How Long Does It Take For Insurance To Approve Surgery?

Depending on the insurance company, the process of gaining surgery approval can take anywhere from 1 to 30 days. Your account is examined by our billing department once your insurance approval has been received. Before surgery, we request that all outstanding balances be settled in full.

Why does insurance take so long to approve surgery?

When you hurt your hand at home, you may typically phone your doctor’s office and schedule an appointment within a few days. Then, if the doctor suggests a diagnostic test or physical therapy, you can phone the facility and schedule an appointment for the next open time slot. All of this is possible because, in most cases, doctors do not need explicit preapproval from your health insurer for treatment. They merely need to make sure you’re covered and that their location is part of the network. (Pre-certification is required for some procedures.)

When it comes to getting the same treatment for a work-related injury, however, the process is entirely different, which is why it takes longer than we think. When your doctor suggests an MRI or physical therapy for a job injury, the doctor’s office must first send the doctor’s full dictation note to the insurance adjuster, along with a prescription for the treatment. The physician who will perform the treatment must then call the adjuster and obtain preapproval for the services. Most physicians will not agree to schedule the procedure until work comp has given formal consent. This causes a delay because the doctor’s dictation report may take a few days to arrive, and the adjuster may be out of the office or not immediately responding to the provider. This is why having an attorney on your side is critical. The wonderful staff at Black & Jones will contact your insurance carrier as soon as you know what treatment is being advised and begin pressing them to approve the treatment. If they refuse to reply, we can file a request for a hearing with the Commission to compel them to do so.

Unfortunately, our legislature established a new mechanism that could cause treatment approvals to be delayed. The insurance company can now have the prescribed therapy submitted for a “Utilization Review” under Section 8.7 of the Act. This is a procedure in which your treatment records are sent to a doctor with a similar level of certification to yours, who evaluates the proposal and decides whether the therapy is medically reasonable and required. In the case of emergency treatment, a utilization review is not possible. The utilization review must be completed in a reasonable amount of time for all other treatments. Depending on when your doctor’s office sends all of the essential information to the reviewing physician, this could take several days.

If the therapy is then rejected due to the utilization review, it is critical to have an attorney who can figure out why the treatment was not certified and devise a strategy for proving that the decision was incorrect. Over the years, the attorneys at Black & Jones have handled thousands of utilization reviews and know what it takes to appeal and challenge those decisions. So, if your therapy is not authorized in a timely manner or is denied after a utilization review, contact Black & Jones Attorneys at Law so that we can fight to get you the treatment you need so that you can get back to living a healthy lifestyle.

Should I call my insurance before surgery?

Most doctor and hospital visits, as well as prescriptions, are covered, but it’s important to check with your insurance company ahead of time. Elective operations, reproductive treatments, and cutting-edge technology are often covered by insurance, but not all insurance companies have the same rules. Because insurance policies differ from person to person, you should always check with your physician before undergoing any surgery, testing, or treatments. This will ensure that you have a better grasp of what your insurance provider will cover and what costs you will be responsible for.

Can surgery be denied?

A patient has the right to refuse surgery if they comprehend the decision, the consequences of that decision, and act in their own best interests. A competent patient has the right to refuse any therapy, even if it would shorten their life, and to decide for the choice that will give them with the highest quality of life.

How can I get surgery faster?

Top 5 Smart Strategies for Shortening Surgery Wait Times

  • Make your scheduling setup more centralized. Even though it is nearly 2020, many procedures continue to operate as if it were 1999.

Paying Out-of-Pocket

“How much is this going to cost?” is probably the first question on your mind. Here’s a rough estimate of how much Top Surgery will set you back out of pocket.

Getting a surgical date by paying out of pocket is usually a significantly speedier process. Dr. Joel Beck, an experienced Top Surgery physician in Charlotte, NC, says, “Self-pay patients will have a substantially faster process to having surgery booked.” “During your appointment, you will receive a detailed price for your exact surgical plan, as well as a review of available surgery dates by our patient care coordinator. Depending on the time of year, surgeries can usually be planned in the next 4-6 weeks.”

If you want to pay for Top Surgery out of pocket but don’t have the money, look into fundraising options like increasing your savings, applying for grants, and learning about crowdfunding best practices. Tips on how to raise money for Top Surgery can be found in the Comprehensive Guide to Surgery Fundraising.

Using Insurance

You’ll have to use your out-of-network benefits if you can’t find an in-network provider. “We strongly advise patients to be prepared in the event that they must use their out-of-network insurance and are thus accountable for the surgeon’s fee payable upfront to the office,” Dr. Beck explains. “To help with this cost, we offer CareCredit financing.”

There may be additional charges for insurance processing. “There is a $100 Insurance Verification fee for insurance patient consultations that goes directly to our Insurance Specialist,” Dr. Beck explains. “If a letter of agreement is required, our Insurance Specialist will submit all information to your insurance provider to verify benefits, submit a prior authorization, and/or attempt to obtain one. Because every policy is different, the process will be a bit different for each patient, but our Insurance Specialist is well-versed in interpreting your insurance benefits.”

Why do prior authorizations get denied?

There are numerous real-life case studies that show how inefficient PA is. An associate professor at New York University School of Medicine, Danielle Ofri, describes her experience with PA as follows: “It’s aggravating.” In one case, Dr. Opri had to make four phone calls and speak with four customer service people to acquire a request for 90 pills per month for a patient with high blood pressure, rather than the 45 that the firm recommended. The problem was that the maximum dosage for this drug was 45 pills per month. Dr. Ofri was able to secure approval from the representative after presenting a list of information that included a list of all the blood-pressure medications that the patient had been on in the past, including dates of initiation and pertinent test values. Dr. Ofri believes that the time spent on the phone should have been better spent on patient care.

Kevin de Regnier, DO, a solo family practitioner in Winterset, Iowa, also discusses his unpleasant experience with prior permission, which he has had for the past 26 years. According to de Regnier, prior authorisation takes up around 10% of the nurses’ time each day. “It’s an unreimbursed cost of giving care, and we don’t have the financial resources, even on a part-time basis, to hire someone to handle prior auth completely,” he says.

Unfortunately, they are not alone; according to a poll, 84 percent of physicians say PAs have a high or extremely high load. Another 86 percent of physicians stated that the burden of PAs has increased in the last five years, depriving physicians of time to care for their patients.

2. The true price of PA

Despite the fact that PA has been a problem among healthcare providers for a long time, little is known regarding the cost to individual practices or the healthcare system as a whole. Prior authorization requests were expected to take up around 20 hours per week on average per medical practice in 2009, according to one study: one hour of doctor’s time, roughly six hours of secretarial time, and 13 hours of nurses’ time.

According to a research published in Health Affairs, practices spent an average of $68,274 per physician per year communicating with health plans when time is translated to dollars. This amounts to between $23 and $31 billion every year! Prior authorization costs the health-care system more in the long run than it saves.

3. The dilemma of prior authorisation

More drugs than ever before require PA, and the number of insurance plans—each with its own set of papers and policies—is increasing as well. This makes it tough for suppliers to stay up because they frequently change.

Failure to secure the necessary authorizations can have a significant impact on the practice’s revenue. There will be no payment if there is no authorization. If the right prior authorization isn’t received, insurers won’t pay for the surgery, and most contracts prevent you from billing the patient. Denials of PAs result in lost revenue, decreased provider and patient satisfaction, and patient treatment delays.

This is demonstrated in the graph below, which shows how much money is lost due to authorization.

Despite the insurers’ efforts to save money, it is unclear whether they are saving money in the long run. One study looked at the data of almost 4,000 Type 2 diabetes patients who were provided drugs that required prior authorisation. Those who were denied the prescriptions had greater overall medical costs the next year, and their diseases were likely worsened as a result of not receiving the medications. As a result, insurers will pay more in the long run as people seek alternative treatment and drugs.

PA is a labor-intensive operation for health care providers, patients, pharmacists, and pharmacy benefit plans, despite its widespread use as a cost-cutting technique. Manual intervention is required when claims are denied, which raises practice expenses and administrative transaction costs (just under $14 per transaction).

Many claim denials go unworked in many busy offices since denials are typically the most difficult and time-consuming task for billing personnel. PA necessitates many letters, each with supporting documents, as well as multiple phone calls. As a result, PA expenditures are prohibitively expensive, administratively burdensome, and unsustainable for the majority of primary care practitioners.

4. Patient hold-up

Patients who are delayed in receiving medication or treatment often feel the true impact of PA. PA issues can cause a significant disruption for patients; they must determine whether the procedure is blocked with the doctor, the insurance company, or the drugstore.

Almost all doctors agreed that long wait times were associated with delays in receiving necessary care, increasing the likelihood of adverse consequences. According to the release, 78 percent of respondents believe that PAs may cause patients to forego required procedures.

Prior authorization, according to up to 92 percent of clinicians, impedes patient access to care, resulting in lower clinical quality results. While the method provides some accountability and cost containment, it also results in several hours of lost production.

According to the American Medical Association, over 64% of physicians waited at least one business day for a PA decision, while 30% stated they waited three or more business days. Patients are unable to begin treatment during this time. The complexity of the PA process prompts many practices to forsake a chosen therapy in favor of a formulary medicine, and these long wait times have a severe influence on patient experience and care.

5. PA administration

PA administration can be challenging at times because standards varied greatly from one insurer to the next, and each has its own process for submitting prior authorization requests. This means that the process cannot always be standardized and must be completed manually, which, if resources and time are already limited, can be a waste.

Even if the practice submits a request in a timely manner, the insurer may nevertheless refuse to pay for the medication or therapy prescribed. Prior authorization claims are denied far more frequently than you may assume. A request for prior permission may be denied by an insurance company for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Missing or incorrectly completed documents, such as a service code or date of birth
  • Due to a shortage of time, the physician’s office failed to notify the insurance company.
  • Claims can be denied if insurance information is obsolete, such as when a claim is sent to the wrong insurance carrier.

According to the graph, the majority of payers report denials as a result of physicians failing to follow their rules – 70% of payers indicate they deny requests because what is passed over does not match their listing/guidelines. According to the practice manager, 42 percent of requests were declined because they did not match the guidelines, thus there is a little disparity between the two.

However, there is a substantial perception gap between providers and payers when it comes to denials for medical necessity. Only 12% of payers claim to base denials on medical necessity, despite the fact that 51% of practices claim to receive denials for this reason. Payers and physician practice managers have opposing views on why authorizations are denied.

Although in many practices, PA is an unavoidable step. Prescribers, payers, pharmacists, and patients are all involved in a tedious flow of information that can lead to treatment delays and discontent. As a result, many organizations are introducing electronic prior permission solutions to address common approvals challenges. Electronic Prior Authorization works hand-in-hand with electronic health records (EHRs), allowing healthcare providers to quickly get prior authorizations at the point of treatment. This also saves time by eliminating the need for paper forms, faxes, and phone calls.

Prior authorization was either not acquired or not handled appropriately in 81 percent of cases when claims were denied.

Hospitals can use Electronic Referral Management Software to start automated prior authorization processes, which helps reduce front-end denials. Furthermore, previous electronic authorisation could save up to 416 hours per year in healthcare! In 2015, the average cost of a fully electronic prior authorization to a provider was $1.89, against $7.50 for a completely manual authorization.

Physicians must check previous authorization requirements before providing services or submitting medications to the pharmacy to avoid patient delays. Imaging procedures such as computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and brand-name medications are the two most prevalent procedures for which insurers demand pre-authorization.

As a result, doctors should be aware with insurer regulations and compile a list of drugs for common conditions that they all cover. If there are several options for treating diabetes and you know your insurer would pay a generic prescription, for example, get into the habit of prescribing that treatment, assuming it is appropriate for the patient. Doctors will be able to avoid dealing with PA, and patients will be able to get their medications quickly.

By centralizing the obligation for prior authorization, practices can typically achieve improved efficiencies. When it comes to PA, many practices and health systems now lack clearly defined roles or simply do not have enough time. By delegating prior authorizations to just one or two people or a department for the entire practice, those employees will be able to become highly skilled in the process and create connections with payers. A centralized system also addresses inconsistency and offers a more consistent and trustworthy approach.

What happens if you don’t get prior authorization?

If a prior-authorization requirement, also known as a pre-authorization requirement, applies to you, you must first obtain permission from your health plan before receiving the healthcare service or prescription that requires it. Your health insurance will not pay for the service if you do not obtain approval from your health plan.

How long does prior authorization take CVS Caremark?

CVS Caremark has made it quicker and more straightforward to submit PAs. In some cases, automated choices can be communicated in under 6 seconds!

We’ve worked with CoverMyMeds and Surescripts to make it simple for you to get electronic prior authorization (ePA) from your preferred ePA vendor. Here’s what your coworkers had to say about ePA:

“PAs are a lot easier to complete online. Saves time that could be spent assisting our patients rather than waiting on hold. Everyone should use this service, in my opinion.”

“It’s simple to use and navigate, and I like how it remembers patient information for future prior authorizations. Overall, I am quite pleased with the website.”

“It’s so much easier than making phone calls to insurance companies and then making follow-up phone calls since everything I need is all in one spot.”

“It saves a lot of time – in certain circumstances, up to 45 minutes per medicine authorisation.

The ePA procedure reduces the amount of time nursing staff spends chasing down several fax attempts and reviewing charts.”

What is ePA?

Because electronic prior authorisation allows for automated processing, turnaround times of minutes to hours* are possible.

  • The PA question is requested by the prescriber via their electronic health record (EHR) or the online ePA portal.
  • Prescriber completes PA question set and sends via electronic health record (EHR) or online PA portal.
  • PBM evaluates clinical data automatically and conveys decisions via its HER or online ePA portal.

*Not all prior authorisation kinds and justifications will result in near real-time choices.

How do you ask if insurance is accepted?

Even if a doctor’s office or hospital facility contracts out-of-network providers, there is a way to make sure you’re seeing in-network doctors: check ahead of time. However, how can you know if a facility and the practitioners you’ll be seeing are in-network?

  • Visit the website of your insurance provider. For the plans they offer, many insurance companies will list in-network providers. These web pages, however, are not always up to date. If you do decide to utilize this function, make sure you’re comparing networks for your specific insurance rather than simply the company.
  • Visit the website of your service provider to learn more. The websites of healthcare providers (such as hospitals and doctors’ offices) may also list the networks to which they belong. They may, however, be out of date, and they may not identify which networks each doctor belongs to.
  • Make contact with your service provider. Call the facility you’ll be visiting if you’re going to the doctor or arranging a procedure. You can check with the office to see if all of the doctors you’ll be visiting are in your plan’s network.
  • Contact your insurance provider. You can also call your insurance carrier to confirm whether providers are in-network. During this call, supply your insurance company with your provider’s tax ID as well as your plan details to help them verify if a physician is in your network.
  • Make contact with your agency. A registered health insurance agent can assist you with all of your inquiries and concerns throughout the year. Whether you’re looking for a new plan and want to keep your current doctors, want to try a new doctor, or need to schedule surgery, an agent can assist you.