Memorial Health Care System and UnitedHealthcare remain at odds as the deadline on the current contract nears.
Earlier, Memorial and BlueCross were deadlocked before finally reaching agreement on a new pact:
Memorial officials issued this statement:
Memorial Health Care System is currently in contract negotiations with UnitedHealthcare to reach a new agreement before our contract expires on October 31, 2012. If we are unable to reach agreement with United by October 31, 2012, patients with United Commercial insurance may be forced to pay more money out of pocket to continue care with Memorial Health Care System, including Memorial Hospital, Memorial Hospital Hixson, and the MaryEllen Locher Breast Center starting November 1, 2012.
What’s more, select physicians received letters from UnitedHealthcare stating that they will be considered out of network as of November 1, 2012 if they do not practice at other hospitals than Memorial. This includes physicians at the Chattanooga Heart Institute. Please call 423-495-2286 to gain additional information about the participation of local providers.
Facts About The Negotiations
Our current contract with United is set to end on October 31, 2012, yet we are committed to working diligently with United to bring this issue to speedy resolution and reach a new agreement. We would much rather focus our efforts on what we do best – caring for our community – yet United has not committed the time and attention necessary to get a new contract finalized.
Here are the facts:
- We tried to start negotiations with United eight months ago in order to give ourselves plenty of time to get a contract signed before the expiration date; however, United has not been responsive.
- The offer United provided they said was a 15% reduction in payment rates.
- All we are asking for is a rate adjustment that is in line with the market, yet United has remained silent and not responded.
- It’s difficult to understand how United can justify slashing payments when our hospital has been struggling financially and cutting costs to stay in the black.
Please know that no matter what happens with United, it is our mission to do everything within our power to protect our patients and the care they receive at our hospital. We hope that United will make the same commitment to protecting their members’ access to quality care at our facilities.
What This Means for Patients with United Commercial Insurance
If we are unable to reach agreement with United by October 31, 2012, Memorial Health Care System, including Memorial Hospital, Memorial Hospital Hixson, and the Mary Ellen Locher Breast Center will be considered out of network starting on November 1, 2012. As a result, patients with United commercial insurance may be faced with higher out of pocket costs to continue care at our facilities.
Explore Your Options
As you are considering your health insurance options for the next benefit plan year, we encourage you to explore all of your insurance plans and choose a plan that gives you certainty in your network. The good news is that Memorial has partnerships with all other insurance companies.
Memorial Hospital, Memorial Hospital Hixson, MaryEllen Locher Breast Center, and our Home Health Services are impacted by these negotiations.
Memorial Mission Surgery Center is not impacted by these negotiations with United and will remain in-network. You can continue to receive your care with them just as you always have in the past.
Memorial Health Care Physicians
UnitedHealthcare sent a termination letter to Memorial Health Partner Foundation physicians to be effective March 1, 2013. They are proposing a significant decrease. To get additional information on Memorial Health Partners Foundation you can call 423-495-4848.
Medicare Advantage Patients
Memorial Health Care System facilities and physicians currently are not participating providers in United’s Medicare Advantage network.
Whatever the outcome with United, patients can always receive care through our emergency rooms for emergency care. This is a covered benefit in every health benefit plan whether we’re in-network or not.
Sign-up As a Supporter Today!
Please email us to show your support for Memorial Health Care System in its efforts to reach a fair contract with United and to stay updated on the issue. We appreciate your support!