Ophthalmologists ask Congress to intervene on new Aetna cataract policy

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The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery have called on Congress to assist in reigning in excessive prior authorization requirements imposed by health insurers. 

In a letter, the organizations cited Aetna's July 1 policy requiring all patients receive authorization before undergoing cataract surgical procedures as the most recent example.

"Aetna has provided the Academy and ASCRS with no plausible reason for creating a policy that no other large health insurer believes necessary," the organizations stated in a July 29 news release.

Prior authorization policies, which began popping up 20 years ago, were intended only for patients requiring new drugs or diagnostic tests. They have since expanded to include common surgeries and procedures, causing significant delays in care, according to the statement. 

"The Academy and ASCRS are asking members of Congress to support our efforts to ensure patients have timely access to sight-restoring care by urging Aetna to rescind their policy," they said.

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