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UnitedHealthcare to implement outpatient advanced radiology policy

Effective January 1, 2019, UnitedHealthcare (UHC) will require prior authorization for certain advanced imaging procedures when performed in the outpatient hospital setting. As highlighted in the UnitedHealthcare Network Bulletin October 2018, certain magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic resonance angiography and computed tomography imaging procedures will now be subject to a site of care review when performed in the outpatient hospital under UHC’s Outpatient Radiology Notification/Prior Authorization Protocol. Site of care reviews will not be done as part of the prior authorization process if a procedure will be performed in a free-standing diagnostic ...

First-ever TRICARE open enrollment begins November 12

Beginning November 12 and running through December 10, 2018, TRICARE will initiate its first ever open enrollment period for beneficiaries to enroll in or change their TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select health plan coverage. Beneficiaries already enrolled who want to continue with their current plan without changes do not need to do anything. Any changes made during the 2018 open enrollment will be effective January 1, 2019. Outside of open enrollment, beneficiaries enrolled in Prime or Select will only be able to make a plan change if they have ...

Some Medi-Cal managed care plans slow to distribute Prop 56 funds

In May, the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) distributed the Proposition 56 supplemental funds for FY 2017-2018 to the Medi-Cal managed care plans. At the California Medical Association’s request, DHCS specified that plans must distribute the funds to providers within 90 days. However, the 90-day window ended August 31 and CMA has received complaints from physicians that some plans have still not issued supplemental payments. The supplemental payments are a result of the California Health Care, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016 (Prop 56), which created ...

IEHP completes termination of Vantage contract; three plans extend termination dates

The California Medical Association (CMA) has confirmed that Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) completed its contract termination with Vantage on August 31, 2018. IEHP transitioned its 273,000 covered lives to the following delegated groups: Receiving Provider Group Number of Enrollees Alpha Care Medical Group 80,190 La Salle Medical Associates 74,428 IEHP Direct 74,176 ...

What you need to know about Blue Shield of California's Care1st integration

On January 1, 2019, Blue Shield of California will complete the integration of Care1st Health Plan into its operations, and Care1st’s name will change to Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan. The newly renamed health plan will remain a separate company and a wholly owned subsidiary of Blue Shield of California. Care1st physicians serving Medicare Advantage HMO, Medi-Cal or Cal MediConnect members will not need to contract with Blue Shield of California to continue providing services, and participating physicians will receive a mailed contract amendment later this year that ...

Coding Corner: CPT reporting for preventive medicine services

CPR’s “Coding Corner” focuses on coding, compliance, and documentation issues relating specifically to physician billing. This month’s tip comes from John Verhovshek, the managing editor for AAPC, a training and credentialing association for the business side of health care. Preventive medicine services, or “well visits,” are evaluation and management (E/M) services provided to a patient without a chief complaint. The reason for the visit is not an illness or injury (or signs or symptoms of an illness or injury), but rather to evaluate the patient’s overall health, and to identify ...

DHCS receives approval on Medi-Cal supplemental tobacco tax payments for FY 2018-2019

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) recently received federal approval on its plan to increase Medi-Cal fee-for-service physician payments for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The supplemental payments—made possible by the Proposition 56 tobacco tax funding—will raise payments for a total of 23 CPT codes, including 10 new preventive CPT codes. DHCS will be increasing the supplemental payment for the previously eligible CPT codes to 85 percent of Medicare (a 40 percent average increase in payments for these eligible codes compared with 2017 – 2018 payment levels). The 10 ...

Have you received your supplemental Medi-Cal managed care payments?

The California Health Care, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016 (Prop 56) created new revenues dedicated to the Medi-Cal program. Physicians receive supplemental payments in both fee-for-service and Medi-Cal managed care when providing Medi-Cal services under certain CPT codes.  While the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) began disbursing FY 2017-2018 supplemental fee-for-service payments in January 2018, federal approval of the supplemental Medi-Cal managed care payments was delayed. This resulted in delayed payment for Medi-Cal managed care services. DHCS began dispersing the FY 2017-2018 funds to the plans ...

Health Net addresses problems with explanation of payment

On August 21, 2018, Health Net notified providers that some paper explanation of payment (EOPs), commonly known as explanations of benefits, for commercial exchange enrollees were not displaying amounts correctly. This problem prevented providers from properly reconciling the amount Health Net is responsible for or the patient cost-sharing.  Health Net reports it has resolved all issues related to the misprinted EOPs, except in instances where the enrollee’s cost share may not be correctly displaying a figure that includes any coinsurance amount. Health Net advises that a fix for the cost ...

UnitedHealthcare to discontinue use of fax numbers for medical prior authorization requests

UnitedHealthcare announced in its September 2018 Network Bulletin that it will begin retiring fax numbers utilized for medical prior authorization requests beginning January 1, 2019. Providers will be directed to utilize the Prior Authorization and Notification tool on Link, the UHC website currently utilized to check eligibility and benefits, manage claims and update provider demographic information. The following fax numbers will be retiring as of January 1, 2019: (877) 269-1045 (866) 362-6101 (866) 892-4582 (866) 589-4848 ...