State Law

Tennessee Code-Title 56-Chapter 7- Part 23. Mandated Insurer or Plan Coverage

08/24/2023 Tennessee Section 56-7-2356

Sufficient network of providers — Determining compliance — Timeliness

Network Adequacy

(a)(1) Each managed health insurance issuer that offers a plan that limits its enrollees’ choice of providers shall maintain a network that is sufficient in numbers and types of providers to assure that all covered benefits to covered persons will be accessible without unreasonable delay. In the case of emergency services, covered persons shall have access to health care services twenty-four (24) hours per day, seven (7) days per week. Sufficiency shall be determined in accordance with the requirements of this section and may be established by reference to network adequacy standards established by the managed health insurance issuer, specifically:

(A) Primary care provider-covered person ratios; and

(B) Geographic accessibility;

(2)(A) Each managed health insurance issuer shall:

(i) File a network adequacy standards description with the commissioner, review the description for adequacy and compliance with this section, and update the description annually; and

(ii) Report to the commissioner each material change to an approved network plan at least fifteen (15) days before such change, including each change that would result in a failure to satisfy the requirements of this section. Upon receiving the report, the commissioner shall reevaluate the issuer’s network plan for compliance with the network adequacy standards of this section.

(B) As used in this subdivision (a)(2), “material change” means a significant reduction in the number of providers available in a network plan, including, but not limited to, a reduction of ten percent (10%) or more of a specific type of provider in a geographic market, the removal of a major health system that causes a network to be significantly different from the network when the beneficiary enrolled in the network plan, or a change that would cause the network to no longer satisfy the requirements of this section or the commissioner’s rules for network adequacy.

(3) In an effort to ensure that consumers within a geographic region have an adequate opportunity to select an in-network provider, including specialty providers and facilities, and to avoid unanticipated out-of-network costs, the network adequacy standards description must include a report for each network hospital that provides the percentage of providers in each of the specialties of emergency medicine, anesthesiology, radiology, radiation oncology, pathology, and hospitalists practicing in the hospital who are in the health benefit plan’s network.

(b) In addition to establishing the standards required pursuant to subsection (a), the managed health insurance issuer’s network shall demonstrate the following:

(1) An adequate number of acute care hospital services, within a reasonable distance or travel time;

(2) An adequate number of primary care providers within not more than thirty (30) miles distance or thirty (30) minutes travel time at a reasonable speed;

(3) An adequate number of specialists and subspecialists, within a reasonable distance or travel time;

(4) A comprehensive listing, made available to covered persons and health care providers, of the plan’s network participating providers and facilities, and the listing shall be supplemented to show additions and deletions, if any exist, at least quarterly;

(5) The procedures for making referrals within and outside its network that, at a minimum, shall include the following:

(A) A process for expediting the referral process when indicated by a medical condition; and

(B) A provision that referrals approved by the plan cannot be retrospectively denied except for fraud or abuse, subject to the eligibility and coverage provisions of the contract;

(6) The process for monitoring and assuring on an ongoing basis the sufficiency of the network to meet the health care needs of populations that enroll in plans;

(7) The quality assurance standards, adequate to identify, evaluate, and remedy problems relating to access, continuity, and quality of care;

(8) The system for ensuring the coordination of care for covered persons receiving approved care from specialty providers; and

(9) A sufficient number of contracted providers practicing at the same in-network facilities with which the managed health insurance issuer has contracted to reasonably ensure enrollees have complete and comprehensive in-network access for covered services delivered at those in-network facilities; and

(10) Other information required by the commissioner to determine compliance with this part.

(c) In any case where the managed health insurance issuer has no participating providers to provide a covered benefit, the managed health insurance issuer shall arrange for a referral to a provider with the necessary expertise and ensure that the covered person obtains the covered benefit at no greater cost to the covered person than if the benefit were obtained from a network provider.

(d) In determining whether a managed health insurance issuer has complied with this section, consideration shall be given to the relative availability of health care providers, specialists and subspecialists in the service area under consideration. Relative availability includes the acceptance by the health care providers, specialists or subspecialists of the terms, conditions and fees offered under the contract or plan. A network shall not be deemed inadequate solely because the network does not include a provider, specialist or subspecialist who is the sole provider in the community, if the provider, specialist or subspecialist refuses to contract with the managed health insurance issuer on terms and conditions substantially similar to providers, specialists or subspecialists in contiguous communities.

(e) Health care providers who participate in a managed health insurance issuer’s plan shall provide timely appointments to patients and shall see the patients on a timely basis after arrival for an appointment. A managed health insurance issuer may include in its contracts with health care providers provisions that establish the meaning of timeliness.

(f) Providers who do not participate in a managed health insurance issuer’s plan but seek reimbursement through the point of service option mandated in § 56-32-128 shall have the obligation to provide appointments on a timely basis and, upon arrival for appointments, the provider shall see the patient on a timely basis; provided, that timeliness shall be consistent with usual and customary standards for the community in which the provider is located. Frequent and repetitive failure to comply with this subsection (f) may be cause for the managed health insurance issuer to withhold reimbursement from the nonparticipating provider.

(g) If the commissioner determines that a managed health insurance issuer has not met the sufficiency standards established by this section, then the commissioner shall require a modification to the network or may institute a corrective action plan to ensure access for enrollees. The commissioner may take other disciplinary action for violations of this section as permitted pursuant to § 56-2-305, and in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, compiled in title 4, chapter 5.

(h) The commissioner shall develop an appeals procedure and forms where an enrollee of the managed health insurance issuer, contractor of a managed health insurance issuer, or a healthcare provider or facility may file a request for review of network adequacy and sufficiency of the managed health insurance issuer network. The department shall complete such review within ninety (90) days of submission to the department.

SECTION 6. The commissioner of commerce and insurance is authorized to promulgate rules to effectuate this act. The rules must be promulgated in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, compiled in Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 4, Chapter 5.

SECTION 7. The headings in this act are for reference purposes only and do not constitute a
part of the law enacted by this act. However, the Tennessee Code Commission is requested to
include the headings in any compilation or publication containing this act. ·


(a) For the purpose of promulgating rules and carrying out administrative duties necessary to effectuate this act, this act takes effect July 1, 2023, the public welfare requiring it.

(b) SECTION 1 of this act takes effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring it.

(c) For all other purposes, the remainder of this act takes effect January 1, 2024, the public welfare requiring it.


This statute was amended by SB 1345 (2023) and HB 1503 (2023).  See