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2022 Transparency Notice
A) Out-of-network liability and balance billing
The WellCare network is the group of providers, including but not limited to physicians, hospitals, pharmacies, other facilities and health care professionals, we contract with to provide care for you. If a provider is in our network, services are covered by your health insurance plan. Network providers may not bill you for covered expenses beyond your applicable cost sharing amounts (e.g., copayment, coinsurance, and/or a deductible).
If you receive services from a provider that is out-of-network, you may have to pay more for services you receive. Non-network providers may be permitted to bill you for the difference between what your plan agreed to pay and the full amount charged for a service. This is called “balance billing.” This amount is likely more than in-network costs for the same service and might not count toward your annual out-of-pocket limit.
When receiving care at an WellCare network facility, it is possible that some hospital-based providers (for example, assistant surgeons, hospitalists, and intensivists) may not be under contract with WellCare as network providers. We encourage you to inquire about the providers who will be treating you before you begin your treatment, so that you can understand their network participation status with WellCare.
As a member of WellCare, non-network providers should not bill you for covered services for any amount greater than your applicable in-network cost sharing responsibilities when:
- You receive a covered emergency service or air ambulance service from a non-network provider. This includes services you may get after you are in stable condition, unless the non-network provider obtains your written consent.
- You receive non-emergency ancillary services (emergency medicine, anesthesiology, pathology, radiology, and neonatology, as well as diagnostic services (including radiology and laboratory services)) from a non-network provider at a network hospital or network ambulatory surgical facility.
- You receive other non-emergency services from a non-network provider at a network hospital or network ambulatory surgical facility, unless the non-network provider obtains your written consent.
Please refer to your Schedule of Benefits for an overview of your costs for out-of-network services.
If you believe you’ve been wrongly billed, you may contact CMS at 1-800-985-3059 or you may visit this website for more information about your rights under federal law.
B) Enrollee Claim Submission
Providers will typically submit claims on your behalf, but sometimes you may need to submit claims yourself for covered services. This usually happens if:
- Your provider is not contracted with us
- You have an out-of-area emergency
We must receive notice of claim within 20 days after the occurrence or commencement of any loss or as soon as reasonably possible.
If you have paid for services we agreed to cover, you can request reimbursement for the amount you paid. We can adjust your deductible, copayment or cost sharing to reimburse you.
To request reimbursement for a covered service, you need a copy of the detailed claim from your provider. You also need to submit an explanation of why you paid for the covered services along with the member reimbursement claim form posted at marketplace.wellcarenc.com under “Member Resources”. Send all the documentation to us at the following address:
WellCare of North Carolina
Attn: Claims Department – Member Reimbursement
P.O. Box 5010
Farmington, MO 63640-5010
After getting your claim, we will let you know we have received it, begin an investigation and request all items necessary to resolve the claim. We will do this in 30 days or less.
We will notify you, in writing, that we have either accepted or rejected your claim for processing within 30 business days as well. If we are unable to come to a decision about your claim within 30 business days, we will let you know and explain why we need additional time.
We will accept or reject your claim no later than 30 days after we receive it. If we reject your claim, the notice will state the reason why. If we agree to pay all or part of your claim, we will pay it no later than the 29 business days after the notice has been made.
C) Grace Periods and Claims Pending
If you don’t pay your premium by its due date, you’ll enter a grace period. This is the extra time we give you to pay (we understand that stuff happens sometimes).
During your grace period, you will still have coverage. However, if you don’t pay before a grace period ends, you run the risk of losing your coverage. During a grace period, we may hold — or pend — your claim payment.
If your coverage is terminated for not paying your premium, you won’t be eligible to enroll with us again until Open Enrollment or a Special Enrollment period. So make sure you pay your bills on time!
If you receive a subsidy payment
After you pay your first bill, you have a three-month grace period. During the first month of your grace period, we will keep paying claims for covered services you receive. If you continue to receive services during the second and third months of your grace period, we may hold these claims. If your coverage is in the second or third month of a grace period, we will notify you and your healthcare providers about the possibility of denied claims. We will also notify the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that you haven’t paid your premium.
If you don’t receive a subsidy payment
After you pay your first bill, you have a grace period of 60 days. During this time, we will continue to cover your care, but we may hold your claims. We will notify you, your providers and the HHS about this non-payment and the possibility of denied claims.
D) Retroactive Denials
"Retroactive denial of a previously paid claim" or "retroactive denial of payment" means any attempt by a carrier retroactively to collect payments already made to a provider with respect to a claim by reducing other payments currently owed to the provider, by withholding or setting off against future payments, or in any other manner reducing or affecting the future claim
payments to the provider.
There are instances where claims may be denied retroactively if you: receive services from a provider or facility that is not in our network, terminate coverage with WellCare, provide late notification of other coverage due to new coverage, or have a change in circumstance, such as divorce or marriage. This causes WellCare to request recoupment of payment from the Provider.
If you believe the denial is in error, you are encouraged to contact Member Services Department by calling the number on your ID card.
You can avoid retroactive denials by paying your premiums on time and in full, and making sure you talk to your provider about whether the service performed is a covered benefit. You can also avoid retroactive denials by obtaining your medical services from an in-network provider.
E) Recoupment of Overpayments
Members may call in to request a refund of overpaid premium. Refunds are processed by two methods, electronically or by a manual check. The type of refund that is issued is dependent on the method of payment. Payments made with a debit/credit card via eCashiering, IVR, auto pay, member portal as well as credit card payments sent to our lockbox vendor will be refunded via eCashering. Payments made via eCheck will also be refunded electronically. Payments made by check to our lockbox vendor and payments that were processed in-house at our Little Rock location must be refunded manually via live check.
F) Medical Necessity and Prior Authorization
Services are only covered if they are medically necessary. Medically necessary means those covered services, items, or supplies that are:
- Provided for the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or relief of a health condition, illness, injury, or disease; and except as allowed for clinical trials under G.S. 58-3-255, not for experimental, investigational, or cosmetic purposes;
- Necessary for and appropriate to the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or relief of a health condition, illness, injury, disease, or its symptoms;
- Within generally accepted standards of medical care in the community; and
- Not solely for the convenience of the member, the member’s family, or the provider.
Charges incurred for treatment not medically necessary are not eligible service expenses.
Prior Authorization Required
Some medical and behavioral health covered services require prior authorization. In general, network providers must obtain prior authorization from us prior to providing a network eligible service or supply to a member. However, there are some cases in which you must obtain the prior authorization. For example, if you:
- Receive a service or supply from a non-network provider;
- Are admitted into a network facility by a non-network provider; or
- Receive a service or supply from a network provider to which you were referred by a non-network provider.
The following services or supplies require prior authorization:
- Non-Emergency Health Care Services provided by Non-Network Providers;
- Reconstructive procedures;
- Diagnostic tests such as specialized labs, procedures and high technology imaging;
- Injectable drugs and medications;
- Inpatient health care services;
- Specific surgical procedures;
- Nutritional supplements;
- Pain management services; and
- Transplant services.
Prior Authorization requests can be submitted by telephone, eFax, or provider web portal. Although not required, submitting requests within the recommended timeframes below will allow for timely review of prior authorization requests:
- At least 5 days prior to an elective admission as an inpatient in a hospital, extended care or rehabilitation facility, or hospice facility.
- At least 30 days prior to the initial evaluation for organ transplant services.
- At least 30 days prior to receiving clinical trial services.
- Within 24 hours of any inpatient admission, including emergent inpatient admissions.
- At least 5 days prior to the start of home healthcare except those members needing home health care after hospital discharge.
After prior authorization has been requested and all necessary information, including the results of any face-to-face clinical evaluation or second opinion that may be required has been submitted, we will notify you and your provider if the request has been approved as follows:
- For immediate request situations, within 1 business day, when the lack of treatment may result in an emergency room visit or emergency admission.
- For urgent concurrent reviews, within 24 hours of receipt of the request.
- For urgent pre-service reviews, within 72 hours from date of receipt of request.
- For non-urgent pre-service reviews, determination within 36 hours, which shall include one working day.
- For post-service or retrospective reviews, within 30 calendar days of receipt of the request.
Except for medical emergencies, prior authorization must be obtained before services are rendered or expenses are incurred.
Failure to Obtain Prior Authorization
Failure to comply with the prior authorization requirements will result in benefits being reduced. Please see the contract Schedule of Benefits for specific details.
Network providers cannot bill you for services for which they fail to obtain prior authorization as required. In cases of emergency, benefits will not be reduced for failure to comply with prior authorization requirements. However, you must contact us as soon as reasonably possible after the emergency occurs.
G) Drug Exceptions Timeframes and Enrollee Responsibilities
Prescription Drug Exception Process
Sometimes members need access to drugs that are not listed on the formulary. Members or provider can submit a drug exception request to us by contacting Member Services at 1-833-863-1310 (Relay 711) or by sending a written request to the following address:
WellCare of North Carolina
Attn: WellCare Department
PO Box 10341
Van Nuys, CA 91410
Standard exception request
A member, a member’s designee or a member’s prescribing physician may request a standard review of a decision that a drug is not covered by the plan or a protocol exception for step therapy. The request can be made in writing or via telephone. Within 72 hours of the request being received, we will provide the member, the member’s designee or the member’s prescribing physician with our coverage determination. Should the standard exception request or step therapy protocol exception request be granted, we will provide coverage of the non-formulary drug for the duration of the prescription, including refills, or of the drug that is the subject of the protocol exception.
Expedited exception request
A member, a member’s designee or a member’s prescribing physician may request an expedited review based on exigent circumstances. Exigent circumstances exist when a member is suffering from a health condition that may seriously jeopardize the enrollee's life, health, or ability to regain maximum function or when an enrollee is undergoing a current course of treatment using a non-formulary drug. Within 24 hours of the request being received, we will provide the member, the member’s designee or the member’s prescribing physician with our coverage determination. Should the standard exception or step therapy protocol exception request be granted, we will provide coverage of the non-formulary drug or the drug that is the subject of the protocol exception for the duration of the exigency.
External exception request review
If we deny a request for a standard exception or for an expedited exception, the member, the member’s designee or the member’s prescribing physician may request that the original exception request and subsequent denial of such request be reviewed by an external review organization. We will make our determination on the external exception request and notify the member, the member’s designee or the member’s prescribing physician of our coverage determination no later than 72 hours following receipt of the request, if the original request was a standard exception, and no later than 24 hours following its receipt of the request, if the original request was an expedited exception.
If we grant an external exception review of a standard exception or step therapy protocol exception request, we will provide coverage of the non formulary drug or the drug that is the subject of the protocol exception for the duration of the prescription. If we grant an external exception review of an expedited exception request, we will provide coverage of the non-formulary drug or the drug that is the subject of the protocol exception for the duration of the exigency.
H) Information on Explanations of Benefits
An Explanation of Benefits (EOB) is a statement that we send to members to explain what medical treatments and/or services we paid for on behalf of a member. This shows the amount billed by the provider, the issuer’s payment, and the enrollee’s financial responsibility pursuant to the terms of the policy. We will send an EOB to a member after we receive and adjudicate a claim on your behalf from a provider. If you need assistance interpreting your Explanation of Benefits, please contact Member Services at 1-855-650-3789 (TDD/TTY Relay 711).