Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Houston Methodist will be back in-network for UnitedHealthcare - HoustonChronicle.com



Houston Methodist will be back in-network for UnitedHealthcare

Houston Methodist will remain in UnitedHealthcare’s network seven months after the insurer announced it would part ways with the hospital.
The contract enlighten had left 100,000 UnitedHealthcare plan holders scrambling to find new doctors.
“Houston Methodist and UnitedHealthcare have reached an agreement in principle, but we are working through many complex details of the contract now,” hospital spokeswoman Stefanie Asin said in a Thursday statement.
The companies will release more information about when a final agreement will go into effect to UnitedHealthcare plan holders at a later date, Asin said.
The insurer ended its 21-year contract with Houston Methodist last year over what UnitedHealthcare said were skyrocketing health care costs.
Methodist physicians were slated to remain in-network through April 1, but both parties extended the doctors’ contract through May 31 to allow patients to see their doctors at lower in-network rates during the coronavirus pandemic.


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Negotiations between one of Houston’s largest hospital networks and UnitedHealthcare have been cantankerous, becoming public via billboards and advertisements, including full-page messages in the Chronicle.
“We have been engaged in daily discussions and have made significant progress toward reaching a new, multi-year agreement,” said Cole Manbeck, a UnitedHealthcare spokesperson.
In an email to employees, Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom wrote, “The negotiation period was very tough for our patients, physicians and employees who have waited for resolution with UnitedHealthcare. I am very pleased for our patients that we have reached this agreement.”
As health care costs jump, Houston’s medical providers and insurance companies have ended longstanding contracts. A week after UnitedHealthcare announced in October it would drop Houston Methodist, local plan Community Health Choice announced it would do the same to Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.
In December, Cigna announced it would terminate its contract with Memorial Hermann Hospital System, affecting 178,000 plan members and 1,460 doctors. Memorial Hermann and Cigna extended their contract in March to June 30, allowing Cigna customers to continue seeing their doctors at in-network rates during the pandemic.
Houston Methodist will continue to switch 26,000 hospital employees’ insurance from UnitedHealthcare to a Cigna subsidiary.

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