An injury caused by an external force or element such as a blow or fall that requires immediate medical attention. Also included are animal bites, poisonings, and dental care required to repair injuries to sound natural teeth as a result of an accidental injury, not from biting or chewing.
||The period from entry (admission) into a hospital or other covered facility until discharge. In counting days of inpatient care, the date of entry and the date of discharge are counted as the same day.|
Advance Care Planning
The process of making decisions about future healthcare options in the event of a medical crisis. This might involve the appointment of a substitute decision maker or the completion of an advance care directive or similar document.
||An authorization by an enrollee or spouse for the Plan to issue payment of benefits directly to the provider. The Plan reserves the right to pay the member directly for all covered services.|
||January 1 through December 31 of the same year. For new enrollees, the calendar year begins on the effective date of their enrollment and ends on December 31 of the same year.|
Clinical trials cost categories
An approved clinical trial includes a phase I, phase II, phase III, or phase IV clinical trial that is conducted in relation to the prevention, detection, or treatment of cancer or other life-threatening disease or condition, and is either Federally-funded; conducted under an investigational new drug application reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); or is a drug trial that is exempt from the requirement of an investigational new drug application.
If you are a participant in a clinical trial, this health plan will provide related care as follows, if it is not provided by the clinical trial:
- Routine care costs – costs for routine services such as doctor visits, lab tests, X-rays and scans, and hospitalizations related to treating the patient’s condition whether the patient is in a clinical trial or is receiving standard therapy. These costs are covered by this Plan.
- Extra care costs – costs related to taking part in a clinical trial such as additional tests that a patient may need as part of the trial, but not as part of the patient’s routine care. This Plan does not cover these costs.
- Research costs – costs related to conducting the clinical trial such as research physician and nurse time, analysis of results, and clinical tests performed only for research purposes are generally covered by the clinical trials. This Plan does not cover these costs.
See Section 4, Your Costs for Covered Services.
A compound medication includes more than one ingredient and is custom made by a pharmacist according to your doctor's instructions. Compound prescriptions must contain a Federal legend drug and the ingredients must be covered by the GEHA benefit.
|Congenital anomaly||A condition existing at or from birth which is a significant deviation from the common form or norm. For purposes of this Plan, congenital anomalies include cleft lips, cleft palates, birthmarks, webbed fingers or toes and other conditions that the Plan may determine to be congenital anomalies. Surgical correction of congenital anomalies is limited to children under the age of 18 unless there is a functional deficit. In no event will the term congenital anomaly include conditions relating to teeth or intra-oral structures supporting the teeth.|
See Section 4, Your Costs for Covered Services.
||Any procedure or any portion of a procedure performed primarily to improve physical appearance and/or treat a mental condition through change in bodily form.|
See Section 4, Your Costs for Covered Services.
|Covered services||Services we provide benefits for, as described in this brochure.|
We do not provide benefits for custodial care, regardless of who recommends the care or where it is provided. The Carrier or its delegated medical professionals determine which services are custodial care.
Custodial care includes treatment, supplies or services, that are provided to a patient mainly to help with activities of daily living. These activities include but are not limited to:
- Service, supplies, and treatment that are designed mainly to train or assist the patient in personal hygiene or other activities of daily living rather than provide therapeutic treatment; or
- Personal care such as help ambulating getting in and out of bed, eating by spoon, tube or gastrostomy, exercise, and dressing;
- Homemaking, such as preparing meals or special diets;
- Acting as companion or sitter;
- Supervising medication that can usually be self-administered;
- Physical, emotional, or behavioral treatment or services that can be provided by non-licensed caregivers with minimal instruction, including but not limited to recording temperature, pulse, and respirations, or administration and monitoring of feeding systems; and
- Services or treatment where further medical professional intervention is not expected to result in significant improvement in the member's condition. The member's condition is no longer demonstrating measurable progress towards established treatment goals that have been documented in the patient's treatment record.
See Section 4, Your Costs for Covered Services.
Dermatology conditions (telehealth)
Under the telehealth benefit, dermatologic conditions seen and treated include but are not limited to acne, rashes, eczema, suspicious spots/moles, warts and other abnormal bumps, rosacea, inflamed or enlarged hair follicles, psoriasis, cold sore, alopecia, insect bites.
|Durable medical equipment|
Equipment and supplies that:
- Are prescribed by your attending doctor;
- Are medically necessary;
- Are primarily and customarily used only for a medical purpose;
- Are generally useful only to a person with an illness or injury;
- Are designed for prolonged use; or
- Serve a specific therapeutic purpose in the treatment of an illness or injury.
The date the benefits described in this brochure are effective:
- January 1 for continuing enrollments and for all annuitant enrollments;
- The first day of the first full pay period of the new year for enrollees who change
plans or options or elect FEHB coverage during the open season for the first time; and
- For new enrollees during the calendar year, but not during the open season, the effective date of enrollment as determined by the employing office or retirement system.
||Any non-emergency surgical procedure that may be scheduled at the patient’s convenience without jeopardizing the patient’s life or causing serious impairment to the patient’s bodily functions.|
||An expense is “incurred” on the date the service or supply is rendered.|
Experimental or investigational services
Experimental or Investigational Service(s) - medical, surgical, diagnostic, psychiatric, mental health, substance use disorders or other healthcare services, technologies, supplies, treatments, procedures, drug therapies, medications or devices that, at the time we make a determination regarding coverage in a particular case are determined to be any of the following:
- Not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be lawfully marketed for the proposed use and not identified in the American Hospital Formulary Service or the United States American Hospital Pharmacopoeia Dispensing Information as appropriate for the proposed use.
- Not recognized, in accordance with generally accepted medical standards, as being safe and effective for your condition.
- Subject to review and approval by any institution review board for the proposed use. (Devices which are FDA approved under the Humanitarian Use Device exemption are not considered to be Experimental or Investigational.)
- The subject of an ongoing clinical trial that meets the definition of a Phase 1, 2 or 3 clinical trial set forth in the FDA regulations, regardless of whether the trial is actually subject to FDA oversight.
Group health coverage
Healthcare coverage that a member or covered dependent is eligible for because of employment by, membership in, or connection with, a particular organization or group that provides payment for hospital, medical, dental or other healthcare services or supplies, including extension of any of these benefits through COBRA.
A physician or other healthcare professional licensed, accredited, or certified to perform specified health services consistent with state law.
An impairment of fertility by surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or other medical treatment affecting reproductive organs including gonadotoxic therapies, or ovary or testicle removal for treatment of disease; also includes infertility associated with medical and surgical gender reassignment.
The condition of an individual who is unable to conceive or produce conception.
Inpatient care is care rendered to a person who has been admitted to a hospital for bed occupancy for purposes of receiving inpatient hospital services. Generally, a patient is considered an inpatient if formally admitted as an inpatient with the expectation that he or she will remain at least overnight and occupy a bed even if it later develops that the patient can be safely discharged or transferred to another hospital and not actually use a hospital bed overnight. See Section 3, How You Get Care, Covered facilities, for the definition of an Acute Inpatient and Residential Treatment Center.
Long-term acute care
Often referred to as LTCH or LTAC, these facilities provide services for patients who need extended intensive or critical, hospital-level of care beyond that of the traditional short hospital stay. LTCH's specialize in treating patients who have more than one serious condition yet have the potential to improve with time and care and return to their previous health status. Generally, services are focused on respiratory therapy, head trauma treatment, and pain management.
We do not provide benefits for long-term care, regardless of who recommends the care or where it is provided. The Carrier or its delegated medical professionals determine which services are long-term care.
A range of services and support provided to meet personal care needs on a long-term basis. While some medical care may be necessary, most of the care provided is not and does not require a licensed caregiver. This encompasses a spectrum of services provided in a variety of settings for people who do not have full independence because of a medical condition, injury, or chronic and/ or behavioral illness.
Long-term care is often used to provide custodial care as well as instrumental activities of daily living necessary for safety and health.
Long-term care is usually custodial care that has lasted for 90 days or more yet can begin prior to 90 days dependent on the member's response to professional intervention.
Long-term care and long-term acute care are not one and the same. See the definition of long-term acute care for more information about those services.
Medical Foods for a diagnosis of Inborn Errors of Metabolism (IEM)
Inborn errors of metabolism are rare genetic (inherited) disorders in which the body cannot properly turn food into energy. The disorders are usually caused by defects in specific proteins (enzymes) that help break down (metabolize) parts of food. GEHA will cover medical food for a diagnosis of IEM. Medical Food is defined as a food which is recommended by a physician after an evaluation and is intended to provide for the dietary management of a disease or condition that has specific nutritional requirements. GEHA will not cover "grocery" food items that can routinely be obtained online or in stores (e.g., gluten-free breads).
Healthcare services provided for the purpose of preventing, evaluating, diagnosing or treating a sickness, injury, mental illness, substance use disorder or its symptoms, that are all of the following as determined by us or our designee, within our discretion.
- In accordance with Generally Accepted Standards of Medical Practice.
- Clinically appropriate, in terms of type, frequency, extent, site and duration, and considered effective for your sickness, injury, mental illness, substance use disorder, disease or its symptoms.
- Not mainly for your convenience or that of your doctor or other healthcare provider.
- Not more costly than an alternate drug, service(s) or supply that is at least as likely to produce equivalent therapeutic or diagnostic results as to the diagnosis or treatment of your sickness, injury, disease or symptoms.
- Is not custodial or long-term care (see the Plan's definition on the previous page)
If no credible scientific evidence is available then standards are based on Physician specialty society recommendations or professional standards of care may be considered. We reserve the right to consult expert opinion in determining whether healthcare services are Medically Necessary.
Mental health/substance use disorder
Conditions and diseases listed in the most recent edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) as psychoses, neurotic disorders, or personality disorders; other nonpsychotic mental disorders listed in the ICD, to be determined by the Plan; or disorders listed in the ICD requiring treatment for use or dependence upon substances such as alcohol, narcotics, or hallucinogens. Prior authorization is required for all of the following services and must be provided by a covered facility or covered provider as defined in Section 3, How You Get Care.
Inpatient Mental Health:
- Acute Care Hospital
- Residential Treatment Center (RTC)
Intensive Day Treatment:
Intensive day treatment programs are outpatient services that must be rendered on an outpatient basis. Regardless of where services are rendered, the provider and/or the facility, must be licensed to provide intensive day mental health and/or substance use treatment and must meet GEHA's definition of a covered provider in Section 3. GEHA does not cover room and board during intensive day treatment programs. Under the direction of a physician, services must be provided for at least two hours per day and may include group, individual, and family therapy along with psychoeducational services and adjunctive psychiatric medication management.
- Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): A facility based outpatient treatment program for mental health and/or substance use disorder conditions not requiring 24-hour care. Twenty or more hours of care per week is usually delivered at a minimum of four hours a day, five days a week. Time frames and frequency will vary based on condition, severity, and individual treatment plan.
- Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): A comprehensive, structured outpatient treatment program that includes extended periods of individual or group therapy sessions for mental health and/or substance use disorders conditions. It is an intermediate level of care between traditional outpatient therapy and partial hospitalization, delivered in an outpatient facility or outpatient professional office setting. Nine or more hours of care per week is usually delivered at a minimum of three hours a day, three days a week. Time frames and frequency will vary based on condition, severity, and individual treatment plan.
Minor acute conditions
Common, non-emergent conditions. Examples of common conditions include sinus problems, rashes, allergies, cold and flu symptoms, etc.
Never event policies
Federal or State policies that bar healthcare providers from charging patients for care that is attributable to certain avoidable complications or errors, such as wrong site surgery.
Observation care is a well-defined set of specific, clinically appropriate services, which include ongoing short-term treatment, assessment, and reassessment, that are furnished while a decision is being made regarding whether patients will require further treatment as hospital inpatients or if they are able to be discharged from the hospital. Observation services are commonly ordered for patients who present to the emergency department and who then require a significant period of treatment or monitoring in order to make a decision concerning their admission or discharge.
Our Plan allowance is the amount we use to determine our payment and your coinsurance for covered services. Fee-for-service plans determine their allowances in different ways. We determine our Plan allowance as follows.
Allowable expense (plan allowance) is a healthcare expense, including deductibles, coinsurance and copayments, that is covered at least in part by any plan covering the person. When a plan provides benefits in the form of services, the reasonable cash value of each service will be considered an allowable expense and a benefit paid.
In-network providers: Our network allowances are negotiated with each provider who participates in the network. Network allowances may be based on a standard reduction or on a negotiated fee schedule. For these allowances, the in-network provider has agreed to accept the negotiated reduction and you are not responsible for this discounted amount. In these instances, the benefit paid plus your coinsurance equals payment in full.
Out-of-network providers: Applies to Elevate Option only; Elevate Plus does not offer out-of-network benefits except in cases of emergency. To determine our non-network Plan allowance, we must first be provided an itemized bill that includes your diagnosis, the services or supplies you received, and the provider’s charge for each, using the same types of standard codes, descriptions and other information required for processing by public healthcare plans like Medicare. If we are not provided the itemization of the services or supplies you received, we will assume they were equivalent to the level and extent of services and supplies typically provided by the providers or facilities most commonly used to treat other Plan members with the same principal diagnosis as yours. We will base these equivalent services on claims submitted to the Plan by providers in the same geographic region or a combination of similar geographic regions across the United States.
Based on the itemization of services or supplies you received, we will determine the amount of the maximum non-network Plan allowance by applying the following rules, in order:
- For emergent services, air ambulance, and services performed by out-of-network providers rendered at in-network facilities, the Plan allowance will be the "recognized amount" as defined by federal law.
- We consult standard industry guides, such as national databases of prevailing healthcare charges from FAIR Health or another identified data source, that are available for our use in a given state or geographic area. After the data supplier removes outliers from the claim data they collect, they group the remaining data by percentiles. We use the 70th percentile. This means that out of every 100 reports remaining after outliers amount or less.
- For services or supplies obtained in a state or geographic area where the above data source is unavailable for our use, and also for dialysis centers and outpatient dialysis performed at a hospital our non-network Plan allowance is two times the Medicare participating provider allowance for the service or supply in the geographic area in which it was performed or obtained. This Medicare-based allowance is not used for those services where Medicare sets a fixed national payment amount that does not vary geographically (such as blood draws). Medicare fee schedule information for physician services may be obtained at www.cms.hhs.gov/PFSlookup.
Note: Labs drawn during the week of dialysis treatments and drugs provided on the day of dialysis are part of the bundled dialysis payment.
- Some Plan allowances may be submitted to medical consultants who recommend allowances based on standard industry relative value guidelines. For services or supplies for which Medicare does not provide an allowance amount, we may use the current fee schedule used by the Federal Office of Workers Compensation (OWCP). OWCP fee schedule information may be obtained at www.dol.gov/OWCP/regs/feeschedule/fee.htm. For services or supplies that do not have a value currently established by public healthcare care plans such as Medicare or Medicaid, or for implantable devices and surgical hardware, we may use medical consultants to determine an appropriate allowance. We may also conduct independent studies to determine the usual cost of a service or supply in a geographic area, or to establish allowances for services or supplies provided outside the United States.
Non-network Plan allowance amounts determined according to these guidelines include, but are not limited to, hospitals, ambulance, ambulatory surgery centers, dialysis centers, surgery, doctor’s services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, lab testing and X-ray expenses, implantable devices and surgical hardware; and under the Elevate Plus Option, diagnostic and preventive dental services. For more information about the source of the data we are currently using you may call us at 800-821-6136.
Plan allowance for prescription drugs is determined using Average Wholesale Price or other industry-standard reference price data. Charges for some Plan allowances are stated in this brochure. These include limited benefits such as manipulative therapy care and routine dental care.
If we negotiate a reduced fee amount on an individual claim for services or supplies which is lower than the Plan allowance, covered benefits will be limited to the negotiated amount. Your coinsurance will be based on the reduced fee amount. If you choose to use a provider other than the one we negotiated a reduction with, you will be responsible for the difference in these amounts.
To estimate our maximum Plan allowance for a non-network provider before you receive services from them, call us at 800-821-6136. For more information, see Differences between our allowance and the bill in Section 4.
You should also see Important Notice About Surprise Billing - Know Your Rights in Section 4 that describes your protections against surprise billing under the No Surprises Act.
Any claims that are not pre-service claims. In other words, post-service claims are those claims where treatment has been performed and the claims have been sent to us in order to apply for benefits.
Those claims 1) that require precertification or preauthorization and 2) where failure to obtain precertification or preauthorization results in a reduction of benefits.
A decision made by your health plan that a healthcare service, treatment plan, drug, surgery, or durable medical equipment is medically necessary after review of medical information. Sometimes called prior approval.
The process of collecting information and obtaining authorization from the health plan prior to an inpatient admission or other selected ambulatory procedures and services.
Primary care physician
For purposes of the office visit copayment for the Elevate Plus and Elevate benefits, primary care physicians are individual doctors (M.D. or D.O.) whose medical practice is limited to family/ general practice, internal medicine, pediatrics/adolescent medicine, obstetrics/gynecology (OB/ Gyn) or geriatrics, psychiatrists, licensed clinical psychologists, licensed clinical social worker, licensed professional counselors or licensed marriage and family therapists. Doctors listed in provider directories or advertisements under any other medical specialty or sub-specialty area (such as internal medicine doctors also listed under cardiology, or pediatric sub-specialties such as pediatric allergy) are considered specialists, not primary care physicians. Chiropractors, eye doctors, dentists and audiologists, are not considered primary care physicians.
|Reimbursement||A carrier's pursuit of a recovery if a covered individual has suffered an illness or injury and has received, in connection with that illness or injury, a payment from any party that may be liable, any applicable insurance policy, or a workers' compensation program or insurance policy, and the terms of the carrier's health benefits plan require the covered individual, as a result of such payment, to reimburse the carrier out of the payment to the extent of the benefits initially paid or provided. The right of reimbursement is cumulative with and not exclusive of the right of subrogation.|
Sound natural tooth
A sound natural tooth is a whole or properly restored tooth that has no condition that would weaken the tooth or predispose it to injury prior to the accident, such as decay, periodontal disease, or other impairments. For purposes of the Plan, damage to a restoration, such as a prosthetic crown or prosthetic dental appliance (i.e., bridgework), would not be covered as there is no injury to the natural tooth structure.
Specialty medications are biotech or biological drugs that are oral, injectable or infused, or may require special handling. To maximize patient safety, all specialty medications require prior authorization. These drugs are used in the treatment of complex, chronic medical conditions such as hemophilia, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, pulmonary hypertension, osteoarthritis, and immune deficiency.
|Subrogation||A carrier's pursuit of a recovery from any party that may be liable, any applicable insurance policy, or a workers' compensation program or insurance policy, as successor to the rights of a covered individual who suffered an illness or injury and has obtained benefits from that carrier's health benefits plan.|
Online/virtual doctor visits provided remotely by means of telecommunications technology.
Unproven services, including medications, that are determined not to be effective for treatment of the medical condition and/or not to have a beneficial effect on health outcomes due to insufficient and inadequate clinical evidence from well-conducted randomized controlled trials or cohort studies in the prevailing published peer-reviewed medical literature.
- Well-conducted randomized controlled trials. (Two or more treatments are compared to each other, and the patient is not allowed to choose which treatment is received.)
- Well-conducted cohort studies from more than one institution. (Patients who receive study treatment are compared to a group of patients who receive standard therapy. The comparison group must be nearly identical to the study treatment group.)
We have a process by which we compile and review clinical evidence with respect to certain health services. From time to time, we issue medical and drug policies that describe the clinical evidence available with respect to specific healthcare services. These medical and drug policies are subject to change without prior notice.
Please note: If you have a life-threatening sickness or condition (one that is likely to cause death within one year of the request for treatment) we may, in our discretion, consider an otherwise unproven service to be a covered health service for that sickness or condition. Prior to such a consideration, we must first establish that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that, albeit unproven, the service has significant potential as an effective treatment for that sickness or condition.
Urgent care claims
A claim for medical care or treatment is an urgent care claim if waiting for the regular time limit for non-urgent care claims could have one of the following impacts:
- Waiting could seriously jeopardize your life or health;
- Waiting could seriously jeopardize your ability to regain maximum function; or
- In the opinion of a physician with knowledge of your medical condition, waiting would subject you to severe pain that cannot be adequately managed without the care or treatment that is the subject of the claim.
Urgent care claims usually involve pre-service claims and not post-service claims. We will determine whether or not a claim is an urgent care claim by applying the judgment of a prudent layperson who possesses an average knowledge of health and medicine.
If you believe your claim qualifies as an urgent care claim, please contact our Customer Service Department at 800-821-6136. You may also prove that your claim is an urgent care claim by providing evidence that a physician with knowledge of your medical condition has determined that your claim involves urgent care.
Us and We refer to Government Employees Health Association, Inc.
You refers to the enrollee and each covered family member.