Patients are Stuck in the Middle as Insurer and Hospitals Fight… Again

images (1)Remember last fall when Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield customers faced denial of insurance coverage at the five hospitals in the Hartford HealthCare system?

Well, it’s happening again.

This time for patients at Hartford Hospital and the Hospital of Central Connecticut insured by UnitedHealthcare.

According to the Hartford Courant, the hospital system sent 16,883 notices last week to UnitedHealthcare and Oxford Health Plans customers who have recently been patients at two of the hospitals — Hartford Hospital and the Hospital of Central Connecticut.

UnitedHealthcare and its Oxford Health Plans subsidiary have about 475,000 customers in Connecticut and started offering policies on Access Health CT this year.

More Connecticut residents could be hit over the next few months if an agreement is not reached:

  • Contracts with the three other Hartford HealthCare hospitals, William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich, MidState Medical Center in Meriden, and Windham Hospital expire on May 26.
  • The contract with the Hartford Physician Hospital Organization, which consists of doctors who work with Hartford HealthCare facilities, expires on June 15.

When these contracts expire, UnitedHealthcare’s commercial and Medicare Advantage patients will face higher out of pocket costs for services at these facilities, which dominate the cities and towns they’re in.

We explored the effects of hospital conversions on patient access and prices in a report last fall.  We also discussed how consumers are hurt when these juggernauts collide.

This is deja vu we did not want.

 

 

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