Citi Benefits Handbook
Medical Care Claims
There are four categories of claims for medical benefits, each with somewhat different claims and appeals rules. The primary difference is the time frame within which claims and appeals must be determined.
1. Preservice claim: A claim is a preservice claim if the receipt of the benefit is conditioned, in whole or in part, on receiving approval in advance of obtaining the medical care, unless the claim involves urgent care, as defined below. Benefits under any Plan that require approval in advance are specifically noted as being subject to preservice authorization (also called prior authorization).
2. Urgent care claim: A claim involving urgent care is any preservice claim for medical care or treatment to which the application of the time periods that otherwise apply to preservice claim could seriously jeopardize the claimant's life or health or ability to regain maximum function or would — in the opinion of a physician with knowledge of the claimant's medical condition — subject the claimant to severe pain that could not be adequately managed without the care or treatment that is the subject of the claim.
On receipt of a preservice request, the Claims Administrator will determine whether it involves urgent care, provided that, if a physician with knowledge of the claimant's medical condition determines that a claim involves urgent care, the claim review shall be treated as an urgent care claim.
3. Post-service claim: A post-service claim is any claim for a benefit under this Plan that is not a preservice claim or an urgent care claim.
4. Concurrent care claim: A concurrent care decision occurs when the Claims Administrator approves an ongoing course of treatment to be provided over a period of time or for a specified number of treatments. There are two types of concurrent care claims:
(a) Where reconsideration of the approval results in a reduction or termination of the initially approved period of time or number of treatments; and
(b) Where an extension is requested beyond the initially approved period of time or number of treatments.
Deciding Initial Medical Benefits Claims
A post-service claim must be filed within two years following receipt of the medical service, treatment or product to which the claim relates unless (a) it was not reasonably possible to file the claim within such time and (b) the claim is filed as soon as possible and in no event (except in the case of legal incapacity of the claimant) later than two years after the date of receipt of the service, treatment or product to which the claim relates.
These claims procedures do not apply to any request for benefits that is not made in accordance with these procedures or other procedures prescribed by the Claims Administrator except that (a) in the case of an incorrectly filed preservice claim, the claimant shall be notified as soon as possible but no later than five days following the receipt of the incorrectly filed claim, and (b) in the case of an incorrectly filed urgent care claim, you will be notified as soon as possible but no later than 24 hours following receipt of the incorrectly filed claim.
The Claims Administrator will decide an initial preservice claim within a reasonable time appropriate to the medical circumstances but no later than 15 days after receipt of the claim.
The Claims Administrator will decide an initial urgent care claim as soon as possible, taking into account the medical urgencies, but no later than 72 hours after receipt of the claim.
However, if a claim is a request to extend a concurrent care decision (defined above) involving urgent care and if the claim is made at least 24 hours prior to the end of the initially approved period of time or number of treatments, the claim will be decided within no more than 24 hours after the receipt of the claim. Any other request to extend a concurrent care decision will be decided in the otherwise applicable time frames for preservice, urgent care or post-service claims.
A decision by the Claims Administrator to reduce or terminate an initially approved course of treatment is an adverse benefit decision that may be appealed by the claimant, as explained below. Notification to the claimant of a decision to reduce or terminate an initially approved course of treatment shall be provided sufficiently in advance of the reduction or termination to allow you to appeal the adverse decision and receive a decision on review under these procedures prior to the reduction or termination.
An initial post-service claim shall be decided within a reasonable time but no later than 30 days after the receipt of the claim.
Despite the specified time frames, nothing prevents you from voluntarily agreeing to extend the above time frames. In addition, if the Claims Administrator is not able to decide a preservice or post-service claim within the above time frames due to matters beyond its control, one 15-day extension of the applicable time frame is permitted, provided that you are notified in writing prior to the expiration of the initial time frame applicable to the claim. The extension notice shall include a description of the matter beyond the Plan's control that justifies the extension and the date by which a decision is expected. No extension is permitted for urgent care claims.
If any information needed to process a claim is missing, the claim shall be treated as an incomplete claim.
If an urgent care claim is incomplete, the Claims Administrator shall notify you as soon as possible but no later than 24 hours following receipt of the incomplete claim. The notification may be made orally, unless you request a written notice, and it shall describe the information necessary to complete the claim and shall specify a reasonable time, no less than 48 hours, within which the claim must be completed. The Claims Administrator shall decide the claim as soon as possible but no later than 48 hours after the earlier of (a) receipt of the specified information or (b) the end of the period of time provided to submit the specified information.
If a preservice or post-service claim is incomplete, the Claims Administrator may deny the claim or may take an extension of time, as described above. If the Claims Administrator takes an extension of time, the extension notice shall include a description of the missing information and shall specify a time frame, no less than 45 days, in which the necessary information must be provided. The time frame for deciding the claim shall be suspended from the date the extension notice is received by the claimant until the date the missing necessary information is provided to the Claims Administrator. If the requested information is provided, the Plan shall decide the claim within the extended period specified in the extension notice. If the requested information is not provided within the time specified, the claim may be decided without that information.
Notification of Initial Benefit Decision by Plan
You will receive written notification of an adverse decision on a claim, and it will include the following:
- The specific reasons for the denial;
- The specific reference to the Plan documentation that supports these reasons;
- The additional information you must provide to perfect your claim and the reasons why that information is necessary;
- The procedure available for a further review of your claim, including a statement regarding your right to bring action under Section 502(a) of ERISA if your claim is denied on review;
- A statement disclosing any internal rule, guidelines, protocol or similar criterion relied on in making the adverse decision (or a statement that such information will be provided free of charge upon request);
- If the decision involves scientific or clinical judgment, either (a) an explanation of the scientific or clinical judgment applying the terms of the Plan to your medical circumstances or (b) a statement that such explanation will be provided at no charge upon request; and
- In the case of an urgent care claim, an explanation of the expedited review methods available for such claims.
Written notification of the decision on a preservice or urgent care claim will be provided to you whether or not the decision is adverse. Notification of an adverse decision on an urgent care claim may be provided orally, but written notification will be furnished no later than three days after the oral notice.
You have the right to appeal an adverse decision under these claims procedures. The appeal of an adverse benefit decision must be filed within 180 days following your receipt of the notification of the adverse benefit decision, except that the appeal of a decision to reduce or terminate an initially approved course of treatment (see the definition of concurrent care decision under "Claims and Appeals") must be filed within 30 days of your receipt of the notification of the decision to reduce or terminate.
Failure to comply with this important deadline may cause you to forfeit any rights to any further review of an adverse decision under these procedures or in a court of law.
The appeal shall be decided within a reasonable time appropriate to the medical circumstances but no later than 30 days after receipt of all required information to conduct the review of the appeal.
The appeal of an urgent care claim shall be decided as soon as possible, taking into account the medical urgency but no later than 72 hours after receipt of the appeal.
The appeal of a post-service claim shall be decided within a reasonable period but no later than 60 days) after receipt of the appeal.
The appeal of a decision to reduce or terminate an initially approved course of treatment (see the definition of concurrent care decision under "Claims and Appeals") shall be decided before the proposed reduction or termination takes place. The appeal of a denied request to extend a concurrent care decision shall be decided in the appeal time frame for a preservice, urgent care or post-service claim as described above, as appropriate to the request.
Notice of Benefit Determination on Appeal
You will receive written or electronic notice of the benefit determination upon review. In the event your claim is denied on appeal, the notice will provide:
- The specific reason or reasons for the denial of the appeal;
- Reference to the specific Plan provisions on which the benefit determination is based;
- A statement that you are entitled to receive, upon request and free of charge, reasonable access to, and copies of, all documents, records and other information relevant to your claim for benefits;
- A statement describing any voluntary appeal procedures offered by the Plan and a statement of your right to bring an action under Section 502(a) of ERISA;
- If an internal rule or guideline was relied on in making the adverse determination, either the specific rule or guideline, or a statement that such a rule or guideline was relied on in making the adverse determination and that a copy of such rule or guideline will be provided free of charge on request; and
- If the adverse determination is based on a medical necessity or experimental treatment or similar exclusion or limit, either an explanation of the scientific or clinical judgment for the determination, applying the terms of the Plan to your medical circumstances, or a statement that such explanation will be provided free of charge upon request.