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Commercial Eligibility, Enrollment, Transfers and Disenrollment, Capitation and/or Delegation - 2019 UnitedHealthcare Administrative Guide

Commercial Eligibility, Enrollment, Transfers, and Disenrollment 

Customers must meet all eligibility requirements established by the employer group and us. We may request evidence to validate eligibility requirements.

To enroll, an applicant must complete a UnitedHealthcare enrollment form or an employer enrollment form approved by us. Some larger member accounts may provide open enrollment through electronic means rather than enrollment forms.

Newly eligible members may present a copy of the enrollment form as proof of eligibility. Make a copy of the enrollment form. If unable to verify member eligibility online or through our voice response systems, follow up with member service the next business day.

The capitated medical group/IPA is responsible for making sure the contracted network of care providers accepts the enrollment form as temporary proof of eligibility.

Each employer group typically has an annual open enrollment period where current employees elect their health insurance choices for the following benefit year. January 1 is a commonly used benefit start date. However, many employers select different dates throughout the year.

Benefit plan codes change throughout the year on your eligibility reports.

Coverage begins at 12:01 a.m. on the effective date.

Members enrolled in some commercial benefit plans, such as HMO or Managed Care Organization (MCO) plans, are required to choose a primary care provider (PCP), as outlined in Chapter 3: Commercial Products: Primary Care Physicians (PCP) Selection.

Coverage of the subscriber’s newborn children begins at birth. The subscriber must submit an enrollment application to the employer group or UnitedHealthcare, as applicable, within 30 calendar days from the date of birth to continue coverage, unless the subscriber’s benefit plan dictates otherwise.

If the mother of the newborn is a dependent of the subscriber, but not the spouse, domestic partner or common law spouse of the subscriber, we will not cover any services provided to the newborn grandchild beginning upon delivery of the newborn unless coverage is specifically stated in the subscriber’s benefit plan.

Medical or facility services for surrogate mothers who are not our members are not covered.

California Commercial: Eligible newborns have coverage for the first 30 days, beginning on their date of birth. If the newborn is not enrolled as a dependent on the subscriber’s plan, the newborn has 30 days eligibility with the subscriber’s medical group/IPA for the 30 day period following birth. However, coordination of benefits may be applied as determined by the birthday rule.

Unless the subscriber’s benefit plan dictates otherwise:

If the mother (subscriber, spouse or domestic partner) is our member, the newborn will remain with the mother’s medical group/IPA until another PCP or medical group/IPA is selected following the 15/30 rules.

When the father is primary for the newborn per the birthday rule, his plan will cover the newborn for the first 30 days, even if the newborn is not enrolled on his plan.

In cases where both the mother’s insurance plan and the father’s insurance plan provide coverage for the newborn, coordination of benefit rules apply once the mother is discharged. When the father is primary for the newborn per the birthday rule, his plan covers the newborn for the first 30 days, even if the newborn is not enrolled on his plan. The medical group/IPA must make sure they handle care coordination appropriately.

If both the mother and father of a dependent newborn are eligible under separate UnitedHealthcare benefit plans, we add the dependent newborn to both plans as determined by the subscribers.

Any subsequent PCP or medical group/IPA transfer of a dependent newborn will follow the 15/30 rules.

Typically, coverage begins on the first day of physical custody if the subscriber submits an enrollment application to the employer group within 30 calendar days of physical custody of the child, unless the subscriber’s benefit plan dictates otherwise.

We may provide coverage for a surrogate when the surrogate is the subscriber or eligible dependent. Please refer to the UnitedHealthcare benefit plan. However, the newborn dependent(s) may not have coverage at birth. Surrogate cases need individual review. We make decisions on a case-by-case basis. We may issue newborn coverage denials to the facility in advance of the newborn’s birth. Please contact your Provider Relations representative if a surrogate case comes to your attention.

California: Under California rescission rules, if UnitedHealthcare or the member’s care provider or medical group/IPA authorizes surrogate newborn care (beyond 30 days from birth), and the facility relies upon such authorization to render treatment, those claims must be paid.

We may seek recovery of our actual costs from a member who is receiving reimbursement for medical expenses for maternity services while acting as a surrogate.

A member may select a new medical group/IPA or PCP by calling Member Service or by accessing myuhc.com.

Members may change their PCP within the same medical group/IPA. The change is effective the first of the following month after the member calls requesting the change, unless the subscriber’s benefit plan dictates otherwise.

If a member requests a transfer out of the member’s medical group/IPA entirely, and the change request is received prior to or on the 15th of the month, we will change the member’s medical group/IPA effective the1st day of the following month. If the request to transfer to another medical group/IPA is received after the 15th of the month, the change is effective the first day of the 2nd month following receipt of the request.

If the member expresses dissatisfaction with the proposed effective date, we, in our discretion, may process the member’s request as a ‘Forward Primary Care Provider Change Request’, (if our contract with requested network care provider allows for a “retroactive” transfer). Per the contract, the network care provider may have the right to refuse to accept the member until the first day of the second month following receipt of request.

Some care provider groups may only accept new members during an open enrollment period. If the member meets all eligibility requirements, the member will become effective the 1st day of the following month, even though the change request was received after the 15th of the month. If the 15th of the month falls on a weekend or holiday, we will allow transfer requests received on the first business day after the 15th to become effective the 1st day of the following month.

Transfers from one participating medical group/IPA to another, or PCP transfers initiated outside of member’s open enrollment period, will not be effective until the 1st day of the 2nd month following the member’s discharge from care, if at the time of the request for transfer or on the effective date of transfer, the member is currently:

  • Receiving inpatient care at an acute care facility;
  • Receiving inpatient care at a skilled nursing facility, at a skilled level;
  • Receiving other acute institutional care;
  • In the 3rd trimester of her pregnancy (defined as when the member reaches the 27th week of pregnancy); or
  • Experiencing a high-risk pregnancy (not applicable to California members).

We do not recommend the member change PCPs while an inpatient in a facility, SNF, or other medical institution, or undergoing radiation therapy or chemotherapy, as a change may negatively affect the coordination of care.

If the member/care provider relationship has been seriously impaired, an involuntary transfer from the Current PCP/Medical Group/IPA to another PCP/Medical Group/IPA is implemented by the following the guidelines:

First Occurrence

At the first occurrence, you should send the member a certified/return receipt-warning letter advising him/her of the issue and potential consequences of dismissal. Document the specific information including the care provider’s name, date of occurrence, and issue. The letter must tell the member that PCP/medical group/IPA is notifying us regarding the matter and offer the member the right to respond to the allegations. PCP/Medical group/IPA must maintain full documentation. Send a copy of the letter directly to your provider advocate.

Second Occurrence

Send the member a second certified/return-receipt warning letter advising them of the continued issue and potential consequences of dismissal. Your documentation should include the additional issues, care provider’s name and date of occurrence. The letter to the member must state the PCP/medical group/IPA’s recommendation for cooperation, indicate that the PCP/medical group/IPA will be requesting our intervention in initiating a medical group transfer and offer the member the right to grieve the allegations. Send a copy of the letter and full documentation directly to your provider advocate.

Third Occurrence

On the third occurrence, immediately notify your provider advocate with a request to remove the member from the PCP/medical group/IPA. Be sure to include all prior documentation. We will review the PCP/medical group/IPA documentation outlining the continued issues. Based on the documentation, we may reassign the member to a new PCP/medical group/IPA. If so, we will contact the member and arrange for a PCP/medical group/IPA transfer or disenrollment from the plan.

Note: If you receive notification of a member’s intent to sue, please notify your provider advocate.

Members may retroactively change their medical group/ IPA or PCP within the same month if the member calls to request a change within 30 calendar days:

  • Of their effective date and has not received services with the originally assigned care provider; or
  • Due to a household move over 30 miles, and the member has not received services with the originally assigned care provider.

If the member received services during the current month from you, other than the month requested, a current month change is not permitted.

If the member’s medical group/IPA, PCP, or facility, is terminated, we will give prior written notice to members as applicable or when required by state or federal law. In such event, the member may qualify for continuation of care as outlined in the Continuity of Care section of this supplement.

For individual physician terminations, the medical group/IPA is responsible for providing the notice in the following circumstances:

  • PCP terminations in medical group/IPAs where medical group/IPA assigns members to the PCPs; and
  • All specialist terminations.

Each commercial member has at least 30 calendar days (exception: 60 calendar days in California) to select another medical group, IPA, PCP or facility.

Each Medicare member has at least 14 calendar days (exception: 60 calendar days in California) to select another medical group/IPA, PCP, or facility within the member’s current medical group/IPA. The member will receive a new health care ID card prior to the first of the month in which the transfer is effective.

When a member is in need of care and it is determined the member’s PCP has terminated without proper notice, we will transfer the member to another PCP, within the same medical group/IPA with an effective date retroactive to the first of the current month.

The medical group/IPA agrees we have the right to move a medically stable member to another medical group/IPA or care provider, if due to a strained relationship between the medical group/IPA and member.

For information on PCPs removing Medicare Advantage members from rosters, refer to the section Member Dismissals Initiated by a PCP (Medicare Advantage) in Chapter 2: Provider Responsibilities and Standards.

For commercial members, the medical group/IPA may regard certain actions as incompatible with the continuance of the care provider-member relationship and as obstructing the provision of proper medical care. For example, if the member refuses to accept the recommended treatment, counsel or procedures, and the medical group/IPA believes no professionally acceptable alternatives exist, other than dismissal from their panel.

The medical group/IPA may request a member change medical groups/IPAs if the care provider-member relationship is damaged by the member’s refusal to accept recommended treatment, counsel or procedure. We evaluate requests based on the interest of the member and accessibility of another medical group/IPA. If we approve the request for transfer, we request the member selects another medical group/IPA within 30 calendar days.

If the member fails to select another medical group/IPA, we designate another medical group/IPA on their behalf.

If no professionally acceptable alternatives exist, neither UnitedHealthcare nor the medical group/IPA shall be responsible to provide or arrange for the medical care or pay for the condition under treatment.

Potential areas of concern for requesting removal of a commercial member from the medical group/IPA include:

  • Repeated disruptive behavior or dangerous behavior exhibited in the course of seeking/receiving care;
  • Failure to pay required copayments (minimum dollar amount of $200 outstanding); or
  • Fraudulently applying for any UnitedHealthcare benefits.

After we receive of a completed “Incident Report for Removal of Members” and related documentation, we will respond to the member and copy the PCP or medical group/IPA on all correspondence.

If you receive notification of a member’s intent to sue, please tell your provider advocate.

Send copies of all notification letters, request for removal and supporting documentation to your provider advocate.

Level I

Criteria

Demanding a payment from medical group/IPA for non-authorized services;

Minor disruptive behavior*

Failure to pay required copayments**

Three or more missed appointments, within six consecutive-months without 24-hour prior notice.

1st Occurrence:

Medical group/IPA must counsel with and write to member in certified letter expressing such behavior is unacceptable;

Discussions need documentation. Send copies to UnitedHealthcare, which will send warning letter outlining behavior and possible consequences.

2nd Occurrence:

Medical group/IPA must counsel with and send second letter to member expressing concern regarding their unacceptable behavior;

Send copies to UnitedHealthcare, which will send warning letter outlining continued behavior and possible consequences.

3rd Occurrence:

Send UnitedHealthcare a request to immediately remove a subscriber/member from the medical group/IPA. We will review the medical group/IPA documentation, which outlines continued unacceptable behavior.

Level II

Criteria

Refusal to follow recommended treatment, or procedures by care provider resulting in deterioration of member’s medical condition;

Disruptive behavior, verbal threats of bodily harm towards medical group/IPA personnel and/or other members, provided the conduct is not a direct result of the member’s medical condition or prescribed medication.+

1st Occurrence:

Medical group/IPA must counsel with and write to member in certified letter expressing such behavior is unacceptable;

Discussions will need documenting. Send copies to UnitedHealthcare, which will send warning letter outlining behavior and possible consequences.

2nd Occurrence:

Send UnitedHealthcare a request to immediately remove subscriber/member from the medical group/IPA. UnitedHealthcare will review the medical group/IPA documentation outlining continued unacceptable behavior.

Level III

Criteria

Member fraudulently applies for any UnitedHealthcare benefits;

Dangerous behaviors exhibited in the course of seeking or receiving care provided the conduct is not a direct result of the member’s medical condition or prescribed medication.

Need an eyewitness who is willing to formally document the incident in writing.

1st Occurrence:

Medical group/IPA requests immediate removal of subscriber/member from medical group/IPA. Incident must be, formally documented by medical group/IPA;

Send written notification to member in a certified letter. Mail copies of documentation and member letter to UnitedHealthcare for review.

2nd Occurrence:

Send UnitedHealthcare a request to immediately remove subscriber/member from the medical group/IPA. UnitedHealthcare will review the medical group/IPA documentation outlining continued unacceptable behavior.


* Minor disruptive behavior: unruly behavior, use of abusive and/or profane language directed towards medical group/IPA and/or other members.
** UnitedHealthcare West will not consider the removal of a member unless the unpaid copayment balance exceeds $200.00.
+ Disruptive behavior: physical or verbal threat of bodily harm towards medical group/IPA personnel and/or other members or property, and/or use of unacceptable behavior relative to drug and/or alcohol misuse.
# Dangerous behavior such as; attempted physical abuse, display of weapon or damage to property, use of unacceptable behavior relative to drug and/or alcohol misuse, and/or chronic demands for unreasonable services.