This commentary is by Marvin Malek, MD MPH. He is an internist from Berlin. He is an active member of the Vermont Medical Society and Vermont Physicians for a National Health Program.

The Legislature should pass H.766, the bill now being considered by the Vermont Senate that takes some first steps reining in the insurance company practice of “prior authorization.”

Here’s how prior authorization works: Let’s say that you’ve been dutifully paying your health insurance premiums each month and have had no medical issues. Finally, you develop a problem, have an office visit with your doctor, and your doctor orders various tests and treatments. You expect your insurer to simply cover the treatment plan. But the insurer has another option. continue reading