Insurers, preferred provider organizations, and preferred provider benefit plans
See bold text below:
(a) Definitions. — As used in this section:
(1) “Insurer” means an insurer or service corporation subject to this Chapter.
(2) “Preferred provider” means a health care provider who has agreed to accept special reimbursement or other terms for health care services from an insurer for health care services. A “preferred provider” is not a health care provider participating in any prepaid health service or capitation arrangement implemented or administered by the Department of Health and Human Services or its representatives.
(3) “Preferred provider benefit plan” means a health benefit plan offered by an insurer in which covered services are available from health care providers who are under a contract with the insurer in accordance with this section and in which enrollees are given incentives through differentials in deductibles, coinsurance, or copayments to obtain covered health care services from contracted health care providers.
(4) “Preferred provider organization” or “PPO” means an insurer holding contracts with preferred providers to be used by or offered to insurers offering preferred provider benefit plans.
(b) Insurers may enter into preferred provider contracts or enter into other cost containment arrangements approved by the Commissioner to reduce the costs of providing health care services. These contracts or arrangements may be entered into with licensed health care providers of all kinds without regard to specialty of services or limitation to a specific type of practice. A preferred provider contract or other cost containment arrangement that is not disapproved by the Commissioner within 90 days of its filing by the insurer shall be deemed to be approved.
(c) At the initial offering of a preferred provider plan to the public, health care providers may submit proposals for participation in accordance with the terms of the preferred provider plan within 30 days after that offering. After that time period, any health care provider may submit a proposal, and the insurer offering the preferred provider benefit plan shall consider all pending applications for participation and give reasons for any rejections or failure to act on an application on at least an annual basis. Any health care provider seeking to participate in the preferred provider benefit plan, whether upon the initial offering or subsequently, may be permitted to do so in the discretion of the insurer offering the preferred provider benefit plan. G.S. 58-50-30 applies to preferred provider benefit plans.
(d) Any provision of a contract between an insurer offering a preferred provider benefit plan and a health care provider that restricts the provider’s right to enter into preferred provider contracts with other persons is prohibited, is void ab initio, and is not enforceable. The existence of that restriction does not invalidate any other provision of the contract.
(e) Repealed by Session Laws 2018-120, s. 4.6(b), effective June 28, 2018.
Participation in Products, Plans, or Networks
(f) Every insurer offering a preferred provider benefit plan and contracting with a PPO shall require by contract that the PPO shall provide all of the preferred providers with whom it holds contracts information about the insurer and the insurer’s preferred provider benefit plans. This information shall include for each insurer and preferred provider benefit plan the benefit designs and incentives that are used to encourage insureds to use preferred providers.
(g) The Commissioner may adopt rules applicable to insurers offering preferred provider benefit plans under this section. These rules shall provide for:
(1) Accessibility of preferred provider services to individuals within the insured group.
(2) The adequacy of the number and locations of health care providers.
(3) The availability of services at reasonable times.
(4) Financial solvency.
(h) Each insurer offering a preferred provider benefit plan shall provide the Commissioner with summary data about the financial reimbursements offered to health care providers. All such insurers shall disclose annually the following information:
(1) The name by which the preferred provider benefit plan is known and its business address.
(2) The name, address, and nature of any PPO or other separate organization that administers the preferred provider benefit plan for the insurer.
(3) The terms of the agreements entered into by the insurer with preferred providers.
(4) Any other information necessary to determine compliance with this section, rules adopted under this section, or other requirements applicable to preferred provider benefit plans.
(i) A person enrolled in a preferred provider benefit plan may obtain covered health care services from a provider who does not participate in the plan. In accordance with rules adopted by the Commissioner and subject to G.S. 58-3-200(d), the preferred provider benefit plan may limit coverage for health care services obtained from a nonparticipating provider. The Commissioner shall adopt rules on product limitations, including payment differentials for services rendered by nonparticipating providers. These rules shall be similar in substance to rules governing HMO point-of-service products.
(j) A list of the current participating providers in the geographic area in which a substantial portion of health care services will be available shall be provided to insureds and contracting parties. The list shall include participating physician assistants and their supervising physician.
(k) Publications or advertisements of preferred provider benefit plans or organizations shall not refer to the quality or efficiency of the services of nonparticipating providers.