UnitedHealthcare Contracts Rejected
Nearly 300 doctors in the San Francisco Bay Area have rejected preferred provider contracts with UnitedHealthcare after the insurer offered reimbursement rates that are up to 30% lower than previous rates, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The insurer offered the new rates after its recent merger with PacifiCare.
Doctors have begun sending letters to patients saying they will no longer accept UnitedHealthcare after June 22. As many as 900,000 UnitedHealthcare PPO patients statewide could be affected by the contract dispute.
Some hospitals, including O'Connor Hospital in San Jose and Stanford University hospitals, said they would accept UnitedHealthcare until the end of the year to accommodate patients. O'Connor Chief Operating Officer Joanne Allen estimated that it will cost the hospital $1.5 million to accept UnitedHealthcare reimbursement rates that are 30% lower on average.
Networking firm Cisco Systems said it would cover additional costs employees incur by seeking treatment from doctors who will no longer accept UnitedHealthcare, according to spokesperson Robyn Jenkins-Blum (Feder Ostrov, San Jose Mercury News, 6/9).