Posted 8/7/2014 10:40 AM (GMT -6)
My insurance (a BCBS Medicare Advantage) used to authorize procedures immediately, on the spot, when the request was sent in online. Now, I'm told, it takes at least a week to get an "auth."
I got shingles, not bad at first, about a week ago. I called my pain doctor for a few more Norco to get me through, and got that, but I was also told I could have an epidural for the dermatome pain. So, having visiting relatives in the house for distraction, I let it go the week, until now the pain's bad. (I'm allergic to immunizations, actually the additives, so I hadn't gotten the shot.)
My problem is that, according to what I've read, the epidural is 100% effective if given within the first two weeks of the outbreak, but it falls to only 20% after that and less each day. I called the insurance and they confirmed it does now take a week for "review," although they do have the request. My pain doc has a space today and more all next week, but my appointment could not be scheduled before a week from tomorrow because of the insurance delay. I did ask for an earlier date if the approval comes in sooner.
So, now it feels like I'm getting post herpetic neuralgia, which apparently, is one of the top causes of suicide in older people. I really didn't need that on top of my already never-below-8-on-the-pain-scale from Central Nerve Pain from the broken neck.
Question: Is this happening throughout the insurance industry? Are they all delaying our treatment, hoping we'll go away, or worse?