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Pre-Service Claims

A pre-service claim is a claim requiring pre-approval as a condition of coverage.


If the plan does not require prior approval for the benefit or service, the request is not a claim for benefits governed by the regulation.


The regulation defines pre-service claim by reference to the plan's requirements, not the claimant's decision to seek the medical care, nor the doctor's decision to provide care.



  • The plan administrator shall notify the claimant of the plan's benefit determination within a reasonable period of time appropriate to the medical circumstances, but not later than 15 days after receipt of the claim by the plan.
  • This period may be extended one time by the plan for up to 15 days (provided that the plan administrator both determines that such an extension is necessary due to matters beyond the control of the plan and notifies the claimant, prior to the expiration of the initial 15-day period, of the circumstances requiring the extension of time and the date by which the plan expects to render a decision).
  • If such an extension is necessary due to a failure of the claimant to submit the information necessary to decide the claim, the notice of extension shall specifically describe the required information, and the claimant shall be afforded at least 45 days from receipt of the notice within which to provide the specified information.


This content is being provided as an informational tool. It is believed to be accurate at the time of posting and is subject to change. It is recommended that plans consult with their own experts or counsel to review all applicable federal and state legal requirements that may apply to their group health plan. By providing this information, Meritain Health is not exercising discretionary authority or assuming a plan fiduciary role, nor is Meritain Health providing legal advice.