When the internal review of an adverse benefit determination is final, or is deemed exhausted, the appellant may request an external independent review of the final internal adverse benefit determination. Carriers and health plans must inform appellants of their right to external independent review, and explain the process to exercise that right. If the appellant requests an external independent review of a final internal adverse determination, the carrier or health plan must cooperatively participate in that review.
(1) Appellants must be provided the right to external review of adverse benefit determinations based on medical necessity, appropriateness, health care setting, level of care, or that the requested service or supply is not efficacious or otherwise unjustified under evidence-based medical criteria. The carrier may not establish a minimum dollar amount restriction as a predicate for an appellant to seek external independent review.
(2) Carriers must use the rotational registry system of certified independent review organizations (IRO) established by the commissioner, and must select reviewing IROs in the rotational manner described in the rotational registry system, using the commissioner's online service. A carrier may not make an assignment to an IRO out of sequence for any reason other than the existence of a conflict of interest, as set forth in WAC 284-43A-050
(3) The rotational registry system, a current list of certified IROs, IRO assignment instructions, and an IRO assignment form to be used by carriers, are available on the insurance commissioner's web site (www.insurance.wa.gov).
(4) In addition to the requirements set forth in RCW 48.43.535
, the carrier and health plan must:
(a) Make available to the appellant and to any provider acting on behalf of the appellant all materials provided to an IRO reviewing the carrier's determination;
(b) Provide IRO review without imposing any cost to the appellant or their provider;
(c) Provide IROs with:
(i) All relevant clinical review criteria used by the carrier and other relevant medical, scientific, and cost-effectiveness evidence;
(ii) The attending or ordering provider's recommendations; and
(iii) A copy of the terms and conditions of coverage under the relevant health plan.
(d) Within one day of selecting the IRO, notify the appellant of the name of the IRO and its contact information. This requirement is intended to comply with the federal standard that appellants receive notice of the IRO's identity and contact information within one day of assignment. The notice from the carrier must explain that the IRO will accept additional information in writing from the appellant for up to five business days after it receives the assignment. The IRO must consider this information when conducting its review.
(5) A carrier may waive a requirement that internal appeals must be exhausted before an appellant may proceed to an independent review of an adverse determination.
(6) Upon receipt of the information provided by the appellant to the IRO pursuant to RCW 48.43.535
and this section, a carrier may reverse its final internal adverse determination. If it does so, it must immediately notify the IRO and the appellant.
(7) Carriers must report to the commissioner each assignment made to an IRO not later than one business day after an assignment is made. Information regarding the enrollee's personal health may not be provided with the report.
(8) Each carrier and health plan must submit final independent review organization (IRO) decision determination information to the commissioner's online service within three business days of receipt of the IRO's final decision. Data elements and procedures for submission are located on the office of the insurance commissioner's web site.
(9) The requirements of this section are in addition to the requirements set forth in RCW 48.43.535
, and rules adopted in subchapter B of this chapter.