Cigna ends prior authorization requirements for 25% of procedures

Cigna Healthcare has removed prior authorization requirements for more than 600 medical procedures, cutting the number of prior authorizations it requires by 25 percent. 

Cigna has removed prior authorization for more than 1,100 procedures since 2020, according to an Aug. 24 news release shared with Becker's. 

Cigna made the changes after listening to clinicians, David Brailer, MD, executive vice president and chief health officer of the Cigna Group, said in the release. 

"Our goal is to help keep patients safe, improve health outcomes, and make care more affordable, and this will enable us to do that while removing administrative burdens on the healthcare system," Dr. Brailer said. 

Cigna will also remove preauthorization requirements for around 500 Medicare Advantage codes later this year, according to the release. 

Other payers have also moved to limit prior authorizations. UnitedHealthcare will eliminate 20 percent of its current prior authorization requirements for commercial, individual, Medicaid and Medicare Advantage plans beginning Sept. 1. 

Aetna has also moved to reduce prior authorization requirements. 

The efforts come ahead of proposed regulations from CMS that would require payers to approve urgent prior authorizations within 72 hours, and within seven days for standard requests. The rule would also require payers to publicly report prior authorization denial rates and provide specific reasoning for denied requests. 

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