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Prior Authorization Process

Provider Type

  • Physicians
  • Participating Physician Groups (PPG)
  • Ancillary

Prior authorization is needed for prescription medications when:

  • A medication is listed on the Health Net Drug List (Formulary) as needing prior authorization.
  • A medication is not listed on the Formulary.
  • A step therapy exception is requested.

There are three options for submitting a prior authorization form:

  1. Submit the prior authorization electronically through CoverMyMeds.
  2. Complete the Prescription Drug Prior Authorization or Step Therapy Exception Request Form (PDF) and submit to Pharmacy Services.
  3. Contact Pharmacy Services directly via telephone.

When using the Prescription Drug Prior Authorization or Step Therapy Exception Request Form (PDF) it must be electronically submitted, faxed to Pharmacy Services or submitted by any reasonable means of transmission. Faxes are accepted 24 hours a day, and each request is tracked to ensure efficient handling of inquiries from physicians and members. Requests for prior authorization may also be called into Pharmacy Services. Requests are processed within 24 hours for urgent requests and 72 hours for standard requests.  If a health care service plan, contracted physician group or utilization review organization fails to notify a prescribing provider of its coverage determination within 72 hours for nonurgent requests, or within 24 hours if exigent circumstances exist, upon receipt of a completed prior authorization or step therapy exception request, the prior authorization or step therapy exception request shall be deemed approved for the duration of the prescription, including refills. 

Pharmacy Services will respond via fax to advise providers the status of the request.

The Prescription Drug Prior Authorization or Step Therapy Exception Request Form (PDF) and medication-use guidelines are also available through Pharmacy Services fax-back system: select option 2, for commercial claim form.

Exigent Requests

Exigent circumstances take place when a member is suffering from a serious health condition that may jeopardize their life, health or ability to regain maximum functions, or is undergoing a current course of treatment using a non-formulary medication.

Providers may request an expedited medication review based on exigent circumstances by contacting Pharmacy Services. The request must include an oral or written statement, which includes the following:

  • An exigency exists and the basis for the exigency.
  • A justification supporting the need for the non-formulary medication to treat the member's condition, including a statement that covered formulary medications on any tier would not be as effective as the non-formulary medication, or would have adverse effects.

Health Net makes a coverage determination and notifies the member and prescribing physician or other prescriber, as appropriate, of the determination no later than 24 hours after receiving the request or any additional information requested by Health Net that is reasonably necessary to make the determination. If approved, Health Net continues to provide the requested medication throughout the duration of the member's health condition.

Participating physician group (PPG) step therapy and exception process

For PPGs delegated as financially responsible through capitation or other financial arrangement, or for which medical management (medical necessity review) is done by other than the health plan, the utilization review organization must comply with state law1 relating to self-injectable medications and self-injectable step therapy exception determinations and procedures.

1Health and Safety Code Sections 1367.206 and 1367.241.

  • The provider may appeal a denial of an exception request for coverage of a nonformulary drug, prior authorization request or step therapy exception request consistent with the plan’s current utilization management processes. The law requires the provider to submit justification and supporting clinical documentation supporting the provider’s determination that the required prescription drug is inconsistent with good professional practice for provision of medically necessary covered services.
  • PPGs that do their own utilization review on behalf of the plan, or between the plan and another contracted entity, are required to comply with the specified provisions of state law relating to step therapy determinations and procedures. Denial of step therapy exception requests require a notification to the prescribing provider and member on the external appeal process through the plan (independent medical review) or request additional or clinical documentation to make a coverage determination. In addition, notification of an incomplete or missing clinical documentation step therapy exception request requires notification to the prescribing provider.

PPGs must ensure that they have this process in place.

As a result, a financially responsible PPG cannot deny, as standard practice:

  • PA for a nonformulary drug only because the member has not tried and failed with a formulary drug, and
  • PA for a step therapy exception only because the member has not tried and failed with a preferred drug in the step therapy process.
  • Denial or approval must be based on the medically necessary documentation provided with the PA.
Last Updated: 07/01/2024