UnitedHealth, Cigna Prior Authorization Moves May Signal ‘Course Correction’

Two major health insurers, UnitedHealthcare and Cigna Healthcare, say they’re reworking their prior authorization (PA) policies to improve a process that has triggered a growing chorus of complaints from health care providers and patients. The moves come as CMS is poised to finalize a new regulation that requires insurers to speed up and streamline their PA processes. Industry experts say the policy changes are long overdue and could return PA to serving a useful — rather than overly burdensome — role in the health care system.

In a March 29 post on its website, UnitedHealth wrote that starting in the third quarter of this year, it will eliminate “nearly 20% of current prior authorizations, as part of a comprehensive effort to simplify the health care experience for consumers and providers.”

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been reporting and editing in various journalism roles for nearly a decade. Most recently, she was the senior editor of FierceHealthPayer, an e-newsletter covering the health insurance industry. A graduate of Penn State University, she previously served in editing roles at newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado.

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