Payment disputes for member of self-funded plan, binding arbitration
a. If attempts to negotiate reimbursement for services between an out-of-network health care provider and a member of a self-funded plan that does not elect to be subject to the provisions of section 9 [C.26:2SS-9] of this act do not result in a resolution of the payment dispute within 30 days after the plan member is sent a bill for the services, the plan member or out-of-network health care provider may initiate binding arbitration to determine payment for the services. Unless negotiations for reimbursement result in an agreement between the provider and the plan member within the 30 days, a provider shall not collect or attempt to collect reimbursement, including initiation of any collection proceedings, until the provider files a request for arbitration with the department pursuant to this section.
b. The binding arbitration shall adhere to the following requirements:
(1) Arbitration shall be initiated by filing a request with the department. The department shall establish a process to notify the other party that arbitration has been initiated and to inform a plan member of the process to arbitrate pursuant to this section;
(2) The arbitrator with which the department contracts pursuant to section 10 [C.26:2SS-10] of this act shall conduct the arbitration pursuant to this section;
(3) The arbitrator shall consider information supplied by both parties; and
(4) The arbitrator’s decision shall include written findings, including a final binding amount that the arbitrator determines is reasonable for the service, which shall include a non-binding recommendation to the entity providing or administering the self-funded health benefits plan of an amount that would be reasonable for the entity to contribute to payment for the service, and shall be issued within 30 days after the request is filed with the department.
c. The arbitrator’s expenses and fees shall be divided equally among the parties, unless the payment would pose a financial hardship to the plan member, in which case the department shall establish an agreement with the arbitrator to waive any part or all of the cost of arbitration. Each party shall be responsible for its own costs and fees, including legal fees, if any.
d. This section shall not apply to a covered person who knowingly, voluntarily, and specifically selected an out-of-network provider for health care services.