Prior Authorization

Prior Authorization

Need to request a prior authorization but don't know where to start? We've put together some information to better serve you when requesting prior authorization. Our goal is to make the prior authorization process fast, easy and accurate.

  • General Prior Authorization

    General Precertification

    The Medical Form Resource Center (MFRC) is an online tool created to allow you to submit your precertification requests for some services electronically. The system is fast and easy to use and ensures accuracy. Access the user guide here.

    Precertification and Referral Guide — Learn how to submit a referral or precertification request through My Insurance ManagerSM and determine which services we can automatically authorize. 

    You can also submit requests using the Prior Authorization for Services and Procedures Form.

    Ancillary Services — BlueChoice HealthPlan directly manages prior authorizations, claims and network management processes for ancillary services, including:
    •    Durable Medical Equipment (DME) 
    •    Hemophilia management 
    •    Home health services 
    •    Home infusion therapy 
    •    Orthotics and prosthetics 
    •    Oxygen and respiratory equipment 
    •    Home physical therapy 
    •    Home occupational therapy 
    •    Home speech therapy 
    •    Private duty nursing 
    •    Hospice 

    Please use the Prior Authorization Request for Ancillary Services Form. 

  • Services Managed by NIA Magellan Healthcare Inc.

    Services Managed by NIA Magellan Healthcare Inc.

    NIA Magellan is an independent company that provides utilization management services on behalf of BlueChoice HealthPlan. Magellan manages precertification for advanced radiology, musculoskeletal care, radiation oncology and nuclear cardiology, as well as certain imaging services. 

    • Radiology Services 
    • Musculoskeletal Care Management Program 
    • Radiation Oncology Program 
    • Nuclear Cardiology 


    Radiology Services

    Visit RadMD, the secure webpage of National Imaging Associates (NIA). You can also view their radiology policies. Please select "BlueChoice HealthPlan" followed by the study desired. (These links lead to third party sites. Those companies are solely responsible for the contents and privacy policies on their sites.)

    RadMD, one of the services NIA provides, allows contracting health care providers to enter authorization requests via the internet.

    Refer to the BlueChoice® Radiology Utilization Matrix for specific procedures that require authorization.

    View the Cardiac Services Checklist and Cardiac Services Tip Sheet to learn more about prior authorization requirements.

    Musculoskeletal Care

    Beginning May 1, 2016, some groups will require National Imaging Associates (NIA) Magellan Healthcare Inc. precertification for interventional pain management spine services when performed and billed in an outpatient or office location. We also require prior authorization for lumbar and cervical spine surgery in an inpatient and/or outpatient location. 

    Here are NIA Magellan Healthcare Inc.’s reference materials about this musculoskeletal (MSK) care management program:

    Radiation Oncology Program

    Beginning January 1, 2015, some groups will require National Imaging Associates (NIA) precertification for radiation oncology services when performed and billed in an outpatient or office location. 

    Here are National Imaging Associates' reference materials about this radiation oncology program:

    Nuclear Cardiology

    Effective November 1, 2016, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and BlueChoice HealthPlan require precertification for nuclear cardiology services through National Imaging Associates (NIA). This precertification requirement is only applicable to BlueCross and BlueChoice Exchange members receiving nuclear cardiology services. Review the specific procedures in the utilization matrix.

    BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. 


  • Laboratory Prior Authorization

    Laboratory Prior Authorization

    Effective January 1, 2016, BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina and BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina require Avalon Healthcare Solutions to precertify certain lab procedures when performed in an office, outpatient or independent lab location. Avalon is an independent company that provides benefit management services on behalf of BlueCross and BlueChoice®. Please check this page frequently for new information.

    What Physicians Need to Know About Avalon
    January 1, 2016, we introduced a program that will improve the quality and reduce the cost of laboratory services our members receive. Note that with this new program, certain lab procedures when performed in an office, outpatient or independent lab location will require prior authorization.

    Why Did BlueChoice Make This Change?
    The cost of health care is rising for everyone and we have an obligation to ensure that our members receive the highest quality of care at the most affordable cost. Laboratory medicine is continuing to become increasingly complex. As technology improves, the cost and utilization of these services increase. This program will assist us in ensuring appropriate testing for our members at the lowest out-of-pocket cost

    How Does This Program Affect You?
    We are dedicated to ensuring your patients receive the highest quality laboratory testing at the most reasonable cost. We can only accomplish this if we effectively manage the network of laboratory providers and if your practice accesses the laboratories that have been accredited for participation in the health plan.

    Sometimes patients may need a specialized test. BlueChoice has considered this issue and has included specialty labs and centers of excellence within the network of laboratory providers. The centers of excellence are staffed by qualified clinical pathologists and genetic counselors prepared to answer your inquiries both before and after you perform testing.

    We do not qualify all laboratories. If an out-of-network laboratory services you or you have outpatient testing performed by a hospital, your patients’ out-of-pocket cost may be significant. To ensure the lowest cost to your patients, please send BlueCross and BlueChoice members’ testing to in-network laboratories only.

    Avalon has developed a Lab Procedure Authorization matrix in an effort to help you determine when you need to contact Avalon for prior authorization. You can submit requests for prior authorization by fax, phone or the web tool. Avalon will promptly review your request and provide a timely, written decision.

    Please note that Avalon doesn't manage services in an emergency room or hospital inpatient setting. This change does not alter the available member benefits, but using these participating providers will result in a lower out-of-pocket cost for your BlueCross- and BlueChoice-covered patients.

    How Do You Contact Avalon?
    You can send prior authorization requests to Avalon by completing the Preauthorization Request Form, by calling 844-227-5769 or by faxing 888-791-2181.

    Which Laboratories are In-network?
    View a comprehensive list of the independent laboratories that are in-network. You can also use our Doctor & Hospital Finder to find participating labs. 

    What Other Resources are Available to Assist Me in Learning More About Avalon? 
    Here are reference materials about Avalon:


    BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. 

  • Specialty Medical Drug Prior Authorization

    Specialty medications often are covered under the medical benefit. They can be costly for our members, and not all plans cover them the same way. That’s why it’s important to review whether the use of these medications meets coverage criteria before a specialty drug is provided. 

    The program also includes requirements for self-administered drugs and site-of-care that may impact coverage, which is important to know if you provide these types of medications. 

    Medical Specialty Drugs

    To find out which medical specialty drugs require prior authorization under the Specialty Medical Benefit Management (SMBM) program, view the Medical Drug List

    Note: Some infused specialty medications commonly administered in the hospital setting can be safely provided at home, in a physician’s office or in an infusion suite. Drugs with a site-of-care requirement may only be approved in certain sites of care or if the patient is under 18 years of age.

    Self-Administered Drugs

    Certain self-administered drugs aren’t covered under the medical benefit. The drugs on the Self-Administered Drug List must be billed under the pharmacy benefit. There are some exceptions. Hematologists, oncologists, nephrologists and rheumatologists may continue to bill for these drugs under the medical benefit. Additionally, some member benefit plans may be exempt. 

    We make changes to all of our drug lists from time to time. Updates usually occur quarterly but can happen at any time. 

    Note: Prior authorizations for medical specialty drugs have always been a requirement for BlueChoice HealthPlan members.