Blue Cross of Idaho Logo

Express Sign-on

Thank you for registering with Blue Cross of Idaho

If you are an Individual or Family Member, please register here.

If you are a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement member, please register here.

The following definitions may not apply to some health plans, such as Federal Employee Program (FEP), Medicare Advantage and some self-funded group plans. Blue Cross of Idaho reserves the right to periodically update its definitions.


Investigational Definition

The definition of investigational is based on Blue Cross of Idaho`s criteria listed below:

Any technology (service, supply, procedure, treatment, drug, device, facility, equipment or biological product), which is in a developmental stage or has not been proven to improve health outcomes such as length of life, quality of life, and functional ability. A technology is considered investigational if, as determined by BCI, it fails to meet any one of the following criteria:

  • The technology must have final approval from the appropriate government regulatory body. This applies to drugs, biological products, devices, and other products/procedures that must have approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or another federal authority before they can be marketed. Interim approval is not sufficient. The condition for which the technology is approved must be the same as that BCI is evaluating.
  • The scientific evidence must permit conclusions concerning the effect of the technology on health outcomes. The evidence should consist of current published medical literature and investigations published in peer-reviewed journals. The quality of the studies and consistency of results will be considered. The evidence should demonstrate that the technology can measure or alter physiological changes related to a Disease, injury, Illness, or condition. In addition, there should be evidence that such measurement or alteration affects health outcomes.
  • The technology must improve the net health outcome. The technology’s beneficial effects on health outcomes should outweigh any harmful effects on health outcomes.
  • The technology must be as beneficial as any established alternatives.
  • The technology must show improvement that is attainable outside the investigational setting. Improvements must be demonstrated when used under the usual conditions of medical practice.

If a technology is determined to be investigational, all services specifically associated with the technology, including but not limited to associated procedures, treatments, supplies, devices, equipment, facilities or drugs will also be considered investigational.

In determining whether a technology is investigational, BCI considers the following source documents: Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Technology Evaluation Center (TEC) assessments, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Medical Policy Reference Manual as adopted by BCI, and Blue Cross of Idaho Medical Policies. BCI also considers, at its discretion, current published medical literature and peer review publications based upon scientific evidence, and evidence-based guidelines developed by national organizations and recognized authorities.

BCI reserves the right to interpret the meaning of the terms used in this definition and any policies or procedures, which support this definition.

Medically Necessary Definition

The term medically necessary means:

The Covered Services or supplies required to identify or treat an Insured’s condition, Disease, Illness or Accidental Injury and which, as recommended by the treating Physician or other Covered Provider and as determined by BCI, are:

  1. The most appropriate supply or level of service, considering potential benefits and harms to the Insured.
  2. Proven to be effective in improving health outcomes;
    1. For new treatments, effectiveness is determined by scientific evidence;
    2. For existing treatments, effectiveness is determined first by scientific evidence, then by professional standards, then by expert opinion.
  3. Not primarily for the convenience of the Insured or Covered Provider.
  4. Cost-effective for this condition, compared to alternative treatments, including no treatment. Cost-effectiveness does not necessarily mean lowest price.

When applied to the care of an Inpatient, it further means that the Insured’s medical symptoms or condition are such that the services cannot be safely and effectively provided to the Insured as an Outpatient.

The fact that a Covered Provider may prescribe, order, recommend, or approve a service or supply does not, in and of itself, necessarily establish that such service or supply is Medically Necessary under this Policy.

The term Medically Necessary as defined and used in this Policy is strictly limited to the application and interpretation of this Policy, and any determination of whether a service is Medically Necessary hereunder is made solely for the purpose of determining whether services rendered are Covered Services.


Search for Policies

Policy Feedback

Resource Center

Find a Provider Find a Pharmacy Medicare Medicare Formulary