State Law

West Virginia Code-Chapter 33-Article 25. Health Care Corporations

08/28/2023 West Virginia Section 33-25-8d

Coverage of emergency services

Retroactive Denial

See bold text below:

(a) Notwithstanding any provision of any policy, provision, contract, plan or agreement to which this article applies, any entity regulated by this article shall provide as benefits to all subscribers and members coverage for emergency services. A policy, provision, contract, plan or agreement may apply to emergency services the same deductibles, coinsurance and other limitations as apply to other covered services: Provided, That preauthorization or precertification shall not be required.

(b) From July 1, 1998, the following provisions apply:

(1) Every insurer shall provide coverage for emergency medical services, including prehospital services, to the extent necessary to screen and to stabilize an emergency medical condition. The insurer shall not require prior authorization of the screening services if a prudent layperson acting reasonably would have believed that an emergency medical condition existed. Prior authorization of coverage shall not be required for stabilization if an emergency medical condition exists. Payment of claims for emergency services shall be based on the retrospective review of the presenting history and symptoms of the covered person.

(2) An insurer that has given prior authorization for emergency services shall cover the services and shall not retract the authorization after the services have been provided unless the authorization was based on a material misrepresentation about the covered person’s health condition made by the referring provider, the provider of the emergency services or the covered person.

(3) Coverage of emergency services shall be subject to coinsurance, copayments and deductibles applicable under the health benefit plan.

(4) The emergency department and the insurer shall make a good faith effort to communicate with each other in a timely fashion to expedite postevaluation or poststabilization services in order to avoid material deterioration of the covered person’s condition.

(5) As used in this section:

(A) “Emergency medical services” means those services required to screen for or treat an emergency medical condition until the condition is stabilized, including prehospital care;

(B) “Prudent layperson” means a person who is without medical training and who draws on his or her practical experience when making a decision regarding whether an emergency medical condition exists for which emergency treatment should be sought;

(C) “Emergency medical condition for the prudent layperson” means one that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity, including severe pain, such that the person could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to the individual’s health, or, with respect to a pregnant woman, the health of the unborn child; serious impairment to bodily functions; or serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part;

(D) “Stabilize” means with respect to an emergency medical condition, to provide medical treatment of the condition necessary to assure, with reasonable medical probability that no medical deterioration of the condition is likely to result from or occur during the transfer of the individual from a facility: Provided, That this provision may not be construed to prohibit, limit or otherwise delay the transportation required for a higher level of care than that possible at the treating facility;

(E) “Medical screening examination” means an appropriate examination within the capability of the hospital’s emergency department, including ancillary services routinely available to the emergency department, to determine whether or not an emergency medical condition exists; and

(F) “Emergency medical condition” means a condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity including severe pain such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in serious jeopardy to the individual’s health or with respect to a pregnant woman the health of the unborn child, serious impairment to bodily functions or serious dysfunction of any bodily part or organ.