Survey of St. Louis doctors finds insurance delays have gotten worse, hurting care

A recent survey of physicians in the St. Louis area found that their offices are facing longer delays and more severe restrictions for certain procedures and medication due to insurance companies’ pre-certification or prior authorization requirements.

Insurers require physicians to get approvals before rendering care in some instances. It’s a way to curb costs and ensure appropriate care is provided. Although it’s not a new practice, some doctors say the lag time is growing, costing them additional resources and staff time, which negatively affects patient care.

The survey, which was conducted by Prell Organization, found that more than half of the 302 physicians surveyed “strongly agree” that precertification affects their ability to practice medicine. Prell, a Chesterfield-based market research firm, conducted the survey from September to October.

More than half of the physicians surveyed said that precertification has caused a treatment plan to be altered, noting the difficulty of correspondence with insurance companies when a problem needs to be resolved.

America’s Health Insurance Plans, an association that represents health insurance companies, says precertification can help connect patients with alternative or lower cost treatments.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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