Utilization management, Oxford Commercial Supplement - 2022 UnitedHealthcare Administrative Guide

Prior authorization (precertification)

We refer to the terms “prior authorization” and “precertification” in the supplement. You will notice both terms used throughout this supplement.

You may submit prior authorization requests using any of the methods outlined in the How to Contact Oxford Commercial section.

We urge you, facilities, ancillaries and other health care professionals to perform a prior authorization status check first to determine if there is already a prior authorization on file.

Submit prior authorization as far in advance of the planned service as possible to allow for review. We require prior authorization at least 14 business days before the planned service date unless otherwise specified within the Services Requiring Prior Authorization policy at > For Commercial Plans > UnitedHealthcare® Oxford Clinical, Administrative and Reimbursement Policies.

  • Submit authorization requests for obstetrical admissions for normal delivery as early as possible in the course of prenatal care, based on the expected date of delivery.
  • Participating health care providers and facilities are responsible for contacting us for:
    • Procedures requiring prior authorization. However, an active referral must also be on file for services to be covered as network benefits, depending on the member’s health benefit plan referral requirements.
    • Any change of treating health care provider, location, CPT codes or dates of service for the authorized service.
    • Member emergency admissions upon admission or on the day of admission. If the health care provider/facility is unable to determine on the day of admission that the patient is our member, the health care provider/facility must notify us as soon as possible after discovering that the patient has coverage with us.
  • We notify participating health care providers of all determinations involving New York members by phone and in writing. All participating health care providers are responsible for calling the member the same day the health care provider receives notification of our determination.
  • Neither prior authorization nor referral is required for members to access a participating women’s health specialist (i.e., gynecologists and/or certified nurse midwives) for routine and preventive health care services. Routine and preventive health care services include breast exams, mammograms and pap tests.
  • Members are responsible for notifying us of emergency facility admissions to a non-participating facility.
  • We may require a member see a health care provider, selected by us, for a second opinion. We reserve the right to seek a second opinion for any surgical procedure. There is no formal list of procedures requiring second opinions. Members may also seek a second opinion when appropriate.

Status of a submitted authorization request

Verify the status of an authorization request by the following methods:

  • Voice Portal: available 24 hours a day
  • Online: available 24 hours a day
  • Provider Services: speak to a service representative during business hours

Medically necessary services

Medically necessary services are services or supplies provided by a hospital, skilled nursing facility (SNF) or health care provider which are required to identify or treat a member’s illness or injury, as determined by our medical director. These services or supplies must be:

  • Consistent with the symptoms or diagnosis and treatment of a member’s condition.
  • Appropriate regarding standards of good medical practice.
  • Not solely for the member’s convenience or that of any health care provider.
  • The most appropriate supply or level of service which may safely be provided.
  • For inpatient services, it also means the member’s condition may not safely be diagnosed or treated on an outpatient basis.

Prior authorization list

  1. Go to > Advance Notification and Clinical Submission Requirements > Commercial Advanced Notification/Prior Authorization Requirements
  2. The Services Requiring Prior Authorization Administrative Policy is at > For Commercial Plans > UnitedHealthcare® Oxford Clinical, Administrative and Reimbursement Policies.
  3. You may request a copy of the most current list by mail: 

Oxford Policy Requests and Information
4 Research Drive
Shelton, CT 06484

Changes to the policies related to services appearing on this list are announced in the Oxford Policy Update Bulletin available at > For Commercial Plans > UnitedHealthcare® Oxford Clinical, Administrative and Reimbursement Policies > Policy Update Bulletin.

  • A member’s benefit plan may not cover certain services, regardless of whether we require advance notification.
  • If there is conflict or inconsistency between applicable regulations and the supplement notification requirements, we follow applicable regulations.
  • Prior authorization requirements may differ by individual health care providers, ancillary providers and facilities. If additional prior authorization requirements apply, we notify you before applying prior authorization rules.

eviCore Healthcare prior authorizations online

eviCore healthcare (eviCore) provides a secure, interactive web-based program where prior authorization requests may be initiated and determined in real time. If the program finds the request is medically necessary, it issues an authorization number immediately. If the program cannot verify medical necessity through the online process, you may submit more information at the session conclusion and print a procedure request summary page. If an online request for authorization doesn’t meet medical necessity criteria, eviCore forwards it for clinical review. They may request more information for medical necessity review with a medical director.

If the criteria have not been met, your office and the member are notified in writing of the denial. Use the Prior Authorizations tool in the UnitedHealthcare Provider Portal, where the automated system guides you through a series of prompts to collect routine demographic and clinical data. This eliminates the need to call eviCore and lets you enter multiple clinical certification requests at your convenience. Learn more at

Prescription medications requiring prior authorization

Based on the member’s benefit plan design, some high-risk or high-cost medications require advance notification to be eligible for coverage. This process is also known as prior authorization and requires you to submit a formal request and receive advanced approval for coverage of certain prescription medications.

Learn more at > Clinical Pharmacy and Specialty Drugs.

Prior authorization and referral guidelines when coordinating benefits

When we are the secondary or tertiary carrier, we modify normal requirements for prior authorization and referrals as follows:

  • We defer to the requirements of the primary carrier and waive our referral and prior authorization guidelines. We do not waive other requirements (e.g., itemized bills, student verification, consent for exchange of mental health or substance use information).
  • Exception: Referral and prior authorization guidelines apply:
    • If the primary carrier does not cover a service or applies an authorization penalty.
    • When a motor vehicle accident occurs or workers’ compensation is involved.