May 07, 2020

Cigna Responds to ACR Prior Authorization Request

The American College of Radiology® (ACR®) has received a response to its April 30th letter to health care insurer Cigna requesting that its prior authorization requirements be placed on hold during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

John Keats, MD, the insurer’s senior medical director of affordability and specialty partnerships, indicated in the letter that Cigna’s prior authorization programs are an integral part of ensuring quality and safe patient care and, as such, the insurer does not feel it is appropriate to suspend these requirements.

However, Dr. Keats expressed an understanding of the ACR’s concerns and outlined ways that Cigna is addressing them. Most importantly, Cigna changed the minimum duration of prior authorization approvals from 90 to 180 days. This change will allow procedures approved prior to and during the public health emergency to be fulfilled as soon as possible without obtaining a new prior authorization.

In addition, Cigna reminds providers that its web-based prior authorization system is available 24/7 and takes an average of three to five minutes to complete.

The ACR also sent letters requesting the moratorium on prior authorization requirements to Anthem, Aetna, Health Care Services Corporation and UnitedHealthcare. The ACR has not yet received responses from these insurers.