MA Part C reopenings - Chapter 7, 2022 UnitedHealthcare Administrative Guide

CMS requires us to adhere to the appropriate handling of reopenings of our determination. A reopening is a remedial action taken to change a final determination or decision, even though the determination or decision was correct based on the evidence of record.

Reopening reason categories:

  • New and Material Evidence — documentation not previously available or known during the decision making process that could possibly result in a different decision.
  • Clerical Error — includes such human and mechanical errors as mathematical or computational mistakes, inaccurate coding and computer errors, inaccurate data entry, and denial of claims as duplicates.
  • Fraud or Similar Fault — post-service decision when reliable evidence shows the decision was procured by fraud or similar fault when the claim is auto-adjudicated in the system.

Reopening requests made by a member, member’s authorized representative, or a non-contracted health care provider, must be:

  • Clearly stated.
  • Include the specific reason for the reopening.
  • In writing or verbal.
  • Filed within the prescribed periods.

The request does not have to use the actual term “reopening.” We must process a clerical error as a reopening, instead of an appeal.

A request for a reopening may occur under the following conditions:

  • A binding determination or decision has been issued.
  • The 60-calendar-day time frame for filing a reconsideration has expired.
  • There is no active appeal pending at any level.

Types of determinations or requests that cannot be reopened are as follows:

  • A pre-service determination cannot be reopened for any reason other than for a clerical error, unless the 60-calendar-day period to file a reconsideration has expired.
  • Upon receipt of previously requested documentation for a pre-service determination denied due to lack of information, the delegate must consider and submit to us as a reconsideration, unless there is a clerical error.
  • A pre-service determination made as part of the appeals process.
  • Upon request for a peer-to-peer review following an adverse pre-service determination, if the member, member’s representative, or non-contracted health care provider provides new and material evidence not previously known or available, which changes the decision or the rationale for the prior decision, we will not review as a reopening and will provide instructions on how to file a reconsideration.

Impact on peer-to-peer requests

We offer a peer-to-peer discussion with the medical director that made the pre-service determination. Once a pre-service adverse determination has been made, Medicare does not allow the decision to be changed as a result of the peer-to-peer discussion. You must submit any additional information from the post decision discussion if you want to submit a Medicare appeal.

To allow for a change in decision as a result of a peer-to-peer discussion, we have a pre-decision peer-to-peer window for standard clinical denials (excludes expedited and administrative denials). This is for outpatient and inpatient pre-service requests. We reach out to offer a 24-hour window, prior to finalizing a potential adverse determination, to allow for the discussion between the physician and the medical director. If we receive additional information during this pre-decision peer- to-peer window, it can change the final decision of the determination. If the discussion does not happen before the end of the 24-hour window, the decision is finalized and any peer-to-peer discussion that follows is informational only.