How To Appeal A Health Insurance Claim Denial – Forbes Advisor


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A health care provider typically submits a claim to your medical insurance company after you receive treatment, services, medications or medical goods. The insurance company reviews the claim and decides in case your health plan covers the service and the way much the provider should get reimbursed. That call influences how much you pay.

A medical insurance company could deny a claim or pay much lower than you expected. But there may be a medical insurance claim appeal process in case you consider your health plan should pay for that care.

What Is a Health Insurance Claim?

A medical insurance claim is a request for payment submitted by you or your health care provider to your medical insurance company after you receive services, treatment, medications or medical goods that you simply consider are covered by your insurance plan. An accepted claim covers the bill in full or partly and reimburses the provider or patient for these costs.

Your insurer may deny the claim and refuse to pay or reimburse for the services or treatment. Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 18% of in-network medical insurance claims were denied by Reasonably priced Care Act marketplace medical insurance corporations in 2020.

Coverage area

Offers plans in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Variety of providers in network

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Coverage area:

Offers plans in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Variety of providers in network

About 1.7 million

Physician copays start at


Coverage area

Offers plans in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Variety of providers in network

About 1.5 million

Physician copays start at


Why Would a Health Insurance Claim Be Denied?

A medical insurance company may deny a claim for a lot of reasons, including:

  • The treatment or service isn’t deemed medically needed or appropriate.
  • The plan doesn’t cover the treatment, service, medication or goods.
  • The health care provider isn’t in your plan’s network.
  • Your insurer requires preauthorization or a referral out of your primary care physician.
  • The treatment is taken into account investigational or experimental.
  • Your coverage has lapsed otherwise you aren’t enrolled with the insurer any longer.
  • A paperwork or data entry error prevented the claim from being processed appropriately.
  • The claim wasn’t filed on time.

Denied claims vs. rejected claims

A “denied” claim is definitely different from a “rejected” claim. Here’s the difference:

  • A denied claim is one which the insurer finds isn’t payable. These claims could also be unpayable because of important errors or they violate the provider’s contract.
  • A rejected claim has a number of errors discovered before the claim was processed, actually because there was missing or incomplete information on the claim form.

Patients or providers are typically informed a couple of denied claim through a mailed or emailed Explanation of Advantages or Electronic Remittance Advice. Insurers will normally explain why they denied a claim once they send the denied claim back to the submitting party. Most denied claims could be appealed.

Rejected claims should be corrected and resubmitted by you or your health care provider. In the event that they’re eventually denied, rejected claims almost definitely could be appealed.

What’s an expedited appeal?

You’ll be able to request an expedited appeal in case you consider waiting for a claim decision may put your health in danger, equivalent to in case you urgently require medication or are currently within the hospital.

An expedited appeal is allowable if the timeline for the usual appeal process would significantly endanger your life or your ability to regain maximum function. On this case, you might file an internal appeal and an external review request concurrently.

To request an expedited appeal, explain in your appeal request form that you simply need a faster appeal and indicate the health reasons in your appeal request letter.

Expedited appeal decisions are typically given quickly, based on the urgency of the patient’s health condition. Normally, this decision is given inside three calendar days from the initial date the appeal was received.

Two Ways to Appeal a Health Insurance Claim Denial

There are two ways to appeal the denial of a medical insurance claim: an internal review appeal and an external review appeal.

Internal review

An internal review appeal, also called a “grievance procedure,” is a request in your insurer to review and reconsider its decision to disclaim coverage in your claim. You might have a right to file an internal appeal. By doing so, you’re asking your insurer to conduct a good and complete review of its decision.

External review

In case your insurer continues to disclaim coverage for a disputed claim, you’ve gotten the suitable to pursue an external review appeal. An independent third party performs this. It’s called “external” because your insurer will now not have the ultimate decision over whether or to not pay for a claim.

Steps Involved With Appealing a Health Insurance Claim Denial

Step 1: Discover why the claim was denied

When you received notification out of your insurer that your claim was denied, read through the correspondence rigorously, including any Explanation of Advantages provided.

Your insurer is legally required to notify you in writing and explain why your claim was denied inside 15 days in case you’re in search of prior authorization for a treatment, inside 30 days for medical services already received or inside 72 hours for matters of urgent care.

If the reason isn’t satisfactory or unclear, try contacting your insurer and learning more. Fastidiously document any communication along with your insurance.

Step 2: Ask your doctor for help

Contact your physician’s office and ask why they consider your insurer denied your claim. It would simply be a difficulty just like the provider office entered the flawed payment code.

Ask them to confirm that the treatment or service provided was medically needed and that the suitable medical code was submitted to the insurer. Document anything you learn.

Gather documentation out of your provider, including health records, dates, a replica of the claim form they submitted and possibly a fresh letter out of your doctor requesting that the claim be accepted based on their assessment of the situation.

Step 3: Learn the way and when to appeal

Review your medical insurance policy, which should indicate the steps required for appealing, the deadlines to file an appeal and the way and where to submit the appeal. Phone or email your insurer in case you lack this paperwork.

Step 4: Write and file an internal appeal letter

Compose an appeal letter with all of the pertinent facts, details and substantiation needed to defend your claim. Be as factual, concise and respectful as possible. Don’t be threatening, hostile or abusive in your words or tone.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners offers a sample internal appeal letter.

Step 5: Check back along with your medical insurance company

Review your policy regarding how long you’ll be able to expect to attend before your insurer reviews and issues a call in your appeal. After that point has passed, or if unsure, contact your insurance company to envision your appeal’s status.

Step 6: File an external review appeal if needed

In case your internal review appeal has been denied and your claim stays unapproved, consider filing an external review appeal. This should be filed inside 4 months following the date you received a final determination or notice out of your insurer that your claim was denied.

Ask your insurer methods to officially file an external review.

Step 7: Contact along with your state

When you’ve exhausted the appeal process with the insurer, contact your state’s department of insurance, attorney general’s office or office of consumer affairs. States can allow you to with an external review of the claim denial.

How Long Can You Appeal a Claim Denial?

You might have a maximum of six months (180 days) to file an internal appeal after learning the claim was denied.

When you file a written request for an external review, this should be done inside 4 months following the date you received a notice or final determination out of your insurer that your claim has been denied.

How Long Does a Health Insurance Company Take to Settle on a Denied Claim?

While the timeline may vary depending in your state’s laws, after filing an appeal you need to expect to get a response or appeal decision inside:

  • 30 days in case your internal appeal is for a service you haven’t yet received
  • 60 days in case you’re internal appeal is for a service you’ve already received
  • 45 days for normal external reviews
  • 72 hours for expedited external reviews
  • 7 calendar days for requested experimental or investigational treatments or services

What Is the No Surprises Act?

Congress passed the No Surprises Act that took effect in January 2022.

The laws sought to minimize the sting of surprise medical bills for group medical insurance and individual medical insurance plans. The No Surprises Act bans:

  • Surprise bills for emergency services from an out-of-network provider or facility and without prior authorization
  • Out-of-network cost-sharing, including copays and coinsurance, for emergency services and a few non-emergency services
  • Out-of-network and balance bills for supplemental care, including anesthesiology, by out-of-network providers who work at an in-network facility

The laws means that you simply won’t be accountable for a majority of these common charges that result in surprise medical bills. You continue to must pay the standard in-network costs, however the health care provider and medical insurance company must negotiate payment for the applicable surprise medical bill charges. They might must undergo an independent dispute resolution process in the event that they can’t reach an agreement, but you as a member won’t be affected.

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