Accessibility and Availability Requirements
(a) Each health benefit plan delivered or issued for delivery by an HMO must include an HMO delivery network that is adequate and complies with Insurance Code § 843.082 (concerning Requirements for Approval of Application).
(b) There must be a sufficient number of primary care physicians and specialists with hospital admitting privileges to participating facilities who are available and accessible 24 hours per day, seven days per week, within the HMO’s service area to meet the health care needs of the HMO’s enrollees.
(c) An HMO must make general, special, and psychiatric hospital care available and accessible 24 hours per day, seven days per week, within the HMO’s service area.
(d) If an HMO limits enrollees’ access to a limited provider network, it must ensure that the limited provider network complies with all requirements of this section.
(e) An HMO must make emergency care available and accessible 24 hours per day, seven days per week, without restrictions on where the services are rendered.
(f) All covered services that are offered by an HMO must be sufficient in number and location to be readily available and accessible within the service area to all enrollees.
(g) An HMO must arrange for covered health care services, including referrals to specialists, to be accessible to enrollees on a timely basis on request and consistent with these guidelines:
(1) urgent care must be available within 24 hours for medical, dental, and behavioral health conditions;
(2) routine care must be available within:
(A) three weeks for medical conditions;
(B) eight weeks for dental conditions; and
(C) two weeks for behavioral health conditions.
(3) Preventive health services must be available within:
(A) two months for a child;
(B) three months for an adult; and
(C) four months for dental services.
(h) An HMO is required to provide an adequate network for its entire service area. All covered services must be accessible and available so that travel distances from any point in its service area to a point of service are no greater than:
(1) 30 miles for primary care and general hospital care; and
(2) 75 miles for specialty care, special hospitals, and single health care service plan physicians or providers.
(i) Access to certain institutional providers. An HMO network providing access to more than one institutional provider in a region must make a good-faith effort to have a mix of for-profit, nonprofit, and tax-supported institutional participating providers, unless the mix is not feasible due to geographic, economic, or other operational factors. An HMO must give special consideration to contracting with teaching hospitals and hospitals that provide indigent care or care for uninsured individuals as a significant percentage of their overall patient load.
(j) An HMO that is unable to meet the requirements of subsections (b) – (h) of this section must file an access plan for approval with the department in compliance with § 11.301 of this title (relating to Filing Requirements). The access plan must specify:
(1) the geographic area within the service area in which a sufficient number of contracted physicians and providers are not available, including a specification of the class of physician or provider;
(2) a map for each specialty, with key and scale, that identifies the geographic areas within the service area in which the health care services, physicians, and providers are not available;
(3) the reason or reasons that the network does not meet the adequacy requirements specified in this section;
(4) procedures that the HMO will use to assist enrollees in obtaining medically necessary services when no network physician or provider is available, including procedures to coordinate care to hold enrollees harmless and eliminate or limit the likelihood of balance billing;
(5) a list of the physicians and providers within the relevant service area that the HMO attempted to contract with, identified by name and specialty or facility type, with:
(A) a description of how and when the HMO last contacted each physician, provider, or facility; and
(B) a description of the reason each physician, provider, or facility gave for declining to contract with the HMO;
(6) procedures detailing how out-of-network benefit claims will be handled when no physicians or providers are available, including procedures for compliance with § 11.1611 of this title (relating to Out-of-Network Claims; Non-Network Physicians and Providers);
(7) steps the HMO will take to attempt to bring its network into compliance with this section; and
(8) a process for negotiating with a non-network physician or provider before services being rendered, when feasible.
(k) An HMO must submit an access plan that complies with subsection (j) of this section along with the annual report on network adequacy under § 11.1610 of this title (relating to Annual Network Adequacy Report).
(l) Notwithstanding subsection (h) of this section, an HMO that has a contract with the Health and Human Services Commission is not required to meet the access requirements prescribed in this section for covered services provided to participants in the Children’s Health Insurance Program Perinatal Program.
(m) An HMO may make arrangements with physicians or providers outside the service area for enrollees to receive a higher level of skill or specialty than the level available within the HMO service area, such as, but not limited to, transplants and treatment of cancer, burns, and cardiac diseases. An HMO may not require an enrollee to travel out of the service area to receive the services.
(n) An HMO is not required to expand services outside its service area to accommodate enrollees who live outside the service area but work within the service area.
(o) In compliance with Insurance Code Chapter 1455 (concerning Telemedicine and Telehealth), each evidence of coverage or certificate delivered or issued for delivery by an HMO may provide enrollees the option to access covered health care services through a telehealth service or telemedicine service.