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Prior Authorization

What is Prior Authorization?

Prior authorization is a process used by insurance companies or third-party payers before they agree to cover prescribed medications or medical procedures. Insurance providers require prior authorization for reasons such as age, medical necessity, the availability of a generic alternative, or checking for drug interactions. A failed authorization can result in a requested service being denied, or an insurance company requiring the patient to go additional steps. The process can require a patient to try medication or a service preferred by the insurance provider, typically considered either more cost effective or safer, before the insurance company will cover a different service.

What is the AUA Doing?

The AUA is advocating on behalf of physician practices to reduce the burden that prior authorization causes practices and patients. In 2015, the AUA published a special white paper to support appropriate use of the Beers Criteria and its goal to improve effectiveness and safety of prescription practices for geriatric patients. In October 2015, the AUA Board of Directors adopted a policy that reinforces our position that the Beers Criteria should not supersede clinical judgment or an individual patient’s values and needs, and that the list should not be used as a basis for coverage denials or prior authorization requirements.

The AUA has also developed a prior authorization checklist, as well as a short guide to help navigate payor forms.

These resources are available for offices to use while undertaking this large burden. For additional concerns, please email AUA at R&


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