My Coverage Explained

My Claim Has Been Denied, Now What?

Doctor visits are generally routine, but you or a family member may one day require medical care that involves ongoing doctor visits, out-patient care or even a hospital stay. If that day comes, the last thing you want to worry about is a denied claim. To know if a claim is denied you will find the details on your Explanation of Benefits (EOB) and keep track of all your claims in Blue Access for Members (BAM).

Denied ClaimIf a claim is denied you have the right to submit an appeal. Anyone can submit an appeal, which is a way to have that decision reviewed. These steps will get you started.

  • Fill out the Claim Review Form.
  • Mail it to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) at the address provided.
  • Call Member Services (the phone number is on the back of your ID card) with questions about the appeal process and plan benefits available to you.

What if you can’t appeal?
You can have an authorized representative, doctor, facility or other health care practitioner submit an appeal for you, but you need to give written or verbal permission for someone else to submit your appeal, unless it’s an urgent care appeal.  

One thing to note—different appeals are reviewed by separate groups within BCBSIL. There are various types of appeals meant for specific situations and each appeal has a specific reviewer assigned to it. Here’s a guide to understanding appeals:

  • A clinical appeal is asking to reverse a ruling for care or service that was denied because it wasn’t considered medically necessary, or if the services were considered experimental or cosmetic. This may be pre- or post-service. The review is carried out by a doctor .
  • A non-clinical appeal is filed when you want BCBSIL to reconsider a previous complaint or action. This relates to administrative health care services such as your membership, access, or claim payment. This review is performed by a non-medical appeal committee.
  • Urgent care or expedited appeals take place if you, an authorized representative or doctor feels that denial of services may seriously risk your health. The doctor or facility may ask for an expedited appeal by calling the number  on the back of your ID card .
  • A provider appeal is made by your doctor or the facility that is delivering your care. Most often this is about the length of stay or treatment that was denied by BCBSIL. This appeal is something that you should discuss with your doctor.  The doctor/clinical peer review process takes 30 days and leads to a written notice of appeal status . This appeal should:
    • Be in writing or by phone. The denial letter will come with instructions from BCBSIL outlining the appeal process. These instructions are also included on your EOB.
    • Include a routing form, claim information and any supporting medical or clinical records.

We’ll usually send out a notification within 5 business days after receiving your appeal to inform you that it’s in review. After your appeal has been fully reviewed in detail, we’ll let you know the outcome in writing within 30 business days. However, this timeline and process can vary based on your case’s urgency and if we may need more information from you.

If you still have questions, you can contact us at 800-538-8833 or the number on the back of your member ID card. We’re happy to help!

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