United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Jul 19, 2019
Except as provided in section 1395w–28(b)(3) of this title for MSA plans and except as provided in paragraph (6) for MA regional plans, each Medicare+Choice plan shall provide to members enrolled under this part, through providers and other persons that meet the applicable requirements of this subchapter and part A of subchapter XI, benefits under the original medicare fee-for-service program option (and, for plan years before 2006, additional benefits required under section 1395w–24(f)(1)(A) of this title).
For purposes of this part, the term “benefits under the original medicare fee-for-service program option” means, subject to subsection (m), those items and services (other than hospice care or coverage for organ acquisitions for kidney transplants, including as covered under section 1395rr(d) of this title) for which benefits are available under parts A and B to individuals entitled to benefits under part A and enrolled under part B, with cost-sharing for those services as required under parts A and B or, subject to clause (iii), an actuarially equivalent level of cost-sharing as determined in this part.
In the case of an MA regional plan in determining an actuarially equivalent level of cost-sharing with respect to benefits under the original medicare fee-for-service program option, there shall only be taken into account, with respect to the application of section 1395w–27a(b)(2) of this title, such expenses only with respect to subparagraph (A) of such section.
Subject to clause (v), cost-sharing for services described in clause (iv) shall not exceed the cost-sharing required for those services under parts A and B.
In the case of services described in clause (iv) for which there is no cost-sharing required under parts A and B, cost-sharing may be required for those services in accordance with clause (i).
In the case of a Medicare+Choice organization that offers a Medicare+Choice plan in an area in which more than one local coverage determination is applied with respect to different parts of the area, the organization may elect to have the local coverage determination for the part of the area that is most beneficial to Medicare+Choice enrollees (as identified by the Secretary) apply with respect to all Medicare+Choice enrollees enrolled in the plan.
Subject to subparagraph (D), each Medicare+Choice organization may provide to individuals enrolled under this part, other than under an MSA plan (without affording those individuals an option to decline the coverage), supplemental health care benefits that the Secretary may approve. The Secretary shall approve any such supplemental benefits unless the Secretary determines that including such supplemental benefits would substantially discourage enrollment by Medicare+Choice eligible individuals with the organization.
Subject to clause (ii), a Medicare+Choice organization may provide to individuals enrolled under this part supplemental health care benefits that the individuals may elect, at their option, to have covered.
A Medicare+Choice organization may not provide, under an MSA plan, supplemental health care benefits that cover the deductible described in section 1395w–28(b)(2)(B) of this title. In applying the previous sentence, health benefits described in section 1395ss(u)(2)(B) of this title shall not be treated as covering such deductible.
Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed as preventing a Medicare+Choice private fee-for-service plan from offering supplemental benefits that include payment for some or all of the balance billing amounts permitted consistent with subsection (k) and coverage of additional services that the plan finds to be medically necessary. Such benefits may include reductions in cost-sharing below the actuarial value specified in section 1395w–24(e)(4)(B) of this title.
For plan year 2020 and subsequent plan years, in addition to any supplemental health care benefits otherwise provided under this paragraph, an MA plan, including a specialized MA plan for special needs individuals (as defined in section 1395w–28(b)(6) of this title), may provide supplemental benefits described in clause (ii) to a chronically ill enrollee (as defined in clause (iii)).
Supplemental benefits described in this clause are supplemental benefits that, with respect to a chronically ill enrollee, have a reasonable expectation of improving or maintaining the health or overall function of the chronically ill enrollee and may not be limited to being primarily health related benefits.
The Secretary may, only with respect to supplemental benefits provided to a chronically ill enrollee under this subparagraph, waive the uniformity requirements under this part, as determined appropriate by the Secretary.
In the case of an MA plan that is an MA regional plan, benefits under the plan shall include the benefits described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of section 1395w–27a(b) of this title.
In the case of an individual who is a full-benefit dual eligible individual (as defined in section 1396u–5(c)(6) of this title) or a qualified medicare beneficiary (as defined in section 1396d(p)(1) of this title) and who is enrolled in a specialized Medicare Advantage plan for special needs individuals described in section 1395w–28(b)(6)(B)(ii) of this title, the plan may not impose cost-sharing that exceeds the amount of cost-sharing that would be permitted with respect to the individual under subchapter XIX if the individual were not enrolled in such plan.
A Medicare Advantage organization may not deny, limit, or condition the coverage or provision of benefits under this part, for individuals permitted to be enrolled with the organization under this part, based on any health status-related factor described in section 2702(a)(1) of the Public Health Service Act.1
The plan’s service area.
Benefits offered under the plan, including information described in section 1395w–21(d)(3)(A) of this title and exclusions from coverage and, if it is an MSA plan, a comparison of benefits under such a plan with benefits under other Medicare+Choice plans.
The number, mix, and distribution of plan providers, out-of-network coverage (if any) provided by the plan, and any point-of-service option (including the supplemental premium for such option).
Out-of-area coverage provided by the plan.
Rules regarding prior authorization or other review requirements that could result in nonpayment.
All plan appeal or grievance rights and procedures.
A description of the organization’s quality improvement program under subsection (e).
A Medicare+Choice plan shall comply with such guidelines as the Secretary may prescribe relating to promoting efficient and timely coordination of appropriate maintenance and post-stabilization care of an enrollee after the enrollee has been determined to be stable under section 1395dd of this title.
For plan year 2011 and subsequent plan years, in the case of a Medicare Advantage private fee-for-service plan not described in paragraph (1) or (2) of section 1395w–27(i) of this title operating in a network area (as defined in subparagraph (B)), the plan shall meet the access standards under paragraph (4) in that area only through entering into written contracts as provided for under subparagraph (B) of such paragraph and not, in whole or in part, through the establishment of payment rates meeting the requirements under subparagraph (A) of such paragraph.
For purposes of subparagraph (A), the term “network area” means, for a plan year, an area which the Secretary identifies (in the Secretary’s announcement of the proposed payment rates for the previous plan year under section 1395w–23(b)(1)(B) of this title) as having at least 2 network-based plans (as defined in subparagraph (C)) with enrollment under this part as of the first day of the year in which such announcement is made.
The term “network-based plan” shall not include an MA regional plan that, with respect to the area, meets access adequacy standards under this part substantially through the authority of section 422.112(a)(1)(ii) of title 42, Code of Federal Regulations, rather than through written contracts.
For plan year 2011 and subsequent plan years, in the case of a Medicare Advantage private fee-for-service plan that is described in paragraph (1) or (2) of section 1395w–27(i) of this title, the plan shall meet the access standards under paragraph (4) only through entering into written contracts as provided for under subparagraph (B) of such paragraph and not, in whole or in part, through the establishment of payment rates meeting the requirements under subparagraph (A) of such paragraph.
Each MA organization shall have an ongoing quality improvement program for the purpose of improving the quality of care provided to enrollees in each MA plan offered by such organization.
As part of the quality improvement program under paragraph (1), each MA organization shall have a chronic care improvement program. Each chronic care improvement program shall have a method for monitoring and identifying enrollees with multiple or sufficiently severe chronic conditions that meet criteria established by the organization for participation under the program.
Except as provided in clauses (ii) and (iii) with respect to plans described in such clauses and subject to subparagraph (B), as part of the quality improvement program under paragraph (1), each MA organization shall provide for the collection, analysis, and reporting of data that permits the measurement of health outcomes and other indices of quality. With respect to MA private fee-for-service plans and MSA plans, the requirements under the preceding sentence may not exceed the requirements under this subparagraph with respect to MA local plans that are preferred provider organization plans, except that, for plan year 2010, the limitation under clause (iii) shall not apply and such requirements shall apply only with respect to administrative claims data.
In addition to the data required to be collected, analyzed, and reported under clause (i) and notwithstanding the limitations under subparagraph (B), as part of the quality improvement program under paragraph (1), each MA organization offering a specialized Medicare Advantage plan for special needs individuals shall provide for the collection, analysis, and reporting of data that permits the measurement of health outcomes and other indices of quality with respect to the requirements described in paragraphs (2) through (5) of subsection (f). Such data may be based on claims data and shall be at the plan level.
Clause (i) shall apply to MA organizations with respect to MA local plans that are preferred provider organization plans and to MA regional plans only insofar as services are furnished by providers or services, physicians, and other health care practitioners and suppliers that have contracts with such organization to furnish services under such plans.
The Secretary shall not collect under subparagraph (A) data on quality, outcomes, and beneficiary satisfaction to facilitate consumer choice and program administration other than the types of data that were collected by the Secretary as of
Subject to subclause (iii), the Secretary may only change the types of data that are required to be submitted under subparagraph (A) after submitting to Congress a report on the reasons for such changes that was prepared in consultation with MA organizations and private accrediting bodies.
The Secretary shall provide that a Medicare+Choice organization is deemed to meet all the requirements described in any specific clause of subparagraph (B) if the organization is accredited (and periodically reaccredited) by a private accrediting organization under a process that the Secretary has determined assures that the accrediting organization applies and enforces standards that meet or exceed the standards established under section 1395w–26 of this title to carry out the requirements in such clause.
The Secretary shall determine, within 210 days after the date the Secretary receives an application by a private accrediting organization and using the criteria specified in section 1395bb(a)(2) of this title, whether the process of the private accrediting organization meets the requirements with respect to any specific clause in subparagraph (B) with respect to which the application is made. The Secretary may not deny such an application on the basis that it seeks to meet the requirements with respect to only one, or more than one, such specific clause.
Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed as limiting the authority of the Secretary under section 1395w–27 of this title, including the authority to terminate contracts with Medicare+Choice organizations under subsection (c)(2) of such section.
Each Medicare+Choice organization must provide meaningful procedures for hearing and resolving grievances between the organization (including any entity or individual through which the organization provides health care services) and enrollees with Medicare+Choice plans of the organization under this part.
A Medicare+Choice organization shall have a procedure for making determinations regarding whether an individual enrolled with the plan of the organization under this part is entitled to receive a health service under this section and the amount (if any) that the individual is required to pay with respect to such service. Subject to paragraph (3), such procedures shall provide for such determination to be made on a timely basis.
Such a determination that denies coverage, in whole or in part, shall be in writing and shall include a statement in understandable language of the reasons for the denial and a description of the reconsideration and appeals processes.
The organization shall provide for reconsideration of a determination described in paragraph (1)(B) upon request by the enrollee involved. The reconsideration shall be within a time period specified by the Secretary, but shall be made, subject to paragraph (3), not later than 60 days after the date of the receipt of the request for reconsideration.
A reconsideration relating to a determination to deny coverage based on a lack of medical necessity shall be made only by a physician with appropriate expertise in the field of medicine which necessitates treatment who is other than a physician involved in the initial determination.
An enrollee in a Medicare+Choice plan may request, either in writing or orally, an expedited determination under paragraph (1) or an expedited reconsideration under paragraph (2) by the Medicare+ÐChoice organization.
A physician, regardless whether the physician is affiliated with the organization or not, may request, either in writing or orally, such an expedited determination or reconsideration.
The Medicare+Choice organization shall maintain procedures for expediting organization determinations and reconsiderations when, upon request of an enrollee, the organization determines that the application of the normal time frame for making a determination (or a reconsideration involving a determination) could seriously jeopardize the life or health of the enrollee or the enrollee’s ability to regain maximum function.
In the case of a request for an expedited determination or reconsideration made under subparagraph (A)(ii), the organization shall expedite the determination or reconsideration if the request indicates that the application of the normal time frame for making a determination (or a reconsideration involving a determination) could seriously jeopardize the life or health of the enrollee or the enrollee’s ability to regain maximum function.
In cases described in clauses (i) and (ii), the organization shall notify the enrollee (and the physician involved, as appropriate) of the determination or reconsideration under time limitations established by the Secretary, but not later than 72 hours of the time of receipt of the request for the determination or reconsideration (or receipt of the information necessary to make the determination or reconsideration), or such longer period as the Secretary may permit in specified cases.
The Secretary shall contract with an independent, outside entity to review and resolve in a timely manner reconsiderations that affirm denial of coverage, in whole or in part. The provisions of section 1395ff(c)(5) of this title shall apply to independent outside entities under contract with the Secretary under this paragraph.
An enrollee with a Medicare+Choice plan of a Medicare+Choice organization under this part who is dissatisfied by reason of the enrollee’s failure to receive any health service to which the enrollee believes the enrollee is entitled and at no greater charge than the enrollee believes the enrollee is required to pay is entitled, if the amount in controversy is $100 or more, to a hearing before the Secretary to the same extent as is provided in section 405(b) of this title, and in any such hearing the Secretary shall make the organization a party. If the amount in controversy is $1,000 or more, the individual or organization shall, upon notifying the other party, be entitled to judicial review of the Secretary’s final decision as provided in section 405(g) of this title, and both the individual and the organization shall be entitled to be parties to that judicial review. In applying subsections (b) and (g) of section 405 of this title as provided in this paragraph, and in applying section 405(l) of this title thereto, any reference therein to the Commissioner of Social Security or the Social Security Administration shall be considered a reference to the Secretary or the Department of Health and Human Services, respectively. The provisions of section 1395ff(b)(1)(E)(iii) of this title shall apply with respect to dollar amounts specified in the first 2 sentences of this paragraph in the same manner as they apply to the dollar amounts specified in section 1395ff(b)(1)(E)(i) of this title.
Each Medicare+Choice organization shall meet the requirement of section 1395cc(f) of this title (relating to maintaining written policies and procedures respecting advance directives).
A Medicare+Choice organization shall consult with physicians who have entered into participation agreements with the organization regarding the organization’s medical policy, quality, and medical management procedures.
Subject to subparagraphs (B) and (C), a Medicare+Choice organization (in relation to an individual enrolled under a Medicare+ÐChoice plan offered by the organization under this part) shall not prohibit or otherwise restrict a covered health care professional (as defined in subparagraph (D)) from advising such an individual who is a patient of the professional about the health status of the individual or medical care or treatment for the individual’s condition or disease, regardless of whether benefits for such care or treatment are provided under the plan, if the professional is acting within the lawful scope of practice.
Nothing in subparagraph (B) shall be construed to affect disclosure requirements under State law or under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 [29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq.].
For purposes of this paragraph, the term “health care professional” means a physician (as defined in section 1395x(r) of this title) or other health care professional if coverage for the professional’s services is provided under the Medicare+Choice plan for the services of the professional. Such term includes a podiatrist, optometrist, chiropractor, psychologist, dentist, physician assistant, physical or occupational therapist and therapy assistant, speech-language pathologist, audiologist, registered or licensed practical nurse (including nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, certified registered nurse anesthetist, and certified nurse-midwife), licensed certified social worker, registered respiratory therapist, and certified respiratory therapy technician.
In this paragraph, the term “physician incentive plan” means any compensation arrangement between a Medicare+Choice organization and a physician or physician group that may directly or indirectly have the effect of reducing or limiting services provided with respect to individuals enrolled with the organization under this part.
A Medicare+Choice organization may not provide (directly or indirectly) for a health care professional, provider of services, or other entity providing health care services (or group of such professionals, providers, or entities) to indemnify the organization against any liability resulting from a civil action brought for any damage caused to an enrollee with a Medicare+Choice plan of the organization under this part by the organization’s denial of medically necessary care.
An MA–PD plan may provide for a separate payment or otherwise provide for a differential payment for a participating physician that prescribes covered part D drugs in accordance with an electronic prescription drug program that meets standards established under section 1395w–104(e) of this title.
Additional or increased payments under this subsection may be structured in the same manner as medication therapy management fees are structured under section 1395w–104(c)(2)(E) 1 of this title.
In the case of an individual enrolled in a Medicare+Choice private fee-for-service plan under this part, a physician, provider of services, or other entity that has a contract (including through the operation of subsection (j)(6)) establishing a payment rate for services furnished to the enrollee shall accept as payment in full for covered services under this subchapter that are furnished to such an individual an amount not to exceed (including any deductibles, coinsurance, copayments, or balance billing otherwise permitted under the plan) an amount equal to 115 percent of such payment rate.
The Medicare+Choice organization that offers such a plan shall establish procedures, similar to the procedures described in section 1395w–4(g)(1)(A) of this title, in order to carry out the previous sentence.
If the Medicare+Choice organization fails to establish and enforce procedures required under clause (ii), the organization is subject to intermediate sanctions under section 1395w–27(g) of this title.
Each Medicare+Choice organization that offers a Medicare+Choice private fee-for-service plan shall provide that enrollees under the plan who are furnished services for which payment is sought under the plan are provided an appropriate explanation of benefits (consistent with that provided under parts A and B and, if applicable, under medicare supplemental policies) that includes a clear statement of the amount of the enrollee’s liability (including any liability for balance billing consistent with this subsection) with respect to payments for such services.
The enrollee elects to receive such coverage through such facility.
The facility has a contract with the Medicare+Choice organization for the provision of such services, or the facility agrees to accept substantially similar payment under the same terms and conditions that apply to similarly situated skilled nursing facilities that are under contract with the Medicare+Choice organization for the provision of such services and through which the enrollee would otherwise receive such services.
The organization shall provide payment to the home skilled nursing facility consistent with the contract or the agreement described in subparagraph (A)(ii), as the case may be.
The coverage provided under paragraph (1) (including scope of services, cost-sharing, and other criteria of coverage) shall be no less favorable to the enrollee than the coverage that would be provided to the enrollee with respect to a skilled nursing facility the post-hospital extended care services of which are otherwise covered under the Medicare+Choice plan.
The skilled nursing facility in which the enrollee resided at the time of admission to the hospital preceding the receipt of such post-hospital extended care services.
A skilled nursing facility that is providing such services through a continuing care retirement community (as defined in subparagraph (B)) which provided residence to the enrollee at the time of such admission.
The skilled nursing facility in which the spouse of the enrollee is residing at the time of discharge from such hospital.
The term “continuing care retirement community” means, with respect to an enrollee in a Medicare+Choice plan, an arrangement under which housing and health-related services are provided (or arranged) through an organization for the enrollee under an agreement that is effective for the life of the enrollee or for a specified period.
For plan year 2020 and subsequent plan years, subject to the requirements of paragraph (3), an MA plan may provide additional telehealth benefits (as defined in paragraph (2)) to individuals enrolled under this part.
The term “additional telehealth benefits” does not include capital and infrastructure costs and investments relating to such benefits.
For purposes of this subsection and section 1395w–24 of this title, if a plan provides additional telehealth benefits, such additional telehealth benefits shall be treated as if they were benefits under the original Medicare fee-for-service program option.
Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as affecting the requirement under subsection (a)(1) that MA plans provide enrollees with items and services (other than hospice care) for which benefits are available under parts A and B, including benefits available under section 1395m(m) of this title.
In the case of an individual enrolled under an MA or MA–PD plan who is furnished an in-home health risk assessment on or after
The Secretary shall, through rulemaking, establish criteria the Secretary determines appropriate with respect to information provided to an individual to ensure that such information sufficiently educates such individual on the safe disposal of prescription drugs that are controlled substances.