Insurers extending prior authorizations for elective services

Several health insurers are extending prior authorizations for elective services that have been canceled or deferred because of COVID-19.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota shared with Becker's that the insurer is extending prior authorizations for 180 days for medical and surgical procedures that were due to expire by the end of this year. The CEO of Independence Blue Cross in Pennsylvania shared with Philly Voice that the insurer is extending prior authorizations for elective procedures for six months.

In another example, UnitedHealthcare, one of the nation's largest insurers, is also pushing back prior authorization deadlines for postponed elective procedures and surgeries. The insurer has a webpage dedicated to updates related to prior authorizations. Exact dates vary by procedure, but the insurer said it is extending existing prior authorizations with an end date or date of service between March 24 and May 31 by 90 days.  

Anthem, another national carrier, is extending prior authorizations for elective inpatient and outpatient procedures to 90 days. "This will help prevent the need for additional outreach to Anthem to adjust the date of service covered by the authorization," Anthem said on its website.

Editor's note: This is not an exhaustive list of insurers offering prior authorization extensions. 

More articles on healthcare finance: 
Mayo Clinic furloughs, cuts hours of 30,000 employees to help offset $3B in pandemic losses
CMS to release another $30B in hospital aid: 5 things to know
CHS to cease inpatient care at 2 Florida hospitals, sell them to HCA

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