58-3-200. Miscellaneous insurance and managed care coverage and network provisions.

(a) Definitions. - As used in this section:

(1) "Health benefit plan" means any of the following if written by an insurer: an accident and health insurance policy or certificate; a nonprofit hospital or medical service corporation contract; a health maintenance organization subscriber contract; or a plan provided by a multiple employer welfare arrangement. "Health benefit plan" does not mean any plan implemented or administered through the Department of Health and Human Services or its representatives. "Health benefit plan" also does not mean any of the following kinds of insurance:

a. Accident.

b. Credit.

c. Disability income.

d. Long-term or nursing home care.

e. Medicare supplement.

f. Specified disease.

g. Dental or vision.

h. Coverage issued as a supplement to liability insurance.

i. Workers' compensation.

j. Medical payments under automobile or homeowners insurance.

k. Hospital income or indemnity.

l. Insurance under which benefits are payable with or without regard to fault and that is statutorily required to be contained in any liability policy or equivalent self-insurance.

(2) "Insurer" means an entity that writes a health benefit plan and that is an insurance company subject to this Chapter, a service corporation under Article 65 of this Chapter, a health maintenance organization under Article 67 of this Chapter, or a multiple employer welfare arrangement under Article 50A of this Chapter.

(b) Medical Necessity. - An insurer that limits its health benefit plan coverage to medically necessary services and supplies shall define "medically necessary services or supplies" in its health benefit plan as those covered services or supplies that are:

(1) Provided for the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or relief of a health condition, illness, injury, or disease; and, except as allowed under G.S. 58-3-255, not for experimental, investigational, or cosmetic purposes.

(2) Necessary for and appropriate to the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or relief of a health condition, illness, injury, disease, or its symptoms.

(3) Within generally accepted standards of medical care in the community.

(4) Not solely for the convenience of the insured, the insured's family, or the provider.

For medically necessary services, nothing in this subsection precludes an insurer from comparing the cost-effectiveness of alternative services or supplies when determining which of the services or supplies will be covered.

(c) Coverage Determinations. - If an insurer or its authorized representative determines that services, supplies, or other items are covered under its health benefit plan or dental plan, including any determination under G.S. 58-50-61, the insurer shall not subsequently retract its determination after the services, supplies, or other items have been provided, or reduce payments for a service, supply, or other item furnished in reliance on such a determination, unless the determination was based on a material misrepresentation about the insured's health condition that was knowingly made by the insured or the provider of the service, supply, or other item. For purposes of this subsection, a pretreatment estimate means a voluntary request for a projection of dental benefits or payment that does not require authorization and a pretreatment estimate for dental services shall not be considered a coverage determination.

(d) Services Outside Provider Networks. - No insurer shall penalize an insured or subject an insured to the out-of-network benefit levels offered under the insured's approved health benefit plan, including an insured receiving an extended or standing referral under G.S. 58-3-223, unless contracting health care providers able to meet health needs of the insured are reasonably available to the insured without unreasonable delay.

(e) Nondiscrimination Against High-Risk Populations. - No insurer shall establish provider selection or contract renewal standards or procedures that are designed to avoid or otherwise have the effect of avoiding enrolling high-risk populations by excluding providers because they are located in geographic areas that contain high-risk populations or because they treat or specialize in treating populations that present a risk of higher-than-average claims or health care services utilization. This subsection does not prohibit an insurer from declining to select a provider or from not renewing a contract with a provider who fails to meet the insurer's selection criteria.

(f) Continuing Care Retirement Community Residents. - As used in this subsection, "Medicare benefits" means medical and health products, benefits, and services used in accordance with Title XVIII of the Social Security Act. If an insured with coverage for Medicare benefits or similar benefits under a plan for retired federal government employees is a resident of a continuing care retirement community regulated under Article 64 of this Chapter, and the insured's primary care physician determines that it is medically necessary for the insured to be referred to a skilled nursing facility upon discharge from an acute care facility, the insurer shall not require that the insured relocate to a skilled nursing facility outside the continuing care retirement community if the continuing care retirement community:

(1) Is a Medicare-certified skilled nursing facility.

(2) Agrees to be reimbursed at the insurer's contract rate negotiated with similar providers for the same services and supplies.

(3) Agrees not to bill the insured for fees over and above the insurer's contract rate.

(4) Meets all guidelines established by the insurer related to quality of care, including:

a. Quality assurance programs that promote continuous quality improvement.

b. Standards for performance measurement for measuring and reporting the quality of health care services provided to insureds.

c. Utilization review, including compliance with utilization management procedures.

d. Confidentiality of medical information.

e. Insured grievances and appeals from adverse treatment decisions.

f. Nondiscrimination.

(5) Agrees to comply with the insurer's procedures for referral authorization, risk assumption, use of insurer services, and other criteria applicable to providers under contract for the same services and supplies.

A continuing care retirement community that satisfies subdivisions (1) through (5) of this subsection shall not be obligated to accept, as a skilled nursing facility, any patient other than a resident of the continuing care retirement community, and neither the insurer nor the retirement community shall be allowed to list or otherwise advertise the skilled nursing facility as a participating network provider for Medicare benefits for anyone other than residents of the continuing care retirement community. (1997-443, s. 11A.122; 1997-519, s. 2.1; 2001-446, ss. 5(b), 1.2A; 2019-26, s. 3; 2019-202, s. 8.)