AHIP to insurers: Extend approvals for surgeries postponed by COVID-19

America's Health Insurance Plans, the national trade association for health insurers, is telling members to extend prior authorizations for elective surgeries and procedures that were postponed due to COVID-19.

Some payers, like Anthem and UnitedHealthcare, have already extended prior authorizations for procedures that were delayed to curb COVID-19 exposure and to conserve medical resources for patients with the virus. AHIP's board of directors is encouraging more health insurers to extend approvals for surgeries and procedures that were authorized before the national emergency declaration March 13.

"These grace periods will enable surgeries and procedures to be scheduled and performed without having to be re-authorized," AHIP said. "Because circumstances will vary significantly by geography based on the incidence of COVID-19 and the availability of clinical resources, we encourage approvals to be valid for at least 90 days or until local backlogs are cleared."

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