116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
As a practicing rheumatologist, I see patients daily who are often dealing with painful and life-altering diseases. So, I find real joy in being able to provide treatment or care that can offer relief. But that’s not always possible because of prior authorization policies. While health insurance plans say these policies are in place to save costs on expensive or experimental treatments, the reality in practice is untrained insurance representatives delaying or outright denying treatment prescribed by doctors.
According to a study by the American Medical Association, 93 percent of patients face delays in necessary care because of prior authorization. On average, medical practices like mine waste two full business days per week dealing with prior authorization paperwork, but the most worrying impact is that these delays in care can cause severe harm and worsen health outcomes for my patients.
To address this problem, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act, taking a significant step toward streamlining the prior authorization process in Medicare Advantage plans. However, none of these changes will go into effect without Senate action. I encourage Sen. Chuck Grassley as a leader in the Senate to work to pass this bill this year and ensure that Medicare Advantage beneficiaries living in Iowa have timely access to the care they need.
Bharat Kumar, MD