State Law

Montana Code Ann-Title 33-Chapter 36-Part 2. Network Adequacy

08/10/2023 Montana Section 33-36-201

Network adequacy-standards-access plan required

Network Adequacy

(1) A health carrier offering a managed care plan in this state shall maintain a network that is sufficient in numbers and types of providers to ensure that all services to covered persons are accessible without unreasonable delay. Sufficiency in number and type of provider is determined in accordance with the requirements of this section. Covered persons must have access to emergency care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A health carrier providing a managed care plan shall use reasonable criteria to determine sufficiency. The criteria may include but are not limited to:

(a) a ratio of specialty care providers to covered persons;

(b) a ratio of primary care providers to covered persons;

(c) geographic accessibility;

(d) waiting times for appointments with participating providers;

(e) hours of operation; or

(f) the volume of technological and specialty services available to serve the needs of covered persons requiring technologically advanced or specialty care.

(2) Whenever a health carrier has an insufficient number or type of participating providers to provide a covered benefit, the health carrier shall ensure that the covered person obtains the covered benefit at no greater cost to the covered person than if the covered benefit were obtained from participating providers or shall make other arrangements acceptable to the department.

(3) The health carrier shall establish and maintain adequate provider networks to ensure reasonable proximity of participating providers to the businesses or personal residences of covered persons. In determining whether a health carrier has complied with this requirement, consideration must be given to the relative availability of health care providers in the service area under consideration.

(4) A health carrier offering a managed care plan in this state on October 1, 1999, shall file with the department on October 1, 1999, an access plan complying with subsection (6) and the rules of the department. A health carrier offering a managed care plan in this state for the first time after October 1, 1999, shall file with the department an access plan meeting the requirements of subsection (6) and the rules of the department before offering the managed care plan. A plan must be filed with the department in a manner and form complying with the rules of the department. A health carrier shall file any subsequent material changes in its access plan with the department within 30 days of implementation of the change.

(5) A health carrier may request the department to designate parts of its access plan as proprietary or competitive information, and when designated, that part may not be made public. For the purposes of this section, information is proprietary or competitive if revealing the information would cause the health carrier’s competitors to obtain valuable business information. A health carrier shall make the access plans, absent proprietary information, available on its business premises and shall provide a copy of the plan upon request.

(6) An access plan for each managed care plan offered in this state must describe or contain at least the following:

(a) a listing of the names and specialties of the health carrier’s participating providers;

(b) the health carrier’s procedures for making referrals within and outside its network;

(c) the health carrier’s process for monitoring and ensuring on an ongoing basis the sufficiency of the network to meet the health care needs of populations that enroll in the managed care plan;

(d) the health carrier’s efforts to address the needs of covered persons with limited English proficiency and illiteracy, with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and with physical and mental disabilities;

(e) the health carrier’s methods for assessing the health care needs of covered persons and their satisfaction with services;

(f) the health carrier’s method of informing covered persons of the plan’s services and features, including but not limited to the plan’s grievance procedures, its process for choosing and changing providers, and its procedures for providing and approving emergency and specialty care;

(g) the health carrier’s system for ensuring the coordination and continuity of care for covered persons referred to specialty physicians and for covered persons using ancillary services, including social services and other community resources, and for ensuring appropriate discharge planning;

(h) the health carrier’s process for enabling covered persons to change primary care professionals;

(i) the health carrier’s proposed plan for providing continuity of care in the event of contract termination between the health carrier and a participating provider or in the event of the health carrier’s insolvency or other inability to continue operations. The description must explain how covered persons will be notified of the contract termination or the health carrier’s insolvency or other cessation of operations and be transferred to other providers in a timely manner.

(j) any other information required by the department to determine compliance with this part and the rules implementing this part.

(7) The department shall ensure timely and expedited review and approval of the access plan and other requirements in this section.