When you need pre-approval

Your plan only covers services that are medically necessary according to our medical and behavioral health policies. We make these policies with input from doctors not employed by Priority Health and/or according to criteria developed by state, federal and private agencies.

Some kinds of health care services and supplies, for example a surgery to make your nose smaller, are not medically necessary for you, so your plan won't cover (pay for) them. Other services or items may be medically necessary for you. If your doctor gets approval for them in advance from Priority Health, your plan will pay for them.

The process of getting approval from us in advance is called prior authorization. 

Examples of services and items that need prior authorization

Remember, you don't need prior authorization in a medical emergency or when you need urgent care - just get help! 

This list changes throughout the year as new technology is available and standards of care change, but in general, you need prior authorization before you get:

  • Inpatient hospital or facility services. Note: You don't need prior authorization to stay in a hospital for a limited time after delivering a baby.
  • Intensive outpatient treatment services for substance abuse
  • Outpatient services as outlined on our website
  • Referrals to out-of-network providers
  • Durable medical equipment (DME) charges for TENS units, devices over $500, and all rentals
  • Prosthetics and orthotics charges over $500 and all shoe inserts
  • Stimulators
  • High-tech radiology, including but not limited to PET, MRI and CT scans and nuclear cardiology studies
  • Selected injectable drugs
  • Home health care, including home infusion services and intermittent skilled services
  • Supplemental feedings by tube or IV
  • Transplants and evaluations for transplants
  • Genetic testing
  • Clinical trials
  • Comprehensive pain and headache programs
  • Additional items as outlined on our website

The prior authorization process

Your doctor sends us a request to cover the surgery, procedure or item, explaining why you need it. Based on that information, we decide whether or not the surgery, procedure or item is medically necessary for you.

Urgent requests: If delaying treatment would put your life or health in danger or delay treatment for severe pain, we must answer the request for the service or item within 72 hours.

Non-urgent requests: In most cases we approve, partially approve or deny requests within 15 days of when we receive your doctor's request. In some cases we need more information or more time to make a decision.

If we deny the request: A denial means that Priority Health will not cover the service or item. We will send you and your health care providers a letter explaining why we denied the request. You and your providers will have to decide what to do. You can:

  • Go forward with getting the service or item at your own expense, or
  • Appeal our decision - check your coverage documents for instructions.

Claims denied due to no prior approval

Unless your doctor asks for prior authorization, you won't know ahead of time if your Priority Health plan will pay for the services or supplies. If you get the services or supplies without our approval, we will review the claims after you receive the services, and we may or may not pay for them.

  • If we find that the care you received was medically/clinically necessary and provided by an in-network provider, the care will be covered.
  • If we find that the care you received was medically/clinically necessary and provided by a out-of-network provider, the care will be covered at your plan's out-of-network or "alternate" copayment/coinsurance, and the provider may bill you for the balance of what Priority Health does not pay.
  • If we find that the care you received was not medically/clinically necessary, your plan will not pay for it. You'll be liable for the full cost of the services.