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2024 Transparency Notice
A) Out-of-network liability and balance billing
The Ambetter network is the group of providers, including but not limited to physicians, hospitals, pharmacies, other facilities and health care professionals, we contract with to provide care for you. If a provider is in our network, services are covered by your health insurance plan. Network providers may not bill you for covered expenses beyond your applicable cost sharing amounts (e.g., copayment, coinsurance, and/or a deductible).
If you receive services from a provider that is non-network, you may have to pay more for services you receive. Non-network providers may be permitted to bill you for the difference between what we agreed to pay and the full billed amount charged for a service. This is known as “balance billing.” This amount is likely more than network costs for the same service and might not count toward your annual maximum out-of-pocket limit. However, you will not be balance billed when balance billing protections apply to covered services.
When receiving care at an Ambetter network facility, it is possible that some hospital-based providers may not be network providers. If you provide notice and consent to waive balance billing protections, you may be responsible for payment of all or part of the balance bill. Any amount you are obligated to pay to the non-network provider in excess of the eligible expense will not apply to your deductible amount or maximum out-of-pocket amount.
As a member of Ambetter, non-network providers should not bill you for covered services for any amount greater than your applicable in-network cost sharing responsibilities when:
- You receive a covered emergency service or air ambulance service from a non-network provider. This includes services you may get after you are in stable condition, unless the non-network provider obtains your written consent.
- You receive non-emergency ancillary services (emergency medicine, anesthesiology, pathology, radiology, and neonatology, as well as diagnostic services (including radiology and laboratory services)) from a non-network provider at a network hospital or network ambulatory surgical facility.
- You receive other non-emergency services from a non-network provider at a network hospital or network ambulatory surgical facility, unless the non-network provider obtains your written consent.
B) Enrollee Claim Submission
Providers will typically submit claims on your behalf, but sometimes you may be financially responsible for covered services. This usually happens if:
- Your provider is not contracted with us
- You have an out-of-area emergency
If you have paid for services we agreed to cover, you can request reimbursement for the amount you paid. We can adjust your deductible, copayment or cost sharing to reimburse you. Written notice of claim must be given to the insurer within 20 days after the occurrence or commencement of any loss or as soon as thereafter as is reasonably possible.
To request reimbursement for a covered service, you need a copy of the detailed claim from your provider. You will also need to submit a copy of the Member Reimbursement Claim Form (PDF) posted at Ambetter.SunflowerHealthplan.com under “For Members – Forms and Materials”. Send all the documentation to us at the following address:
Ambetter from Sunflower Health Plan
Attn: Claims Department
P.O. Box 5010
Farmington, MO 63640-5010
After getting your claim, we will let you know we have received it, begin an investigation and request all items necessary to resolve the claim. We will do this in 30 days or less.
We will notify you, in writing, that we have either accepted or rejected your claim for processing within 30 days as well. If we are unable to come to a decision about your claim within 30 days, we will let you know and explain why we need additional time.
We will accept or reject your claim no later than 30 days after we receive it. If we reject your claim, the notice will state the reason why. If we agree to pay all or part of your claim, we will pay it no later than 30 business days after receipt of a clean non-electronic claim or 15 calendar days upon receipt of a clean electronic claim.
C) Grace Periods and Claims Pending
If you don’t pay your premium by its due date, you’ll enter a grace period. This is the extra time we give you to pay.
During your grace period, you will still have coverage. However, if you don’t pay before a grace period ends, you run the risk of losing your coverage. During a grace period, we may hold — or pend — your claim payment.
If your coverage is terminated for not paying your premium, you won’t be eligible to enroll with us again until Open Enrollment or a Special Enrollment period.
If you receive a subsidy payment
After you pay your first bill, you have a 90 day grace period. During the first month of your grace period, we will keep paying claims for covered services you receive. If you continue to receive services during the second and third months of your grace period, we may hold these claims. If your coverage is in the second or third month of a grace period, we will notify you and your healthcare providers about the possibility of denied claims.
If you don’t receive a subsidy payment
After you pay your first bill, you have a grace period of 60 days. During this time, we will continue to cover your care, but we may hold your claims. We will notify you of the non-payment of premiums, as well as providers of the possibility of denied claims.
D) Retroactive Denials
"Retroactive denial of a previously paid claim" or "retroactive denial of payment" means any attempt by a carrier retroactively to collect payments already made to a provider with respect to a claim by reducing other payments currently owed to the provider, by withholding or setting off against future payments, or in any other manner reducing or affecting the future claim payments to the provider.
There are instances where claims may be denied retroactively if you: receive services from a provider or facility that is not in our network; terminate coverage with Ambetter; provide late notification of other coverage due to new coverage; or have a change in circumstance, such as divorce or marriage. This causes Ambetter to request recoupment of payment from the provider.
You can avoid retroactive denials by paying your premiums on time and in full, and making sure you talk to your provider about whether the service performed is a covered benefit. You can also avoid retroactive denials by obtaining your medical services from an in-network provider.
If you believe the denial is in error, you are encouraged to contact Member Services Department by calling the number on your member identification card.
E) Recoupment of Overpayments
Members may call in to request a refund of overpaid premium. Refunds are processed by two methods, electronically or by a manual check. The type of refund that is issued is dependent on the method of payment. Payments made with a debit/credit card via eCashiering, interactive voice response (IVR), auto pay, or member portal, as well as credit card payments sent to our lockbox vendor, will be refunded via eCashering. Payments made via eCheck will also be refunded electronically. Payments made by check to our lockbox vendor and payments that were processed in-house at our Little Rock location must be refunded manually via live check.
F) Medical Necessity and Prior Authorization
Services are only covered if they are medically necessary. Medically necessary services are any medical service, supply or treatment authorized by a physician to prevent, stabilize, diagnose or treat a member’s illness or injury which:
- Is consistent with the symptoms or diagnosis;
- Is provided according to generally accepted medical practice standards;
- Is not custodial care;
- Is not solely for the convenience of the physician or the member;
- Is not experimental or investigational;
- Does not exceed the scope, duration, or intensity of that level of care that is needed to provide safe, adequate and appropriate diagnosis or treatment;
- Is no more costly than an alternative covered service that is likely to produce equivalent therapeutic outcome; and
- When specifically applied to a hospital confinement, it means that the diagnosis and treatment of your medical symptoms or conditions cannot be safely provided as an outpatient.
Charges incurred for treatment not medically necessary are not eligible expenses.
Prior Authorization Required
Some medical and behavioral health covered service expenses require prior authorization. In general, network providers must obtain authorization from us prior to providing a service or supply to a member. However, there are some network eligible service expenses for which you must obtain the prior authorization.
For services or supplies that require prior authorization, as shown on the Schedule of Benefits, you must obtain authorization from us before the member:
- Receives a service or supply from a non-network provider;
- Is admitted into a network facility by a non-network provider; or
- Receives a service or supply from a network provider to which the member was referred by a non-network provider.
Pursuant to the federal No Surprises Act, emergency services received from a non-network provider are covered services without prior authorization.
Prior authorization must be obtained for the following services, except for urgent care or emergency services. This list is not exhaustive, to confirm if a specific service requires Prior authorization, please contact Member Services.
- Non-emergency health care services provided by non-network providers;
- Reconstructive procedures;
- Diagnostic tests such as specialized labs, procedures and high technology imaging;
- Injectable drugs and medications;
- Inpatient health care services;
- Specific surgical procedures;
- Nutritional supplements;
- Pain management services; and
- Transplant services.
Prior authorization requests must be received by telephone, eFax, or provider web portal as follows:
- At least 5 days prior to an elective admission as an inpatient in a hospital, extended care or rehabilitation facility, hospice facility, or residential treatment facility,
- At least 30 days prior to the initial evaluation for organ transplant services,
- At least 30 days prior to receiving clinical trial services,
- Within 24 hours of any inpatient admission, and
- At least 5 days prior to the start of home health care except those members needing home health care after hospice discharge.
After prior authorization has been requested and all required or applicable documentation has been submitted, we will notify you and your provider if the request has been approved as follows:
- For urgent concurrent reviews, within 24 hours of receipt of the request.
- For urgent pre-service reviews, within 72 hours from date of receipt of request.
- For non-urgent pre-service reviews within 15 calendar days of receipt of the request.
- For post-service or retrospective reviews, within 30 calendar days of receipt of the request.
Except for medical emergencies, prior authorization must be obtained before services are rendered or expenses are incurred.
Failure to Obtain Prior Authorization
Failure to comply with the prior authorization requirements will result in benefits being reduced. Please see your Schedule of Benefits for specific details.
Network providers cannot bill you for services for which they fail to obtain prior authorization as required.
Benefits will not be reduced for failure to comply with prior authorization requirements. However, you must contact us as soon as reasonably possible after you receive the emergency services.
G) Drug Exceptions Timeframes and Enrollee Responsibilities
Sometimes members need access to drugs that are not listed on the formulary. Members or providers can submit a drug exception request to us by contacting Member Services or by sending a written request to the following address:
Ambetter from Sunflower Health Plan
8325 Lenexa Dr.
Lenexa, KS 66214
1. Standard exception request
A member, a member’s authorized representative or a member’s prescribing physician may request a standard review of a decision that a drug is not covered by us or a protocol exception for step therapy. The request can be made in writing or via telephone. Within 72 hours of the request being received, we will provide the member, the member’s authorized representative or the member’s prescribing physician with our coverage determination. Should the standard exception request or step therapy protocol exception request be granted, we will provide coverage of the non-formulary drug for the duration of the prescription, including refills, or of the drug that is the subject of the protocol exception.
2. Expedited exception request
A member, a member’s authorized representative or a member’s prescribing physician may request an expedited review based on exigent circumstances. Exigent circumstances exist when a member is suffering from a health condition that may seriously jeopardize the member's life, health, or ability to regain maximum function or when a member is undergoing a current course of treatment using a non-formulary drug. Within 24 hours of the request being received, we will provide the member, the member’s authorized representative or the member’s prescribing physician with our coverage determination. Should the standard exception or step therapy protocol exception request be granted, we will provide coverage of the non-formulary drug or the drug that is the subject of the protocol exception for the duration of the exigency.
3. External exception request review
If we deny a request for a standard exception or for an expedited exception, the member, the member’s authorized representative or the member’s prescribing physician may request that the original exception request and subsequent denial of such request be reviewed by an independent review organization. We will make our determination on the external exception request and notify the member, the member’s authorized representative or the member’s prescribing physician of our coverage determination no later than three business days following receipt of the request, if the original request was a standard exception, and no later than one business day following its receipt of the request, if the original request was an expedited exception.
If we grant an external exception review of a standard exception or step therapy protocol exception request, we will provide coverage of the non-formulary drug or the drug that is the subject of the protocol exception for the duration of the prescription. If we grant an external exception review of an expedited exception request, we will provide coverage of the non-formulary drug or the drug that is the subject of the protocol exception for the duration of the exigency.
H) Information on Explanations of Benefits
An Explanation of Benefits (EOB) is a statement that we send to members to explain what medical treatments and/or services we paid for on behalf of a member. This shows the amount billed by the provider, the issuer’s payment, and the enrollee’s financial responsibility pursuant to the terms of the policy. We will send an EOB to a member after we receive and adjudicate a claim on your behalf from a provider. If you need assistance interpreting your Explanation of Benefits, please contact Member Services.
I) Coordination of Benefits (COB)
Ambetter from Sunflower Health Plan coordinates benefits with other payers when a member is covered by more than one plan. It is a contractual provision of a majority of health benefit contracts. Ambetter from Sunflower Health Plan complies with federal and state regulations for COB and follows COB guidelines published by National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
Under COB, the benefits of one plan are determined to be primary and are first applied to the cost of care. After considering what has been covered by the primary plan, the secondary plan may cover the cost of care up to the fully allowed expense according to the plan’s payment guidelines. Ambetter from Sunflower Health Plan COB and Recovery Unit procedures are designed to avoid payment in excess of allowable expense while also making sure claims are processed both accurately and timely.