Insurance sending request to dr for more info for prior auth approval by U.S. mail and setting 1 week deadline

I’ve been having issues getting prescription prior authorizations approved by my U.S. health insurance (through my husband’s employer) for years. I just identified a likely cause of much of the trouble – they sent a request for more information to my doctor by U.S. mail, and requested a response within 1 week or else they’d deny the request. They sent me a copy of the letter also by U.S. mail. The letter requested additional info be provided within 7 days or else they’d deny the request due to lack of info.

The letter was dated 7 days prior to the day I received it, which is odd as mail shouldn’t take that long. Also, I called them after the letter date and they said it was in work, no mention of needing info. So I don’t believe the letter date. I had assumed they faxed these to my doctors as the letters have my doctor’s fax and their fax, and they ask for a response by fax, so it’s very misleading.

Additionally, they now say their turn-around time is 14 business days. If they ask for more info it re-starts that clock. With all of this combined it takes a ridiculous amount of time to get anything approved. I’ve been waiting 3 weeks just to get to the stage of doctor wrote prescription, pharmacy requested prior auth from doctor, doctor’s office sent request, insurance said they need more info, and doctor provided info.

Apparently it needs to be literally life and death to be classified as urgent. I’ve had a doctor mark urgent in the past (as I had already been on the med and was now out), and they overrode that saying it wasn’t urgent.

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Even when they approve a prior auth, I don’t know until I receive a letter in the mail (or call them to ask or ask the pharmacy to try to run it). I’ve asked for an e-mail or text or something instead of a letter but the phone rep says they have no control over it.

Has anyone else run into this sort of issue? Is it legal? Is there anything I can do? It seems like they are purposely trying to make me and my doctor give up. Having a 7 day timeframe which includes U.S. mail is shady. I’ve had requests denied in the past solely due to my doctor’s office apparently not replying fast enough, requiring us to re-start the process.