Understanding prior authorizations

Depending on your plan type, there are some health-related services that require approval prior to that service being performed. This is called prior authorization. Some examples are inpatient hospitalization services, transplants, some outpatient services like tonsillectomies, home infusions, advanced imaging, dialysis and genetic testing.

There are three steps in the prior authorization process:

  1. Your health care provider submits the request for pre-approval to Priority Health (or Cigna Payer Solutions for members residing outside of Michigan).
  2. The request is reviewed. This process is normally completed within two weeks, but please allow up to 14 days for review. Emergency cases are expedited.
  3. Notice of approval is sent to Medicare members, out of network members and those going through a reversed decision (your prior authorization was previously denied but now has been approved). If you don’t fit any of this criteria, you'll need to call your provider or Customer Service to check on the status of your approval.

Prior Auth FAQs

What's the status of my authorization?

You can check the status of your authorization by calling the Customer Service contact number on the back of your member ID card.

Can prior authorizations be viewed from my member account?

No, this information is not available in your member account.

Has my authorization been submitted?

Reach out to your provider or Priority Health Customer Service to check the status of your authorization.

Why is a prior authorization needed? I have insurance.

Authorization is needed to verify the medical necessity of a service. Certain services require a full review to verify that they are appropriate.

Why does prior authorization take so long?

Once your provider submits the request for pre-approval to Priority Health (or Cigna Payer Solutions for those living outside of Michigan), it can take up to 14 days to be reviewed. Notice of approval or denial is sent to your health care provider. If you want to check on the status of your appeal, contact your health care provider or call the Customer Service contact number on the back of your Priority Health member ID card.

Why can't I submit the authorization on my own?

Priority Health needs all of the supporting clinical documentation from the provider, including validated codes that a member cannot provide.

What types of services require prior authorization?

Examples of services requiring prior authorizations are inpatient hospitalization services, transplants, some outpatient services like tonsillectomies, home infusions, advanced imaging, dialysis and genetic testing.

Generally, you can self-refer to a specialist. However, spine surgery is an exception. Before authorizing a consultation with a surgeon or a scheduled spine surgery, a consultation with a Spine Center of Excellence provider will be required. Learn more about Spine Centers of Excellence.

How do I know whether an authorization is needed for a service?

You can check your plan documents in your member account to see what services need prior authorization according to your plan.

Why was my authorization denied?

Authorizations are denied for not meeting medical necessity criteria or being an excluded service.

For any other questions about prior authorizations, send us a message in your member account or call the customer service contact number on the back of your member ID card.