Other Plan Information

Initial Organizational Determinations, Appeals and Grievances

Find information concerning initial organizational determinations, exceptions, appeals and grievances.

Also note that each Sparrow Advantage plan’s Evidence of Coverage (EOC) book describes our grievance, coverage determination (including exceptions) and appeals processes.

At any time during the grievance or appeal process, you may authorize a representative to assist you in the process. We must receive an authorization, in writing, from you to designate a representative. You can contact our customer service department for additional information about designating a representative. View the form to appoint a representative on your behalf.

You may file a grievance or complaint online using the Medicare.gov Medicare Complaint Form.

You may also print, complete and mail the form to the address located on the Sparrow Advantage Contact Us page. The Medicare prescription drug coverage determination form should be mailed to the address located at the end of the form.

Downloadable Forms

To obtain information about the aggregate number of grievances, appeals and exceptions filed with Sparrow Advantage or for process or status questions, contact us.

Leaving or Switching Plans

“Disenrollment” from Sparrow Advantage means ending your membership in our plan. Disenrollment can be voluntary or involuntary:

Until your membership ends, you must keep getting your Medicare services through Sparrow Advantage, or you will have to pay for them yourself.

If you leave our plan, it may take some time for your membership to end and your new way of getting Medicare to take effect. While you are waiting for your membership to end, you are still a member and must continue to get your care as usual through our health plan.

If you get services from doctors or other medical providers who are not plan providers before your membership in our plan ends, neither Sparrow Advantage nor the Medicare program will pay for these services, with just a few exceptions. The exceptions are: urgently needed care, care for a medical emergency, out-of-area renal dialysis services and care that has been approved by us. Another possible exception is if you happen to be hospitalized on the day your membership ends. If this happens to you, call us to find out if your hospital care will be covered. If you have any questions about leaving Sparrow Advantage, please call us.

If you want to leave our health plan:

In general, there are only certain times during the year when you can change the way you get Medicare. Your plan’s EOC outlines these rules. Contact us for information.

Potential for Contract Termination

If we leave the Medicare program or change our service area so that it no longer includes the area where you live, we will tell you in writing. If this happens, your membership in Sparrow Advantage will end, and you will have to change to another way of getting your Medicare benefits. All of the benefits and rules described in the EOC will continue until your membership ends. This means that you must continue to get your medical care and prescription drugs in the usual way through our plan until your membership ends.

Your choices for how to get your Medicare coverage will always include Original Medicare and joining a prescription drug plan to complement your Original Medicare coverage. Your choices may also include joining another Sparrow Advantage plan, another Medicare Advantage plan, or a private fee-for-service plan, if these plans are available in your area and are accepting new members. Once we have told you in writing that we are leaving the Medicare program or the area where you live, you will have a chance to change to another way of getting your Medicare benefits. If you decide to change from Sparrow Advantage to Original Medicare, you will have the right to buy a Medigap policy regardless of your health. This is called a “guaranteed issue right.”

Sparrow Advantage has a contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the government agency that administers Medicare. This contract renews each year. At the end of each year, the contract is reviewed, and either Sparrow Advantage or CMS can decide to end it. You will get 90 days advance notice in this situation. It is also possible for our contract to end at some other time during the year. In these situations, we will attempt to tell you 90 days in advance, but your advance notice may be as little as 30 or fewer days if CMS must end our contract in the middle of the year.

Whenever a Medicare health plan leaves the Medicare program or stops serving your area, you will be provided a special enrollment period to make choices about how you get Medicare coverage, including choosing a Medicare prescription drug plan and guaranteed issue rights to a Medigap policy.

Generally, we cannot ask you to leave the plan because of your health. If you ever feel that you are being encouraged or asked to leave our plan because of your health, you should call 1.800.MEDICARE (1.800.633.4227), which is the national Medicare help line. TTY users should call 1.877.486.2048. You can call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We can ask you to leave the plan under certain special conditions. If any of the following situations occur, we will end your Sparrow Advantage membership:

You have the right to make a complaint if we ask you to leave our plan. If we ask you to leave, we will tell you our reason(s) in writing and explain how you can file a complaint against us if you so choose.

Rights and Protections

As a Medicare beneficiary, you have certain rights to help protect you. You can read more about your rights and responsibilities as a member of Sparrow Advantage in the EOC. You can also contact Medicare by calling 1.800.MEDICARE (1.800.633.4227). TTY users should call 1.877.486.2048. You can call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also visit the Medicare website at Medicare.gov. Following is a summary of our member’s rights and protections.

All Medicare Advantage plans agree to stay in the program for a full year at a time. Each year, the plans decide whether to continue for another year. Even if a Medicare Advantage plan leaves the program, you will not lose Medicare coverage. If a plan decides not to continue in the program, it must send you a letter at least 90 days before your coverage will end. The letter will explain your options for Medicare coverage in your area.

As a Sparrow Advantage member, you have the right to request an initial organizational determination for medical services or a coverage determination for prescription drugs, which includes the right to request an exception. You may ask us for an exception if you believe you need a drug that is not on our list of covered drugs or believe you should get a non-preferred drug at a lower out-of-pocket cost. You can also ask for an exception to cost utilization rules, such as a limit on the quantity of a drug. If you think you need an exception, you should contact us before you try to fill your prescription at the pharmacy. Your doctor must provide a statement to support your exception request. If we deny coverage for your prescription drug(s) or medical service, you have the right to appeal and ask us to review our decision. Finally, you have the right to file a grievance if you have any type of problem with us or one of our network providers that does not involve the coverage of services.

Using Out-of-Network Providers

With few exceptions, you must pay for services you receive from providers who are not part of the Sparrow Advantage network unless Sparrow Advantage has approved these services in advance. The exceptions are care for a medical emergency, urgently needed care, out-of-area renal (kidney) dialysis services, and services that are found upon appeal to be services that we should have paid or covered.

Quality Assurance & Utilization Management

For certain prescription drugs, we have additional requirements for coverage or limits on our coverage. These requirements and limits ensure that our members use these drugs in the most effective way and also help us control drug plan costs. A team of doctors and pharmacists developed the following requirements and limits for our plans to help us provide quality coverage to our members:

You can find out if the drug you take is subject to these additional requirements or limits by looking in the Drug Formulary. If your drug is subject to one of these additional restrictions or limits, and your physician determines that you are not able to meet the additional restriction or limit for medical necessity reasons, you or your physician can request an exception (which is a type of coverage determination).

Drug Utilization Review

We conduct drug utilization reviews for all of our members to make sure that they are receiving safe and appropriate care. These reviews are especially important for members who have more than one doctor who prescribe their medications. We conduct drug utilization reviews each time you fill a prescription and on a regular basis by reviewing our records. During these reviews, we look for medication problems such as:

If we identify a medication problem during our drug utilization review, we will work with your doctor to correct the problem.

Drug Transition Supply Policy

You may be able to get a temporary supply under certain circumstances. The plan can offer a temporary supply of a drug to you when your drug is not on the drug list or when it is restricted in some way. Doing this gives you time to talk with your doctor about the change in coverage and figure out what to do.

To be eligible for a temporary supply, you must meet the two requirements below:

  1. The change to your drug coverage must be one of the following types of changes:
    • The drug you have been taking is no longer on the plan’s drug list.
    • Or — the drug you have been taking is now restricted in some way (Chapter 5, Section 4 of the EOC talks about restrictions).
  2. You must be in one of the situations described below:
    • For those members who are new or who were in the plan last year and are not in a long-term care (LTC ) facility:
      • We will cover a temporary supply of your drug during the first 90 days of your membership in the plan if you were new and during the first 90 days of the calendar year if you were in the plan last year. This temporary supply will be for a maximum of a 30-day supply. If your prescription is written for fewer days, we will allow multiple fills to provide up to a maximum of a 30-day supply of medication. The prescription must be filled at a network pharmacy.
    • For those members who are new or who were in the plan last year and reside in a long-term care (LTC) facility:
      • We will cover a temporary supply of your drug during the first 90 days of your membership in the plan if you are new and during the first 90 days of the calendar year if you were in the plan last year. The total supply will be for a maximum of a 31-day supply. If your prescription is written for fewer days, we will allow multiple fills to provide up to a maximum of a 31-day supply of medication. (Please note that the long-term care pharmacy may provide the drug in smaller amounts at a time to prevent waste.)
    • For those members who have been in the plan for more than 90 days and reside in a long-term care (LTC) facility and need a supply right away:
      • We will cover one 31-day supply of a particular drug, or less if your prescription is written for fewer days. This is in addition to the above long-term care transition supply.
    • Members who have a change in level of care (setting) will be allowed up to a one-time 31-day transition supply per drug.

View our Transition Policy.

Medication Therapy Management Program

View information about our Medication Therapy Management Program.

Low Income Subsidy (LIS) Information

Learn more about what information is needed to have your records immediately updated to reflect that you qualify for “extra help” (low income subsidy) for Part D financial assistance.

Learn more about getting extra help to pay for your prescription drugs and costs.

Part D sponsors must provide access to Part D drugs at the correct LIS cost-sharing level when presented with evidence of LIS eligibility. Learn more about CMS’s “Best Available Evidence” (BAE) policy”.

Please consult the Summary of Benefits and the Evidence of Coverage for other important enrollment and membership information. Medicare beneficiaries may also enroll in Sparrow Advantage through the CMS Medicare Online Enrollment Center located at Medicare.gov.

Learn more about the safe use of opioid pain medicines.


You are about to leave the PHP Advantage plan site and visit the PHP Health System website.

To continue, click on the link below. Otherwise, close this window to remain on the current site.

Continue to PHPMichigan.com


You are about to leave the Essence Healthcare plan site and visit the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) website.

To continue to this site, click on the link below. Otherwise, close this window to remain on the current site.

Visit CMS.gov.