Frequently Asked Questions - i. CORE Certification Overview

  1. What does it mean to be CORE-certified?
  2. Does an organization need to comply with all requirements of a specific set of CAQH CORE Operating Rules (e.g., data, connectivity) in order to become CORE–certified on the set or is CORE Certification available on individual requirements?
  3. How does my organization achieve CORE Certification?
  4. What is the level of effort, time commitment, and length of time to become CORE-certified?
  5. Why sign the CAQH CORE Pledge to become CORE-certified?
  6. What does it mean to have 180 days to complete CORE Certification?
  7. What is the necessary paperwork required to submit with the CORE Certification Seal Application?
  8. What is the CAQH CORE HIPAA Attestation Form, and who has to sign it?
  9. What is the cost of the CORE Certification Seal and CORE Certification Testing?
  10. Once the required paperwork for CORE Certification has been submitted to CAQH, how long does it take to receive the CORE Certification Seal?
  11. What entities are CORE-certified?
  12. For CORE-certified vendors, how can I find out what product is certified?
  13. Can I put the CORE Certification Seal up on my organization’s website?
  14. My company is seeking CORE Certification but has many subsidiaries. Do they all have to be conformant with the CAQH CORE Operating Rules?
  15. What happens if an entity that is not CORE-certified buys a CORE-certified entity?
  16. Who can file a complaint of non-conformance with the CAQH CORE Operating Rules against a CORE-certified organization?
  17. What happens if a CORE-certified company believes that a CORE-certified trading partner is not conforming to the CAQH CORE Operating Rules?
  18. What happens if an organization becomes de-certified?
  19. Is the CAQH CORE complaint process for CORE-certified entities confidential?
  20. What is the CAQH CORE Enforcement Committee?
  21. What is the CAQH CORE Health Plan IT System Exemption Policy?
  22. What criteria must be met for a health plan to be eligible for an exemption under the CAQH CORE Health Plan IT System Exemption Policy?
What does it mean to be CORE-certified?

Submitted by Adam Nichols on Tue, 02/22/2022 - 13:03
What does it mean to be CORE-certified?

CORE Certification is offered by CAQH CORE. CORE Certification means an organization has demonstrated its IT system or product, is operating in conformance with applicable requirements of a specific set(s) of the CAQH CORE Operating Rules via certification testing through a CAQH CORE-authorized testing Vendor.

Organizations pursuing CORE Certification can become certified on the CAQH CORE Operating Rules for Eligibility & Benefits, Claim Status, Payment Remittance, Prior Authorization & Referrals, Health Care Claims, Benefit Enrollment, and/or Premium Payment.

After an organization successfully completes the CORE Certification process, it can market itself as Eligibility & Benefits, Claim Status, Payment Remittance, Prior Authorization & Referrals, Health Care Claims, Benefit Enrollment and/or Premium Payment CORE-certified, as appropriate.

For more information about CORE Certification, please refer to the CORE Certification: Step-By-Step Process webpage.

NOTES:

  1. CORE Certification does not replace trading partner relationships.
  2. To ensure providers experience the benefits that arise from the adoption of the CAQH CORE Operating Rules, CAQH CORE encourages small providers to consider requesting/requiring that their vendor is CORE-certified. However, if a provider is capable of seeking CORE Certification independently, we encourage them to do so.
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Does an organization need to comply with all requirements of a specific set of CAQH CORE Operating Rules (e.g., data, connectivity) in order to become CORE–certified on the set or is CORE Certification available on individual requirements?

Submitted by tfuchs@caqh.org on Tue, 03/01/2022 - 10:03
Does an organization need to comply with all requirements of a specific set of CAQH CORE Operating Rules (e.g., data, connectivity) in order to become CORE–certified on the set or is CORE Certification available on individual requirements?

An entity seeking CORE Certification must comply with all of the CAQH CORE Operating Rules applicable to its stakeholder type in order to become certified on the CAQH CORE Operating Rules set, with the following exceptions:

  • CORE Certification is available for both real time and batch processing. However, if an entity does not support batch transactions, it is not required to conform to the batch rules. An entity supporting both real time and batch is required to comply with rules for both.
  • Conformance is only required for the transaction(s) offered by the certifying entity.
  • If a vendor or clearinghouse does not offer a product/service for an individual rule requirement, it may be certified after submitting an attestation to this fact. For example, when a vendor or clearinghouse that provides transaction processing services for Healthcare EFT and X12 v5010 835 transaction, but does not offer EFT or ERA enrollment services, it still may be CORE-certified on the CAQH CORE Payment & Remittance Operating Rules..
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How does my organization achieve CORE Certification?

Submitted by tfuchs@caqh.org on Tue, 03/01/2022 - 10:06
How does my organization achieve CORE Certification?

The CORE Certification process has five components:

  1. Pre-certification Planning and Systems Evaluation
    1. Obtain and review the applicable CAQH CORE Operating Rules
    2. Obtain and review the CAQH CORE Certification Policy.
    3. Obtain and review the applicable CAQH CORE Certification Test Suite(s).
    4. Obtain and review the applicable CAQH CORE Master Test Bed Data.
    5. Identify systems/software gaps between the CAQH CORE rule requirements and your organization’s current systems capabilities and create a project plan to eliminate any gaps.
      • CAQH CORE offers Analysis & Planning Guides that can help entities to identify system/software gaps create a project plan to complete system remediation.
    6. Determine if your organization is eligible for the CORE Health Plan IT System Exemption. If your organization qualifies for this exemption, obtain and complete the Health Plan IT Exemption Request Form.
    7. Start the collection of efficiency metrics to measure impact of operating rule implementation.
    8. Determine when your organization is ready to sign the CORE Pledge.
       
  2. Signing and Submitting the CORE Pledge
    1. Sign the appropriate CORE Pledge.
    2. Submit the signed CORE Pledge to CAQH.
       
  3. CORE Certification Testing
    1. Schedule CORE certification testing with your selected CORE-authorized testing vendor.
    2. Complete CORE certification testing within the 180-day pledge window.
    3. Remediate all systems/software issues identified by the CORE-authorized testing entity and, if necessary, repeat the certification testing.
       
  4. Applying for the CORE Seal
    1. Determine your CORE Seal fee by reviewing the CORE Certification Seal fee scale
    2. Complete the appropriate CORE Seal Application form (s)
    3. Submit the completed CORE Seal Application with required paperwork and a check for the appropriate CORE Seal fee to CAQH CORE.
       
  5. Recertification
    1. Recertification is required every three years for an entity to remain CORE-certified. Recertification renewals may occur anytime during the calendar year, based off initial year of certification. 

Each of the components has multiple steps which must be completed prior to moving on to the next component. 

Additional information on completing each component is available on the CORE Certification: Step-By-Step Process webpage

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What is the level of effort, time commitment, and length of time to become CORE-certified?

Submitted by tfuchs@caqh.org on Tue, 03/01/2022 - 10:19
What is the level of effort, time commitment, and length of time to become CORE-certified?

The effort level/time commitment/length of time will depend upon how many adjustments an organization needs to make to its IT system(s) or products in order to become conformant with the CAQH CORE Operating Rules on which an entity is testing and thus be prepared to complete CORE Certification testing. If an entity completes a thorough gap analysis and makes the appropriate IT changes before beginning CORE Certification Testing, the certification testing period could be anywhere from 20-60 days, depending on the resources the entity puts toward the certification testing effort.

Please see the CORE Certification Step-by-Step Process for an overview of all steps required to be completed to obtain a CORE Certification Seal. Please contact CAQH CORE at CORE@caqh.org if you would like to be put in touch with others who have completed or begun certification testing.

 

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Why sign the CAQH CORE Pledge to become CORE-certified?

Submitted by tfuchs@caqh.org on Tue, 03/01/2022 - 10:21
Why sign the CAQH CORE Pledge to become CORE-certified?

Organizations may sign the CAQH CORE Pledge at any time after the CAQH CORE Operating Rules are published, and may withdraw from the Pledge at any time. However, an organization signing the CAQH CORE Pledge is committing to completing CORE Certification Testing within 180 days of signing.

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What does it mean to have 180 days to complete CORE Certification?

Submitted by tfuchs@caqh.org on Tue, 03/01/2022 - 10:22
What does it mean to have 180 days to complete CORE Certification?

After signing the CAQH CORE Pledge, an entity pursuing CORE Certification has 180 days to complete CORE Certification testing by working with a CAQH CORE-authorized testing vendor and submitting its CORE Certification application to CAQH. It is expected that entities will take all necessary steps into consideration when determining their work plan for becoming CORE-certified. Per the CORE Certification Policies, CAQH CORE has 30 business days to process the application.

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What is the necessary paperwork required to submit with the CORE Certification Seal Application?

Submitted by tfuchs@caqh.org on Tue, 03/01/2022 - 10:23
What is the necessary paperwork required to submit with the CORE Certification Seal Application?
  • CAQH CORE Seal Application Form
  • CORE Certification Seal fee (if applicable)
  • CAQH CORE HIPAA Attestation Form
  • Health Plan IT Exemption Form (if applicable)
  • CORE Certification Efficiency Metric Survey (if applicable)

All of the required documents are available on the CORE Certification: Step-By-Step Process webpage. Note: Additional documentation may be requested by CAQH CORE.

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What is the CAQH CORE HIPAA Attestation Form, and who has to sign it?

Submitted by tfuchs@caqh.org on Tue, 03/01/2022 - 10:23
What is the CAQH CORE HIPAA Attestation Form, and who has to sign it?

CAQH CORE will not test for HIPAA compliance for organizations pursuing CORE Certification. All organizations that operate under the CAQH CORE Operating Rules are assumed to be HIPAA compliant. Organizations pursuing certification on the CAQH CORE Operating Rules will be asked to attest to this fact when applying for the CORE Certification Seal by completing and signing the CAQH CORE HIPAA Attestation Form. The form must be signed by an appropriate senior level executive. Vendors and other non-HIPAA-covered entities will have to sign the form as well. 

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What is the cost of the CORE Certification Seal and CORE Certification Testing?

Submitted by tfuchs@caqh.org on Tue, 03/01/2022 - 10:24
What is the cost of the CORE Certification Seal and CORE Certification Testing?

Organizations successfully completing CORE Certification Testing will be charged a fee to obtain an appropriate CORE Certification Seal based on the organization’s net annual revenue. CAQH CORE Certification Fees range from free for government organizations to $9,000 for organizations with $75 million and above in net revenue. This fee is per each set of CAQH CORE Operating Rules an entity is pursuing CORE Certification for. Fees for recertification are ½ the initial certification fees.

Health Plans:

  • Below $75 million in net annual revenue: $6,000 fee
  • $75 million and above in net annual revenue: $9,000 fee

Clearinghouses:

  • Below $75 million in net annual revenue: $6,000 fee
    • EHNAC HNAP-EHN accreditation - apply 10% ($600) discount
  • $75 million and above in net annual revenue: $9,000 fee
    • EHNAC HNAP-EHN accreditation - apply 10% ($900) discount

Vendors:

  • Below $75 million in net annual revenue: $6,000 fee
  • $75 million and above in net annual revenue: $9,000 fee

Providers:

  • Up to $1 billion in net annual revenue: $750 fee
  • $1 billion and above in net annual revenue: $2,250 fee

Endorsers: (Only for entities that do not create, transmit, or use eligibility or claim status data.)

  • No fee

NOTES:

  • Organizations pursuing initial certification on more than one set of CAQH CORE Operating Rules at a time are eligible for a 20% discount.
  • There is no charge to Federal or State government entities and CAQH member plans for CORE

Certification.

  • Per the CORE Certification Policy, vendor products, and not entire vendor organizations, receive the CORE Certification Seal.
  • The CAQH CORE Certification Fee does not include the fee for CAQH CORE Certification Testing.

Any Clearinghouse/EHN entity seeking initial CORE Certification that has achieved EHNAC HNAPEHN accreditation can take advantage of the partnership program discount. The Clearinghouse/EHN will indicate that it holds a current EHNAC HNAP-EHN accreditation when submitting a CAQH CORE Seal Application. (CAQH CORE will confirm EHNAC-EHN accreditation status independently.)

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Once the required paperwork for CORE Certification has been submitted to CAQH, how long does it take to receive the CORE Certification Seal?

Submitted by tfuchs@caqh.org on Tue, 03/01/2022 - 10:25
Once the required paperwork for CORE Certification has been submitted to CAQH, how long does it take to receive the CORE Certification Seal?

Per the CORE Certification Policy, CAQH CORE will complete its review of the application and processing of the paperwork in no more than 30 business days.

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What entities are CORE-certified?

Submitted by tfuchs@caqh.org on Tue, 03/01/2022 - 10:26
What entities are CORE-certified?

See the CORE Certification lists for further information.

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For CORE-certified vendors, how can I find out what product is certified?

Submitted by tfuchs@caqh.org on Tue, 03/01/2022 - 10:26
For CORE-certified vendors, how can I find out what product is certified?

See the list of pending and currently CORE-certified entities/products which specifically lists vendor product CORE Certification.

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Can I put the CORE Certification Seal up on my organization’s website?

Submitted by tfuchs@caqh.org on Tue, 03/01/2022 - 10:27
Can I put the CORE Certification Seal up on my organization’s website?

Yes. After processing your CORE Certification application, CAQH CORE will send you an electronic copy of your CORE Certification Seal for the appropriate operating rule set(s) for which certification has been achieved. This Seal can be used in your communication tools/materials. Please refer to the CAQH CORE Marketing Guidelines for more information.

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My company is seeking CORE Certification but has many subsidiaries. Do they all have to be conformant with the CAQH CORE Operating Rules?

Submitted by tfuchs@caqh.org on Tue, 03/01/2022 - 10:27
My company is seeking CORE Certification but has many subsidiaries. Do they all have to be conformant with the CAQH CORE Operating Rules?

Per the CAQH CORE policies on certification, a parent corporation seeking CORE Certification will not be certified unless all subsidiaries of the corporation are in conformance with the CAQH CORE Operating Rules. Otherwise, each subsidiary of the parent must individually seek certification and thus would receive its own CORE Certification Seal for the appropriate set of CAQH CORE Operating Rules.

Vendors must complete the CORE Certification process and pay the required fee for each product they want to be CORE-certified. For vendors, CORE Certification will apply only to vendor products rather than to corporate entities.

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What happens if an entity that is not CORE-certified buys a CORE-certified entity?

Submitted by tfuchs@caqh.org on Tue, 03/01/2022 - 10:28
What happens if an entity that is not CORE-certified buys a CORE-certified entity?

Per the CAQH CORE policies on certification, if a CORE-certified entity is acquired by an entity that is not CORE-certified, the acquiring company will only be allowed to be CORE-certified if the acquired company is the only business that is applicable to the CAQH CORE Operating Rules. Or, if the acquired company continues to operate as a separate subsidiary, it may retain its CORE Certification. If this is not the case, then the newly merged company will be required to seek certification. 

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Who can file a complaint of non-conformance with the CAQH CORE Operating Rules against a CORE-certified organization?

Submitted by tfuchs@caqh.org on Tue, 03/01/2022 - 10:29
Who can file a complaint of non-conformance with the CAQH CORE Operating Rules against a CORE-certified organization?

Under the CORE Certification program, two types of organizations may file a complaint of non-conformance with CAQH CORE against a CORE-certified organization:

  • Any healthcare provider that is an end-user of a CORE-certified product/service may lodge a complaint against a CORE-certified organization if the provider believes the CORE-certified organization is not conforming to the CAQH CORE Operating Rules. The complaint must be made by submitting a CAQH CORE Request for Review of Possible Non-Compliance Form to CAQH CORE. 
  • Beyond provider end-users, CORE-certified organizations involved in the alleged non-conformant transactions may file a complaint, e.g., vendors, health plans, etc.
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What happens if a CORE-certified company believes that a CORE-certified trading partner is not conforming to the CAQH CORE Operating Rules?

Submitted by tfuchs@caqh.org on Tue, 03/01/2022 - 10:29
What happens if a CORE-certified company believes that a CORE-certified trading partner is not conforming to the CAQH CORE Operating Rules?

Under the CAQH CORE Enforcement Policy, CORE-certified organizations are encouraged to privately resolve disputes before submitting a formal complaint of possible non-conformance to CAQH CORE. CAQH CORE enforcement is a complaint-driven process that requires documentation (electronic or paper) demonstrating multiple instances of non-conformance with the CAQH CORE Operating Rules at the specific rule set of CORE Certification.  Please see the CAQH CORE Enforcement Policy for further details.

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What happens if an organization becomes de-certified?

Submitted by tfuchs@caqh.org on Tue, 03/01/2022 - 10:30
What happens if an organization becomes de-certified?

If a CORE-certified entity is found to be in actual violation of a CAQH CORE Operating Rule(s) and the violation is not remedied per the CAQH CORE enforcement timeline, the entity’s certification will be terminated and its name removed from the CAQH CORE website. De-certified organizations are entitled to seek re-certification by re-completing the CORE Certification process and paying all required fees again. De-certified entities can no longer use the CORE Certification Seal and the entity’s name will be removed from all CAQH CORE listing of CORE-certified entities.

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Is the CAQH CORE complaint process for CORE-certified entities confidential?

Submitted by tfuchs@caqh.org on Tue, 03/01/2022 - 10:30
Is the CAQH CORE complaint process for CORE-certified entities confidential?

Per the CAQH CORE Enforcement Policy, the details of specific complaints against non-conforming CORE-certified entities remain confidential. Names or other identifying information will not be publicly released by CAQH CORE. This information will only be used and disclosed by CAQH CORE for its non-conformance review by the CAQH CORE Enforcement Committee.

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What is the CAQH CORE Enforcement Committee?

Submitted by tfuchs@caqh.org on Tue, 03/01/2022 - 10:32
What is the CAQH CORE Enforcement Committee?

The CAQH CORE Enforcement Committee, composed of a diverse group of CORE-certified entities, reviews verified complaints of non-conformance against CORE-certified entities and is responsible for providing any extension to the grace period to remediate an issue. Enforcement Committee members will be appointed by the CAQH CORE Board.

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What is the CAQH CORE Health Plan IT System Exemption Policy?

Submitted by tfuchs@caqh.org on Tue, 03/01/2022 - 10:32
What is the CAQH CORE Health Plan IT System Exemption Policy?

The CAQH CORE Health Plan IT System Exemption Policy allows a health plan seeking CORE Certification to request that a scheduled migration of an existing IT system(s) that represents less than 30 percent of a payer’s market share be exempt from being CORE conformance only if the remainder of the health plan’s IT systems are CORE conformant. The policy requires the new IT system to be CORE conformant by the end of the exemption period, which lasts for 12 months.

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What criteria must be met for a health plan to be eligible for an exemption under the CAQH CORE Health Plan IT System Exemption Policy?

Submitted by jporras on Wed, 01/06/2021 - 11:05
What criteria must be met for a health plan to be eligible for an exemption under the CAQH CORE Health Plan IT System Exemption Policy?

Any health plan seeking an exemption under the CAQH CORE Health Plan IT System Exemption Policy must meet the following criteria:

  • No more than 30 percent of a health plan’s total membership can be processed by the IT system(s) to be covered by the exemption.
  • Migration must be scheduled for completion no later than 12 months from the date of when the health plan is granted CORE Certification.

See the CAQH CORE Health Plan IT System Exemption Policy and CAQH CORE Health Plan IT Exemption Request Form for more information.

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