​Refer members to in-network labs for services

September 8, 2020

Providers are required to direct members and/or their lab specimens to a participating outpatient laboratory provider, except:

  • in an emergency;
  • as otherwise described in the applicable Benefit Program requirements;
  • as otherwise required by law.

Benefit Program requirements differ by type of plan:

  • HMO/POS. All routine laboratory services for HMO/POS members must be referred to their primary care physician's (PCP) capitated laboratory site. In the unusual circumstance that you require a specific test that you believe the PCP's capitated laboratory site cannot perform, call Customer Service at 1-800-ASK-BLUE (1-800-275-2583). Preapproval is required to issue a referral to a laboratory other than the member's capitated laboratory. To confirm a member's capitated laboratory site, refer to the Lab indicator on the front of the member's ID card or use the Eligibility and Benefits Inquiry transaction on the NaviNet® web portal (NaviNet Open).

  • PPO. PPO members should use a participating laboratory, such as Laboratory Corporation of America® Holdings (LabCorp), to maximize their benefits and save on out-of-pocket costs. PPO members may use a non-participating laboratory, but they will pay the out-of-network level of cost-sharing (i.e., copayment, coinsurance, deductible) and may be subject to provider balance billing. In the unusual circumstance that specific services are not available through a participating laboratory, providers must call Customer Service at 1-800-ASK-BLUE (1-800-275-2583) to obtain preapproval.

Contractual obligation to use participating providers

In accordance with your Independence Provider Agreement, except in an emergency, a participating provider should refer members only to participating providers for covered services. (This includes, but is not limited to, ancillary services such as laboratory and radiology, unless the provider has obtained preapproval from Independence for the use of a non-participating laboratory.)

Non-compliance may result in financial and other implications for your practice

When applicable under the terms of your Independence Provider Agreement, if a provider continues to direct members and/or their lab specimens to a non-participating laboratory and does not obtain preapproval from Independence, the ordering provider is required to hold the member harmless.

The ordering provider will be responsible for any and all costs to the member and shall reimburse the member for such costs or be subject to claims offset by Independence for such costs. In addition, further non-compliance may result in immediate termination of your Independence Provider Agreement.

Exception to the use of non-participating providers permitted under the terms of your agreement

If a provider (1) refers a member to a non-participating laboratory for non-emergent services without obtaining preapproval from Independence to do so; (2) sends a member's lab specimen to a non-participating laboratory without preapproval; or (3) provides or orders non-covered services for a member, the provider must inform the member in writing in advance of the services:

  • which services will be provided;
  • that Independence will not pay for or be liable for the listed non-covered services;
  • that the member will be financially responsible for such services.

You can access the Independence Member Consent for Financial Responsibility for Unreferred/Non-covered Services Form on our website. By signing this form, the member agrees to pay for non-covered services specified on the form. The form must be completed and signed before services are provided.

Providers should also be aware of the coverage status of the tests they order and should notify the member in advance if a service is considered experimental/investigational or is otherwise non-covered by Independence. The member will be financially responsible for the entire cost of any service that is non-covered (e.g., experimental/investigational).

If a provider does not comply with the requirements as outlined above, the ordering provider is required to hold the member harmless. The ordering provider will be responsible for any and all costs to the member and shall reimburse the member for such costs or be subject to claims offset by Independence for such costs.

Learn more

If you have questions related to the referral process for laboratory services, please email our Provider Network Services team at pnsproviderrequests@ibx.com​.​​​