured the right to elect indemnity-type benefits at
the time of claim.
"Noncomplying Plan" means a Plan that declares its benefits to be "excess" or
"always secondary" or that uses order of benefit determination rules
inconsistent with those contained in this section.
(i) "Plan" means a form of coverage providing
benefits for medical or dental care, except as limited under sub. (6), with
which coordination is allowed.
"Primary Plan" means a health care plan, determined by the order of benefit
determination rules, whose benefits shall be determined before those of the
other Plan and without taking the existence of any other Plan into
(k) "Secondary Plan"
means a plan which is not a Primary Plan according to the order of benefit
determination rules and whose benefits are determined after those of another
Plan and may be reduced because of the other plan's benefits.
(L) "This Plan" means the part of the group
contract that provides the health care benefits to which the COB provision
applies and which may be reduced because of the benefits of other Plans. Any
other part of the group contract providing health care benefits is separate
from This Plan.
ALLOWABLE EXPENSE USES AND LIMITATIONS.
(a) Items of expense under dental care,
vision care, prescription drug or hearing aid programs may be excluded from the
definition of allowable expense. A Plan which provides benefits only for these
items may limit its definition of allowable expense to these items of
(b) When a Plan provides
benefits in the form of services, the reasonable cash value of each service
rendered shall be considered as both an allowable expense and a benefit
(c) The difference between
the cost of a private hospital room and the cost of a semi-private hospital
room is not considered an allowable expense under the above definition unless
the patient's stay in a private hospital room is medically necessary in terms
of generally accepted medical practice or as specifically defined in the
(d) When COB is restricted in
its use to a specific coverage in a contract, for example, major medical or
dental, the definition of allowable expense shall include the corresponding
expenses or services to which COB applies.
CLAIM DETERMINATION PERIOD USES AND
(a) A claim determination period
may not be less than 12 months and usually is a calendar year, but a Plan may
use some other period of time that fits the coverage of the group contract. A
person may be covered by a Plan during a portion of a claim determination
period if that person's coverage starts or ends during that claim determination
(b) As each claim is
submitted, each Plan shall determine its liability and pay or provide benefits
based upon allowable expenses incurred to that point in the claim determination
period. However, that determination is subject to adjustment as later allowable
expenses are incurred in the same claim determination period.
PLAN USES, LIMITATIONS AND
(a) The definition of Plan in the
group contract shall state the types of coverage which shall be considered in
applying the COB provision of that contract. The right to include a type of
coverage is limited by the rest of this subsection.
(b) The definition of Plan shown in the model
COB provision in APPENDIX A is an example of what may be used. Any definition
that satisfies sub. (3) (i) and this subsection may be used.
(c) Notwithstanding the fact that this
section uses the term "Plan," a group contract may instead use "Program" or
some other term.
(d) "Plan" shall
not include individual or family insurance or subscriber contracts or
individual or family coverage through health maintenance organizations (HMOs),
limited service health organizations (LSHOs), or any other prepayment, group
practice or individual practice plan except as provided in pars. (e) and
(e) "Plan" may include: group
insurance and group subscriber contracts; uninsured arrangements of group or
group-type coverage; group or group-type coverage through HMOs, LSHOs and other
prepayment, group practice and individual practice plans; and group-type
(f) "Plan" may include
the medical benefits coverage in group, group-type, and individual automobile
"no-fault" contracts; but, as to the traditional automobile "fault" contracts,
only the medical benefits written on a group or group-type basis may be
(g) If "Plan" includes
Medicare or other governmental benefits, that part of the definition of "Plan"
may be limited to the hospital, medical and surgical benefits of the
governmental program. However, "Plan" shall not include a state plan under
Medicaid (Title XIX, Grants to State for Medical Assistance Programs, of the
United States Social Security Act as amended from time to time) and shall not
include a law or plan whose benefits, by law, are excess to those of any
private insurance plan or other non-government plan.
(h) "Plan" shall not include group or
group-type hospital indemnity benefits of $100 per day or less but may include
the amount by which group or group-type hospital indemnity benefits exceed $100
(i) "Plan" shall not
include school accident-type coverages that cover grammar, high school, and
college students for accidents only, including athletic injuries, either on a
24-hour basis or on a "to and from school" basis.
(j) Each contract or other arrangement for
coverage is a separate Plan. If an arrangement has 2 parts and COB rules apply
only to one of the 2, each of the parts is a separate Plan.
PRIMARY PLAN AND SECONDARY PLAN
USES AND LIMITATIONS.
(a) The order of benefit
determination rules state whether This Plan is a Primary Plan or Secondary Plan
as to another plan covering the person.
There may be more than one Primary Plan.
A Plan is a Primary Plan if either subd. 1. or 2. is true:
1. The Plan either has no order of benefit
determination rules, or it has rules that differ from sub. (11).
2. All plans that cover the person are
complying plans and, under sub. (11), the Plan determines its benefits
(c) When there
are more than 2 plans covering the person, This Plan may be a Primary Plan as
to one or more other Plans and may be a Secondary Plan as to a different Plan
(d) If a person is
covered by more than one Secondary Plan, the order of benefit determination
rules of this section decide the order in which the benefits are determined in
relation to each other. The benefits of each Secondary Plan may take into
consideration the benefits of the Primary Plan or Plans and the benefits of any
other Plan which, under the rules of this section, has its benefits determined
before those of that Secondary Plan.
(a) This coordination of benefits (COB)
provision applies to This Plan when an employee or the employee's covered
dependent has health care coverage under more than one Plan.
(b) If this COB provision applies, the order
of benefit determination rules shall be looked at first. Those rules determine
whether the benefits of This Plan are determined before or after those of
(c) The benefits of
This Plan shall not be reduced when, under the order of benefit determination
rules, This Plan is primary and determines its benefits before another
(d) The benefits of This Plan
may be reduced when, under the order of benefit determination rules, another
Plan determines its benefits first.
FLEXIBILITY AND CONSISTENCY WITH THIS
(a) APPENDIX A shall be considered
authorized clauses pursuant to s.
Stats., for use in policy forms subject to this section and shall only be
changed as provided in this section.
(b) This section permits but does not require
the use of COB or "other insurance" provisions. However, if such provisions are
used, they must conform with this section and substantially conform to the
clauses contained in APPENDIX A. Liberalization of the prescribed language in
APPENDIX A, including rearrangement of the order of the clauses, is permitted
provided that the modified language is not less favorable to the insured
(c) Policy language which
reduces benefits because of other insurance and which is inconsistent with this
section violates the criteria of s.
Stats., and shall not be used.
A Plan that includes a COB provision inconsistent with this section shall not
take the benefits of another Plan into account when it determines its benefits.
There is one exception: a contract holder's coverage that is designed to
supplement a part of a basic package of benefits may provide that the
supplementary coverage shall be excess to any other parts of the Plan provided
by the contract holder.
(e) A group
contract's COB provision does not have to use the words and format contained in
APPENDIX A. Changes may be made to fit the language and style of the rest of
the group contract or to reflect the differences among Plans which provide
services, which pay benefits for expenses incurred, and which indemnify.
Substantive changes are allowed only as set forth in this section.
(f) A term such as "usual and customary,"
"usual and prevailing," or "reasonable and customary" may be substituted for
the term "necessary, reasonable and customary." Terms such as "medical care" or
"dental care" may be substituted for "health care" to describe the coverages to
which the COB provisions apply.
A group contract may apply one COB provision to certain of its benefits (such
as dental benefits), coordinating only with like benefits, and may apply other
separate COB provisions to coordinate other benefits.
PROHIBITED COORDINATION AND BENEFIT
A group contract shall not reduce
benefits on the basis that:
1. Another Plan
2. Except with respect to
Part B of Medicare, that a person is or could have been covered under another
3. A person has elected an
option under another Plan providing a lower level of benefits than another
option which could have been elected.
(b) No contract shall contain a provision
that its benefits are "excess" or "always secondary" to any Plan defined in
sub. (3) (i), except as permitted under this section.
ORDER OF BENEFIT DETERMINATION RULES.
Primary Plan shall pay or provide its benefits as if the Secondary Plan or
Plans did not exist.
2. A Secondary
Plan may take the benefits of another Plan into account only when, under the
rules in par. (b), it is secondary to that other Plan.
When there is a basis for a claim under
This Plan and another Plan, This Plan determines its order of benefits using
the first of the following rules which applies:
1. `No rule in another plan.' If the other
Plan does not have rules coordinating its benefits with those of This Plan, the
benefits of the other Plan are determined first.
2. `Non-dependent or dependent.' The benefits
of the Plan that covers the person as an employee, member or subscriber are
determined before those of the Plan that covers the person as a dependent of an
employee, member or subscriber.
`Dependent child-parents not separated or divorced.' Except as stated in subd.
3. c., when This Plan and another Plan cover the same child as a dependent of
different persons, called "parents:"
benefits of the Plan of the parent whose birthday falls earlier in a year are
determined before those of the Plan of the parent whose birthday falls later in
that year; but
b. If both parents
have the same birthday, the benefits of the Plan which covered the parent
longer are determined before those of the Plan which covered the other parent
for a shorter period of time.
However, if the other Plan does not have the rule described in subd. 3. a., but
instead has a rule based upon the gender of the parent, and if, as a result,
the Plans do not agree on the order of benefits, the rule in the other Plan
shall determine the order of benefits.
d. In this subdivision, the word "birthday"
refers only to month and day in a calendar year, not the year in which the
person was born.
`Dependent child-separated or divorced parents.' If 2 or more Plans cover a
person as a dependent child of divorced or separated parents, benefits for the
child are determined in this order:
the Plan of the parent with custody of the child;
b. Then, the plan of the spouse of the parent
with custody of the child; and
Finally, the Plan of the parent not having custody of the child.
d. However, if the specific terms of a court
decree state that one of the parents is responsible for the health care
expenses of the child and the entity obligated to pay or provide the benefits
of the Plan of that parent has actual knowledge of those terms, the benefits of
the Plan of the responsible parent are determined first. This subparagraph does
not apply with respect to any Claim Determination Period or plan year during
which any benefits are actually paid or provided before the entity has that
e. If the
specific terms of a court decree state that the parents have joint custody of
the child and do not specify that one parent has responsibility for the child's
health care expenses or if the court decree states that both parents shall be
responsible for the health care needs of the child but gives physical custody
of the child to one parent, and the entities obligated to pay or provide the
benefits of the respective parents' Plans have actual knowledge of those terms,
benefits for the dependent child shall be determined according to subd.
5. `Active or
inactive employee.' The benefits of a Plan which covers a person as an employee
who is neither laid off or retired, or as that employee's dependent, are
determined before those of a Plan which covers that person as a laid off or
retired employee, or as that employee's dependent. If the other Plan does not
have this rule and if, as a result, the Plans do not agree on the order of
benefits, this rule is ignored.
`Continuation coverage.' If a person has continuation coverage under federal
law or s.
, Stats., and is also covered under
another Plan, the following shall determine the order of benefits:
a. First, the benefits of a Plan covering the
person as an employee, member or subscriber or as a dependent of an employee,
member or subscriber.
the benefits under the continuation coverage.
5s. If the other Plan does not have the rule
described in subd. 5m. and if, as a result, the Plans do not agree on the order
of benefits, this subdivision is ignored.
6. `Longer or shorter length of coverage.' If
none of the above rules determines the order of benefits, the benefits of the
Plan which covered an employee, member or subscriber longer are determined
before those of the Plan which covered that person for the shorter
To determine the length
of time a person has been covered under a Plan, 2 Plans shall be treated as one
if the claimant was eligible under the second within 24 hours after the first
ended. Thus, the start of a new Plan does not include:
a. A change in the amount or scope of a
b. A change in the
entity which pays, provides or administers the Plan's benefits; or
c. A change from one type of Plan to another,
such as, from a single employer plan to that of a multiple employer
6s. The claimant's
length of time covered under a Plan is measured from the claimant's first date
of coverage under that Plan. If that date is not readily available, the date
the claimant first became a member of the group shall be used as the date from
which to determine the length of time the claimant's coverage under the present
Plan has been in force.
(c) If a dependent is a Medicare beneficiary
and if, under the Social Security Act of 1965 as amended, Medicare is secondary
to the Plan covering the person as a dependent of an active employee, the
federal Medicare regulations shall supersede this subsection.
PAYMENT AS A SECONDARY PLAN.
(a) In accordance with order of benefit
determination rules under sub. (11), when This Plan is a secondary Plan as to
one or more other Plans, the benefits of This Plan may be reduced as provided
in par. (b). The other Plan or Plans are referred to as "the other Plans" in
The benefits of This Plan shall be reduced
when the sum of the following exceeds the allowable expenses in a claim
a. The benefits that
would be payable for the allowable expenses under This Plan in the absence of
this COB provision, and
benefits that would be payable for the allowable expenses under the other
Plans, in the absence of provisions with a purpose like that of this COB
provision, whether or not claim is made.
2. If subd. 1. applies, the benefits of This
Plan will be reduced so that they and the benefits payable under the other
Plans do not equal more than the total allowable expenses. When the benefits of
This Plan are reduced as described, each benefit is reduced in proportion and
is then charged against any applicable benefit limit of This Plan.
(c) If the benefits of This Plan
are reduced under par. (b), a Secondary Plan may reduce its benefits so that
the total benefits paid or provided by all Plans during a claim determination
period are not more than the total allowable expenses. The amount by which the
Secondary Plan's benefits are reduced shall be used by the Secondary Plan to
pay allowable expenses not otherwise paid, which were incurred during the claim
determination period by the person for whom the claim is made. As each claim is
submitted, the Secondary Plan determines its obligation to pay for allowable
expenses based on all claims which were submitted up to that point in time
during the claim determination period.
(14)RIGHT TO RECEIVE AND RELEASE NEEDED
INFORMATION. An insurer has the right to decide the facts it needs to apply the
COB rules. It may get needed facts from or give them to any other organization
or person without the consent of the insured but only as needed to apply the
provisions of this section. This subsection does not relieve the insurer of the
requirements of s.
Stats. Each person claiming benefits under This Plan shall give the insurer any
facts it needs to pay the claim.
(15)FACILITY OF PAYMENT. A payment made under
another Plan may include an amount which should have been paid under This Plan.
If it does, the insurer responsible for payment may pay that amount to the
organization which made that payment. That amount will then be treated as
though it were a benefit paid under This Plan. The insurer will not have to pay
that amount again. The term "payment made" includes providing benefits in the
form of services, in which case "payment made" means reasonable cash value of
the benefits provided in the form of services.
RIGHT OF RECOVERY. If the amount of the
payments made by the insurer responsible for payment, including the reasonable
cash value of any benefits provided in the form of services, is more than it
should have paid under a COB provision, it may recover the excess from one or
(a) The persons it has paid or for
whom it has paid;
(17)REASONABLE CASH VALUE OF SERVICES. A
Secondary Plan which provides benefits in the form of services may recover the
reasonable cash value of providing the services from the Primary Plan, to the
extent that benefits for the services are covered by the Primary Plan and have
not already been paid or provided by the Primary Plan. Nothing in this
provision shall be interpreted to require a Plan to reimburse a covered person
in cash for the value of services provided by a Plan which provides benefits in
the form of services.
COORDINATION WITH NONCOMPLYING PLANS.
Except for expenses covered by worker's compensation, employer's liability
insurance, Medicare, medical assistance, or traditional automobile "fault"
contracts, a Complying Plan may coordinate its benefits with a Noncomplying
Plan that may not be subject to insurance regulation on the following basis:
(a) If the Complying Plan is the Primary
Plan, it shall pay or provide its benefits on a primary basis.
(b) If the Complying Plan is the Secondary
Plan, it shall pay or provide its benefits first, but the amount of the
benefits payable shall be determined as if the Complying Plan were the
Secondary Plan. In such a situation, the payment shall be the limit of the
Complying Plan's liability.
the Noncomplying Plan does not provide the information needed by the Complying
Plan to determine its benefits within a reasonable time after it is requested
to do so, the Complying Plan shall assume that the benefits of the Noncomplying
Plan are identical to its own and shall pay its benefits accordingly. However,
the Complying Plan shall adjust any payments it makes based on such assumption
whenever information becomes available as to the actual benefits of the
Complying Plan shall advance to or on behalf of the employee, subscriber, or
member an amount equal to the difference if the Noncomplying Plan reduces its
benefits so that the employee, subscriber, or member receives less in benefits
than he or she would have received had the Complying Plan paid or provided its
benefits as the Secondary Plan and the Noncomplying Plan paid or provided its
benefits as the Primary Plan.
In no event shall the Complying Plan advance more than the Complying Plan would
have paid had it been the Primary Plan less any amount it previously paid. In
consideration of such advance, the Complying Plan shall be subrogated to all
rights of the employee, subscriber, or member against the Noncomplying Plan.
Such advance by the Complying Plan shall also be without prejudice to any claim
it may have against the Noncomplying Plan in the absence of such subrogation.
Note: In sub. (18) if the Noncomplying Plan is
unwilling to provide the Complying Plan with the necessary information, the
Complying Plan should assume the primary position in order to avoid undue claim
delays and hardship to the insured. The Complying Plan may, through its
subrogation rights, seek reimbursement for such payments. Undue delay in paying
the claim may subject the Complying Plan to a violation of s.
(19)SUBROGATION. The COB concept differs from
that of subrogation. Provision for one may be included in health care benefits
contracts without compelling the inclusion or exclusion of the other.
Wis. Admin. Code Office of the Commissioner of Insurance § Ins 3.40
Ins 3.40 History History:
Cr. Register, July, 1980, No. 295, eff. 9-1-80; am. (2), Register, January,
1981, No. 301, eff. 2-1-81; r. and recr. (7) (d) and (e), r. (19) under s.
13.93(2m) (b) 16., Stats., renum. (8) to (18) to be (9) to (19), am. (20),
Register, July, 1985, No. 355, eff. 8-1-85; r. and recr. Register, December
1986, No. 372, eff. 1-1-87; am. (2), (6) (d) and (f), (18) (b) (intro.) and
Appendix A, cr. (11) (b) 4. e., Register, August, 1989, No. 404, eff. 9-1-89;
am. (2), (3) (b), (c) and (k), (6) (b) and (c), (7) (b), (11) (b) 2., (12) (a)
and (b), (14) and Appendix A, r. (12) (b) (intro.), (c) and (d), (13) (b) to
(f), (18) (a) and (20), cr. (11) (b) 5m., and (c), renum. (13) (a) and (18) (b)
to be (12) (c) and (18) and am. (12) (c) and (18) (intro.), Register, October,
1991, No. 430, eff. 1-1-92; correction in (11) made under s. 13.93(2m) (b) 1,
Stats., Register, April, 1992, No. 436; reprinted to correct error in (3) (c),
Register, September, 1992, No. 441; correction in (2) made under s.
(b) 7, Stats., Register May 2010 No. 653;
correction in (2) made under s.
(b) 7, Stats., Register May 2014 No.