More than three years ago, physicians, patients and other health professionals and advocacy associations, led by the Michigan State Medical Society, joined together to create Health Can’t Wait. This coalition was formed to develop and enact into law legislation that would put Michigan patients first and end delayed access to vital health care services. Throughout this time, MSMS physicians and our coalition partners shared countless stories of the ways prior authorization caused unnecessary and costly care delays and interfered in medical decision-making. We are happy to report that after years of hard work your voices have been heard!
Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Senate Bill 247 into law. Senate Bill 247 reforms the prior authorization process by reducing wait times and streamlining how physician offices and payers interact, all with a goal of reducing endless paperwork and ultimately improving access to care for patients.
“Today is a wonderful day for Michigan patients who can now rest easy knowing insurance company prior authorization practices will no longer prove to be an impassable roadblock between them and the timely care and treatment they too often desperately need," said MSMS President Pino Colone, MD. “Speaking on behalf of providers, patient advocacy groups and patients across the state, I want to thank Governor Whitmer and Michigan’s lawmakers for recognizing the need for reform in this area and then working to craft and enact legislation that delivers. In signing SB 247, Governor Whitmer has ushered in new era where transparency, clinical validity and fairness to patients will all be factored into the prior authorization process, protecting Michigan patients from costly and dangerous delays in access to health care. Officially signing this bill into law is a tremendous—and much needed—win for countless Michigan patients and the providers who serve them.”
Senate Bill 247 would reform the prior authorization process to do the following:
- Require an insurer to make available, by June 1, 2023, a standardized electronic prior authorization request transaction process.
- Require prior authorization requirements to be based on peer-reviewed clinical review criteria.
- Require an insurer to post on its website if it implemented a new prior authorization requirement or restriction or amended an existing requirement or restriction.
- Require an insurer to notify, on issuing a medical benefit denial, the health professional and insured or enrollee of certain information, including the right to appeal the adverse determination, and require an appeal of the denial to be reviewed by a health professional.
- For a medical benefit that is not a prescription drug benefit, an insurer shall notify contracted health care providers via the insurer's provider portal of the new or amended requirement or restriction not less than 60 days before the requirement or restriction is implemented.
- For a prescription drug benefit, an insurer shall notify contracted health care providers via the insurer's provider portal of the new or amended requirement or restriction not less than 45 days before the requirement or restriction is implemented.
- Prohibits an insurer or its designee utilization review organization from affirming the denial of an appeal unless the appeal was reviewed by a licensed physician.
- For urgent requests, beginning June 1, 2023, the prior authorization is considered granted if the insurer fails to act within 72 hours of the original submission. For non-urgent requests, beginning June 1, 2023, the prior authorization is considered granted if the insurer fails to act within 9 calendar days of the original submission. After May 31, 2024, a non-urgent prior authorization is considered granted if the insurer fails to act within 7 calendar days of the original submission.
- Requires an insurer to adopt a program that promotes the modification of prior authorization requirements of certain prescription drugs, medical care, or related benefits, based on the performance of the health care providers with respect to adherence to nationally recognized evidence-based medical guidelines and other quality criteria (i.e., BCBSM “gold carding” program).