April 20, 2023

California timely access requirements

As a network health care professional, you’re essential in helping patients get the primary, urgent, preventive and specialty care they need, when they need it. The following appointment access standards are aligned with the state of California’s access requirements.

Please ensure you’re adhering to these appointment availability requirements for your patients who are UnitedHealthcare of California and UnitedHealthcare Benefits Plan of California plan members.

General appointment type Time frame
Non-urgent appointment (ancillary provider) 15 business days
Non-urgent doctor appointment (primary care provider) 10 business days
Non-urgent doctor appointment (specialty physician) 15 business days
Urgent care (prior authorization not required by health plan) 48 hours
Urgent care (prior authorization required by health plan)  96 hours
Behavioral appointment type Time frame
Care for non-life-threatening emergency 6 hours
Urgent care 48 Hours
Appointment for routine office visits offered 10 business days
Non-urgent follow-up appointment (non-physician mental health care or substance use disorder providers) Within 10 business days of prior appointment
Dental appointment type Time frame
Emergency services 24 hours
Urgent appointments Within 72 hours of the time of request for appointment
Non-urgent and preventive dental care appointments 10 business days

New patient resources

If patients are unable to obtain a timely referral to an appropriate provider, they can file a complaint by calling the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) Help Center at 888-466-2219. Patient resources are also available online through the DMHC at


Please contact your provider advocate or visit our Contact Us page for more information.

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