If you’re searching for an understanding of prior authorization in the medical field you’ve come to the right place. Just below we’ll be outlining everything you need to know about medical prior authorization.

Prior authorization is essential for safety, cost minimization, and drug misuse management. Verified by clinical evidence, pharmacists or doctors can complete the prior authorization review process.

Gain insights into everything that prior authorization entails in this guide. Read on to learn more.

Key Takeaway

Prior Authorization (PA) allows your health insurance company a chance to review how necessary a certain medication may be in treating your medical condition. The process requires providing the clinical pharmacists or doctors with relevant information to evaluate the mandatory nature of medical care before granting authorization.

Source: Referral MD (https://getreferralmd.com/)

What is Prior Authorization?

Prior authorization is consent that guides the insurance companies’ decisions regarding the use of prescribed medical care. The approval must come from a certified doctor showing the necessity for the patient to use prescribed drugs or medical devices. Your doctor is the final piece that completes the prior authorization form.

Failure to provide necessary information to your doctor implies your insurance company will not cover the cost. When this happens, they suggest an alternative that works effectively, but is cheaper. However, an approval that the medical prescription is necessary means your health plan covers the treatment.

Getting consent means you meet the conditions set by the insurance companies. Your PA may be fast or delayed, depending on the information you provide to your clinician.

Treatments that Requires Prior Authorization

Not all healthcare expenses need PA before approval from your insurance company. Let’s look at the reasons why you may need to request prior authorization. Your healthcare professional can proceed with the care administration once they get approval.

● Expensive medication

● Many drug interactions that can be harmful

● Relatively cheap available alternatives

● Specially prescribed drugs for unique health issues

● Drugs vulnerable to abuse and misuse

How does prior authorization work?

The process of getting prior authorization begins with the patients and ends with the health insurance companies. However, the physicians come in between, and they play a critical role in the approval of a PA.

Prior authorization can be prescription, medical, or alternative services that patients’ health plans do not cover. In that case, it becomes necessary to inform the insurance companies for proper processing.

It begins with a medical prescription to a patient by the health practitioner. On getting to the pharmacy, you call the pharmacist’s attention to the prior authorization status of the medication. The doctor will receive notification of the PA status to initiate the procedures.

In terms of medical service not covered by health plans, it begins with a conversation between two parties. The doctor will start a conversation with the insurance company. This is to notify them of the prior authorization clause on the medication. This notification will proceed to the filling of forms to reach an agreement for the prior authorization.

Recommendation of close substitute drugs or medical devices within the health plans also follows the same process. Sometimes, your insurance company suggests you begin with an inexpensive medical service. The reason is to determine if your health condition will improve without having to overspend.

Every option requires that you initiate a dialogue with the insurance company through a professional doctor. The next step is for the patients to provide the necessary information to get the form filled. You must input all required information to make the processing faster.

How to obtain prior authorization?

There are certain things you need to do to obtain prior authorization. Health plans differ from one insurance company to another. As a result, you need to do your due diligence to ascertain that you can get prior authorization.

Read your Health Plan’s Policy

The plan’s policy documents are your first prior authorization guide. It tells if your medical care requires a PA or not. You will get the information that can help you determine your stands.

Locate the Process

Suppose the plan’s policy indicated that there is a need for prior authorization. In that case, you find the procedures for submitting. Also, find every information required to complete the prior authorization forms. The first point of delay is not providing your doctor with every info required.

The doctor’s office is in charge of submitting PA

It is impossible to boycott the health professional in the process of obtaining prior authorization. That is why you must cooperate with everyone in handling the prior authorization from the doctor’s office. Again, providing relevant information can hasten up the prior authorization process.

Source: Policy & Medicine (policymed.com)

Adhere to the Guideline Provided for Submission

Your prior authorization request may not get approved if you fail to follow the plan’s instruction. Accordingly, you must meet the criteria specified in the plan’s policy before attempting to submit the PA form. In that regard, check to see that you tick every box before they take the form for submission.

Approval or Denial Stage

Now that you have done your part already, your insurance company will review the PA request submitted. Insurance companies employ physicians and clinical pharmacists who are responsible for reviewing your request. After a thorough review, your fate will be decided. It is at that point you get approval or denial.

If approved, it implies your insurance company will cover the requested medical care. Always have in mind that there are guidelines associated with your approval letter on how to receive care. Endeavor to follow this rule to avoid cancellation.

If denied, appealing the decision is permissible. This implies that you can request a review of your application.


We created this prior authorization guide to clarify the ambiguity surrounding this process. The goal of a PA is to reduce health care costs by avoiding expensive treatment options. However, the principal benefit of prior authorization is to guarantee safety and improve patient health conditions. Check your plan’s formulary to see the medications covered when you subscribed to a health plan.