File No. 35104

This rule was published in the August 15, 2011, issue (Vol. 2011, No. 16) of the Utah State Bulletin.

Insurance, Administration

Rule R590-203

Health Grievance Review Process

Notice of Proposed Rule


DAR File No.: 35104
Filed: 08/01/2011 05:00:12 PM


Purpose of the rule or reason for the change:

This rule is being changed as a result of comments received from the insurance industry in a hearing held 06/09/2011 and during the comment period for an earlier amendment to this rule published in the May 15, 2011 Bulletin under DAR No. 34768.

Summary of the rule or change:

Amendments to the rule include: in Section R590-203-4, adds "Disability Income insurance" to the definition of "Carrier" because the rule applies to health insurance and disability income; "Urgent Care" has also been amended to refer to the opinion of the insured's attending provider; Subsection R590-203-6(1) has returned "medical necessity," which had previously been deleted; Section R590-203-9 has been eliminated since it is no longer needed; and the enforcement date is changed to the date the amendments go into effect.

State statutory or constitutional authorization for this rule:

  • Section 31A-22-629
  • Section 31A-4-116
  • Section 31A-2-201
  • Section 31A-2-203

Anticipated cost or savings to:

the state budget:

The amendments to this rule will have no effect on the state or department's budget since they are mainly for clarification purposes and will not create additional filings or change in the department's revenues or expenditures.

local governments:

The amendments to this rule will have no effect on local government since the changes are for clarification purposes only and deal solely with the relationship between a licensed insurance company and insured or other individual with a claim against the insurer.

small businesses:

The return of "medical necessities" limits the need for independent reviews, which will be a cost savings to businesses.

persons other than small businesses, businesses, or local governmental entities:

Disability income insurance is assured of the availability of independent review.

Compliance costs for affected persons:

The return of "medical necessities" limits the need for independent reviews, which will be a cost savings to businesses.

Comments by the department head on the fiscal impact the rule may have on businesses:

This rule creates no costs but instead a savings for businesses.

Neal T. Gooch, Commissioner

The full text of this rule may be inspected, during regular business hours, at the Division of Administrative Rules, or at:

SALT LAKE CITY, UT 84114-1201

Direct questions regarding this rule to:

  • Jilene Whitby at the above address, by phone at 801-538-3803, by FAX at 801-538-3829, or by Internet E-mail at

Interested persons may present their views on this rule by submitting written comments to the address above no later than 5:00 p.m. on:


Interested persons may attend a public hearing regarding this rule:

  • 09/08/2011 03:00 PM, State Office Building, 450 N State, Room 3112, Salt Lake City, UT

This rule may become effective on:


Authorized by:

Jilene Whitby, Information Specialist


R590. Insurance, Administration.

R590-203. Health Grievance Review Process.

R590-203-2. Purpose.

The purpose of this rule is to ensure that a carrier's grievance review procedures for individual and group health insurance and disability income insurance plans comply with 29 CFR 2560.503-1, and Sections 31A-4-116 and 31A-22-629.


R590-203-4. Definitions.

In addition to the definitions in Section 31A-1-301, the following definitions shall apply for the purposes of this rule:

(1)(a) "Adverse benefit determination" means the:

(i) denial of a benefit;

(ii) reduction of a benefit;

(iii) termination of a benefit; or

(iv) failure to provide or make payment, in whole or in part, for a benefit.

(b) "Adverse benefit determination" includes:

(i) denial, reduction, termination, or failure to provide or make payment that is based on a determination of an insured's eligibility to participate in a plan;

(ii) a denial, reduction, or termination of, or a failure to provide or make payment, in whole or in part, for, a benefit resulting from the application of a utilization review; and

(iii) failure to cover an item or service for which benefits are otherwise provided because it is determined to be:

(A) experimental;

(B) investigational; or

(C) not a medical necessity or appropriate.

(2) "Carrier" means any person or entity that provides health insurance or disability income insurance in this state including:

(a) an insurance company;

(b) a prepaid hospital or medical care plan;

(c) a health maintenance organization;

(d) a multiple employer welfare arrangement; and

(e) any other person or entity providing a health insurance or disability income insurance plan under Title 31A.

(3) "Consumer Representative" may be an employee of the carrier who is a consumer of a health insurance or a disability income policy, as long as the employee is not:

(a) the individual who made the adverse determination; or

(b) a subordinate to the individual who made the adverse determination.

(4) "Medical Necessity" means:

(a) health care services or products that a prudent health care professional would provide to a patient for the purpose of preventing, diagnosing or treating an illness, injury, disease or its symptoms in a manner that is:

(i) in accordance with generally accepted standards of medical practice in the United States;

(ii) clinically appropriate in terms of type, frequency, extent, site, and duration;

(iii) not primarily for the convenience of the patient, physician, or other health care provider; and

(iv) covered under the contract; and

(b) that when a medical question-of-fact exists medical necessity shall include the most appropriate available supply or level of service for the individual in question, considering potential benefits and harms to the individual, and known to be effective.

(i) For interventions not yet in widespread use, the effectiveness shall be based on scientific evidence.

(ii) For established interventions, the effectiveness shall be based on:

(A) scientific evidence;

(B) professional standards; and

(C) expert opinion.

(5)(a) "Scientific evidence" means:

(i) scientific studies published in or accepted for publication by medical journals that meet nationally recognized requirements for scientific manuscripts and that submit most of their published articles for review by experts who are not part of the editorial staff; or

(ii) findings, studies or research conducted by or under the auspices of federal government agencies and nationally recognized federal research institutes.

(b) Scientific evidence shall not include published peer-reviewed literature sponsored to a significant extent by a pharmaceutical manufacturing company or medical device manufacturer or a single study without other supportable studies.

(6)(a) "Urgent care claim" means a request for a health care service or course of treatment with respect to which the time periods for making non-urgent care request determination:

(i) could seriously jeopardize the life or health of the insured or the ability of the insured to regain maximum function; or

(ii) in the opinion of [a physician with knowledge of the insured's medical condition]the insured's attending provider, would subject the insured to severe pain that cannot be adequately managed without the health care service or treatment that is the subject of the request.

(b)(i) Except as provided in Subsection (6)(a)(ii), in determining whether a request is to be treated as an urgent care request, an individual acting on behalf of the carrier shall apply the judgment of a prudent layperson who possesses an average knowledge of health and medicine.

(ii) Any request that a physician with knowledge of the insured's medical condition determines is an urgent care request within the meaning of Subsection (6)(a) shall be treated as an urgent care claim.


R590-203-6. Independent and Expedited Adverse Benefit Determination Reviews for Health Insurance.

(1) A carrier shall provide an independent review procedure as a voluntary option for the resolution of adverse benefit determinations of medical necessity.

(2) An independent review procedure shall be conducted by an independent review organization, person, or entity other than the carrier, the plan, the plan's fiduciary, the employer, or any employee or agent of any of the foregoing, that do not have any material professional, familial, or financial conflict of interest with the health plan, any officer, director, or management employee of the health plan, the enrollee, the enrollee's health care provider, the provider's medical group or independent practice association, the health care facility where service would be provided and the developer or manufacturer of the service being provided.

(3) Independent review organizations shall be designated by the carrier, and the independent review organization chosen shall not own or control, be a subsidiary of, or in any way be owned or controlled by, or exercise control with a health insurance plan, a national, state, or local trade association of health insurance plans, and a national, state, or local trade association of health care providers.

(4) The submission to an independent review procedure is purely voluntary and left to the discretion of the claimant.

(5) A carrier's voluntary independent review procedure shall:

(a) waive any right to assert that a claimant has failed to exhaust administrative remedies because the claimant did not elect to submit a dispute of medical necessity to a voluntary level of appeal provided by the plan;

(b) agree that any statute of limitations or other defense based on timeliness is tolled during the time a voluntary appeal is pending;

(c) allow a claimant to submit a dispute of medical necessity to a voluntary level of appeal only after exhaustion of the appeals permitted under 29 CFR Subsection 2560.503-1(c)(2);

(d) upon request from any claimant, provide sufficient information relating to the voluntary level of appeal to enable the claimant to make an informed decision about whether to submit a dispute of medical necessity to the voluntary level of appeal. This information shall contain a statement that the decision to use a voluntary level of appeal will not [e]affect the claimant's rights to any other benefits under the plan and information about the applicable rules, the claimant's right to representation, and the process for selecting the decision maker.

(e) An independent review conducted in compliance with Section 31A-22-629, and this rule, can be binding on both parties. A claimant's submission to a binding independent review is purely voluntary and appropriate disclosure and notification must be given as required by 29 CFR 2560.503-1.

(6) Standards for voluntary independent review:

(a) The carrier's internal adverse benefit determination process must be exhausted unless the carrier and claimant mutually agree to waive the internal process.

(b) Any adverse benefit determination of medical necessity may be the subject of an independent review.

(c) The claimant has 180 calendar days from the date of the final internal review decision to request an independent review.

(d) A carrier shall use the same minimum standards and times of notification requirement for an independent review that are used for internal levels of review, as set forth in 29 CFR Subsection 2560.503-1(h)(3), (i)(2) and (j).

(7) A carrier shall provide an expedited review process for cases involving urgent care claims.

(8) A request for an expedited review of an adverse benefit determination of medical necessity may be submitted either orally or in writing. If the request is made orally a carrier shall, within 24 hours, send written confirmation to the claimant acknowledging the receipt of the request for an expedited review.

(9) An expedited review requires:

(a) all necessary information, including the plan's original benefit determination, be transmitted between the plan and the claimant by telephone, facsimile, or other available similarly expeditious method;

(b) a carrier to notify the claimant of the benefit review determination, as soon as possible, taking into account the medical urgency, but not later than 72 hours after receipt of the claimant's request for review of an adverse benefit determination; and

(c) a carrier to use the same minimum standard for timing and notification as set forth in 29 CFR Subsection 2560.503-1(h), 503-1(i)(2)(i), and 503-1(j).

(10) This section, R590-203-6, does not apply to disability income policies.


R590-203-9. [Relationship to Federal Rules.

If a carrier complies with the requirements of 29 CFR 2560.503-1, then this rule is not applicable to employer plans, except for Sections 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 of this rule. All individual plans will remain subject to this rule in its entirety.


R590-203-10. ] Enforcement Date.

The commissioner shall begin enforcing the revised provisions of this rule [July 1, 2011]on the effective date.


R590-203-[11]10. Severability.

If a provision or clause of this rule or its application to any person or circumstance is for any reason held to be invalid, the remainder of the rule and the application of these provisions shall not be affected.


KEY: insurance

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment: [June 30, ]2011

Notice of Continuation: April 17, 2007

Authorizing, and Implemented or Interpreted Law: 31A-2-201; 31A-2-203; 31A-4-116; 31A-22-629


Additional Information

The Portable Document Format (PDF) version of the Bulletin is the official version. The PDF version of this issue is available at The HTML edition of the Bulletin is a convenience copy. Any discrepancy between the PDF version and HTML version is resolved in favor of the PDF version.

Text to be deleted is struck through and surrounded by brackets (e.g., [example]). Text to be added is underlined (e.g., example).  Older browsers may not depict some or any of these attributes on the screen or when the document is printed.

For questions regarding the content or application of this rule, please contact Jilene Whitby at the above address, by phone at 801-538-3803, by FAX at 801-538-3829, or by Internet E-mail at