For the purposes of this section, any reference to you or your also refers to a representative or provider designated by you to act on your behalf; unless otherwise noted.
We want you to be completely satisfied with the care you receive. That is why we have established a process for addressing your concerns and solving your problems.
Start with customer service
We are here to listen and help. If you have a concern regarding a person, a service, the quality of care, contractual benefits, or a rescission of coverage, you may call the toll-free number on your ID card, explanation of benefits, or claim form and explain your concern to one of our Customer Service representatives. You may also express that concern in writing.
We will do our best to resolve the matter on your initial contact. If we need more time to review or investigate your concern, we will get back to you as soon as possible, but in any case within 30 days. If you are not satisfied with the results of a coverage decision, you may start the appeals procedure.
Internal appeals procedure
To initiate an appeal, you must submit a request for an appeal in writing to Cigna within 180 days of receipt of a denial notice. You should state the reason why you feel your appeal should be approved and include any information supporting your appeal. If you are unable or choose not to write, you may ask Cigna to register your appeal by telephone. Call or write us at the toll-free number on your ID card, explanation of benefits, or claim form.
Your appeal will be reviewed and the decision made by someone not involved in the initial decision. Appeals involving Medical Necessity or clinical appropriateness will be considered by a health care professional.
We will respond in writing with a decision within 30 calendar days after we receive an appeal for a required preservice or concurrent care coverage determination or a post-service Medical Necessity determination. We will respond within 60 calendar days after we receive an appeal for any other post-service coverage determination. If more time or information is needed to make the determination, we will notify you in writing to request an extension of up to 15 calendar days and to specify any additional information needed to complete the review.
In the event any new or additional information (evidence) is considered, relied upon or generated by Cigna in connection with the appeal, Cigna will provide this information to you as soon as possible and sufficiently in advance of the decision, so that you will have an opportunity to respond. Also, if any new or additional rationale is considered by Cigna, Cigna will provide the rationale to you as soon as possible and sufficiently in advance of the decision so that you will have an opportunity to respond.
You may request that the appeal process be expedited if, (a) the time frames under this process would seriously jeopardize your life, health or ability to regain maximum functionality or in the opinion of your Physician would cause you severe pain which cannot be managed without the requested services, or (b) your appeal involves nonauthorization of an admission or continuing inpatient Hospital stay.
If you request that your appeal be expedited based on (a) above, you may also ask for an expedited external review at the same time, if the time to complete an expedited review would be detrimental to your medical condition.
When an appeal is expedited, Cigna will respond orally with a decision within 72 hours, followed up in writing.
External review procedure
If you are not fully satisfied with the decision of Cigna's internal appeal review and the appeal involves medical judgment or a rescission of coverage, you may request that your appeal be referred to an Independent Review Organization (IRO). The IRO is composed of persons who are not employed by Cigna, or any of its affiliates. A decision to request an external review to an IRO will not affect the claimant's rights to any other benefits under the Plan.
There is no charge for you to initiate an external review. Cigna and your benefit plan will abide by the decision of the IRO.
To request a review, you must notify the Appeals Coordinator within 4 months of your receipt of Cigna's appeal review denial. Cigna will then forward the file to a randomly selected IRO. The IRO will render an opinion within 45 days.
When requested, and if a delay would be detrimental to your medical condition, as determined by Cigna's Physician Reviewer, or if your appeal concerns an admission, availability of care, continued stay, or health care item or service for which you received emergency services, but you have not yet been discharged from a facility, the external review shall be completed within 72 hours.
Notice of benefit determination on appeal
Every notice of a determination on appeal will be provided in writing or electronically and, if an adverse determination, will include: information sufficient to identify the claim; the specific reason or reasons for the adverse determination; reference to the specific plan provisions on which the determination is based; a statement that the claimant is entitled to receive, upon request and free of charge, reasonable access to and copies of all documents, records, and other Relevant Information as defined below; a statement describing any voluntary appeal procedures offered by the Plan and the claimant's right to bring an action under ERISA section 502(a), if applicable; upon request and free of charge, a copy of any internal rule, guideline, protocol or other similar criterion that was relied upon in making the adverse determination regarding your appeal, and an explanation of the scientific or clinical judgment for a determination that is based on a Medical Necessity, experimental treatment or other similar exclusion or limit, and information about any office of health insurance consumer assistance or ombudsman available to assist you in the appeal process. A final notice of an adverse determination will include a discussion of the decision.
You also have the right to bring a civil action under section 502(a) of ERISA if you are not satisfied with the decision on review. You or your plan may have other voluntary alternative dispute resolution options such as Mediation. One way to find out what may be available is to contact your local U.S. Department of Labor office or the Plan Administrator.
Relevant Information is any document, record or other information which: was relied upon in making the benefit determination; was submitted, considered or generated in the course of making the benefit determination, without regard to whether such document, record, or other information was relied upon in making the benefit determination; demonstrates compliance with the administrative processes and safeguards required by federal law in making the benefit determination, or constitutes a statement of policy or guidance with respect to the Plan concerning the denied treatment option or benefit for the claimant's diagnosis, without regard to whether such advice or statement was relied upon in making the benefit determination.
If your plan is governed by ERISA, you have the right to bring a civil action under section 502(a) of ERISA if you are not satisfied with the outcome of the Appeals Procedure. In most instances, you may not initiate a legal action against Cigna until you have completed the appeal processes. However, no action will be brought at all unless brought within three years after proof of claim is required under the Plan. However, no action will be brought at all unless brought within three years after a claim is submitted for In-Network Services or within three years after proof of claim is required under the Plan for Out-of-Network services.