A survey from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) backs up what we’ve known for years: Prior authorization is more than a massive inconvenience—it’s actually harmful. The process of requiring documented approval from insurers before a health service can be provided delays needed treatment (96% of surveyed doctors said), forces patients onto second-choice therapy (93%), increases out-of-pocket costs (88%), impacts disease progression (80%) and can even lead to death (36%).
“Large numbers of patients face indefensible delays or denials of cancer care,” said ASCO board chair Lori J. Pierce, MD. The group advocates to improve the prior authorization process and protect patient health. “It would be unconscionable,” Pierce says, “for policymakers to leave current prior authorization requirements and their effects on people with cancer unexamined.”