A. Any member who is denied a covered service or whose claim for a service is denied may pursue the applicable review process prescribed in this article.  Except as provided in sections 20-2534 and 20-2535, health care insurers shall provide at least the following levels of review, as applicable:

Terms Used In Arizona Laws 20-2533

  • Adverse decision: means a utilization review determination by the utilization review agent that a requested service or claim for service is not a covered service or is not medically necessary under the plan if that determination results in a documented denial or nonpayment of the service or claim. See Arizona Laws 20-2501
  • Appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.
  • Claim: means a request for payment for a service already provided. See Arizona Laws 20-2501
  • Complaint: A written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant.
  • Covered service: means a service that is included in a policy, evidence of coverage or similar document that specifies which services, insurance or other benefits are included or covered. See Arizona Laws 20-2501
  • Denial: means a direct or indirect determination regarding all or part of a request for any service or a direct determination regarding a claim that may trigger a request for review or reconsideration. See Arizona Laws 20-2501
  • Department: means the department of insurance. See Arizona Laws 20-2501
  • Director: means the director of the department of insurance. See Arizona Laws 20-2501
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • Health care insurer: means a disability insurer, group disability insurer, blanket disability insurer, health care services organization, hospital service corporation, prepaid dental plan organization, medical service corporation, dental service corporation or optometric service corporation or a hospital, medical, dental and optometric service corporation. See Arizona Laws 20-2501
  • including: means not limited to and is not a term of exclusion. See Arizona Laws 1-215
  • Indirect denial: means a failure to communicate authorization or nonauthorization to the member by the utilization review agent within ten business days after the utilization review agent receives the request for a covered service. See Arizona Laws 20-2501
  • Obligation: An order placed, contract awarded, service received, or similar transaction during a given period that will require payments during the same or a future period.
  • Person: includes a corporation, company, partnership, firm, association or society, as well as a natural person. See Arizona Laws 1-215
  • Process: means a citation, writ or summons issued in the course of judicial proceedings. See Arizona Laws 1-215
  • Provider: means the physician or other licensed practitioner identified to the utilization review agent as having primary responsibility for providing care, treatment and services rendered to a patient. See Arizona Laws 20-2501
  • Service: means a diagnostic or therapeutic medical or health care service, benefit or treatment. See Arizona Laws 20-2501
  • Utilization review: means a system for reviewing the appropriate and efficient allocation of inpatient hospital resources, inpatient medical services and outpatient surgery services that are being given or are proposed to be given to a patient, and of any medical, surgical and health care services or claims for services that may be covered by a health care insurer depending on determinable contingencies, including without limitation outpatient services, in-office consultations with medical specialists, specialized diagnostic testing, mental health services, emergency care and inpatient and outpatient hospital services. See Arizona Laws 20-2501
  • Utilization review agent: means a person or entity that performs utilization review. See Arizona Laws 20-2501

1. An expedited medical review and expedited appeal pursuant to section 20-2534.

2. An informal reconsideration pursuant to section 20-2535.

3. A formal appeal process pursuant to section 20-2536.

4. An external independent review pursuant to section 20-2537.

B. A health care insurer may offer additional levels of review other than the levels prescribed in subsection A of this section as long as the additional levels of review do not increase the time period limitations prescribed by this article.

C. At the time coverage is initiated, each health care insurer that operates in this state and whose utilization review system includes the power to affect the direct or indirect denial of requested medical or health care services or claims for medical or health care services shall include a separate information packet that is approved by the director with the member’s policy, evidence of coverage or similar document.  At the time coverage is renewed, each health care insurer shall include a separate statement with the member’s policy, evidence of coverage or similar document that informs the member that the member can obtain a replacement packet that explains the appeal process by contacting a specific department and telephone number.  A health care insurer shall also provide a copy of the information packet to the member or the member’s treating provider on request and to the member within five business days after the date the appeal is initiated pursuant to section 20-2534, 20-2535 or 20-2536.  The information packet provided by the health care insurer shall include all of the following information:

1. A detailed description and explanation of each level of review prescribed in subsection A of this section and notice of the member’s right to proceed to the next level of review if the prior review is unsuccessful.

2. An explanation of the procedures that the member must follow, including the applicable time periods, for each level of review prescribed in subsection A of this section and an explanation of how the member may obtain the member’s medical records pursuant to title 12, chapter 13, article 7.1.

3. The specific title and department of the person and the address, telephone number and telefacsimile number of that person whom the member must notify at each level of review prescribed in subsection A of this section in order to pursue that level of review.

4. The specific title and department of the person and the address, telephone number and telefacsimile number of the person who will be responsible for processing that review.

5. A notice that if the member decides to pursue an appeal the member must provide the person who will be responsible for processing the appeal with any material justification or documentation for the appeal at the time that the member files the written appeal.

6. A description of the utilization review agent‘s and health care insurer’s roles at each level of review prescribed by subsection A of this section and an outline of the director’s role during the external independent review process, if not already described in response to paragraph 1 of this subsection.

7. A notice that if the member participates in the process of review pursuant to this article the member waives any privilege of confidentiality of the member’s medical records regarding any person who examined or will examine the member’s medical records in connection with that review process for the medical condition under review.

8. A statement that the member is not responsible for the costs of any external independent review.

9. Standardized forms that are prescribed by the department and that a member may use to file and pursue an appeal.

10. The name and telephone number for the department of insurance consumer assistance office with a statement that the department of insurance consumer assistance office can assist consumers with questions about the health care appeals process.

D. At the time of issuing a denial, the health care insurer shall notify the member of the right to appeal under this article.  A health care insurer that issues an explanation of benefits document shall satisfy this obligation by prominently displaying in the document a statement about the right to appeal.  A health care insurer that does not issue an explanation of benefits document shall satisfy this obligation through some other reasonable means to assure that the member is apprised of the right to appeal at the time of a denial.  A reasonable means that includes giving the member’s treating provider a form statement about the right to appeal shall require the treating provider to notify the member of the member’s right to appeal.

E. Any written notice, acknowledgment, request, decision or other written document required to be mailed pursuant to this article is deemed received by the person to whom the document is properly addressed on the fifth business day after the request is mailed.  For the purposes of this subsection "properly addressed" means the last known address.

F. The director shall require any member who files a complaint with the department relating to an adverse decision to pursue the review process prescribed in this article.  This subsection does not limit the director’s authority pursuant to chapter 1, article 2 of this title.

G. If the member’s complaint is an issue of medical necessity under the coverage document and not whether the claim or service is covered, the informal reconsideration shall be performed as prescribed by section 20-2535 by a licensed health care professional.  If the member’s complaint is an issue of medical necessity under the coverage document and not whether the claim or service is covered, the expedited review or formal appeal shall be decided by a physician, provider or other health care professional as prescribed by section 20-2534 or 20-2536.  Any external independent review shall be decided by a physician, provider or other health care professional as prescribed by section 20-2537.

H. Any person given access to a member’s medical records or other medical information in connection with proceedings pursuant to this article shall maintain the confidentiality of the records or information in accordance with title 12, chapter 13, article 7.1.