Mobile Menu - OpenMobile Menu - Closed

Connect

Congressman John Larson

Representing the 1st District of Connecticut

Larson, Blumenthal, Courtney Urge UnitedHealthcare Not to Put Connecticut Seniors in Middle of Negotiations with Hartford Healthcare

March 24, 2017
Press Release

U.S. Representative John Larson (D-1),U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT),  and U.S. Representative Joe Courtney (D-2) are urging UnitedHealthcare not to put Connecticut seniors in the middle of its negotiations with Hartford Healthcare. 

. If contract negotiations between UnitedHealthcare and Hartford Healthcare fail, many physicians would no longer be considered in-network for Connecticut seniors on Medicare Advantage plans. This would force beneficiaries to either switch providers mid-year or pay out of pocket. In a letter to the CEO of UnitedHealth Group today, the lawmakers called on the health care company to take immediate steps to clarify the status of the negotiations to its beneficiaries, provide a call line that Connecticut residents can use to get further information about the status of their particular providers, and allow beneficiaries to continue seeing their provider of choice as an in-network provider until the end of the plan year if negotiations are not successful.

 

“We understand that you are currently in negotiation with Hartford Healthcare regarding your contract and that it is possible that these providers will not be in network in a few weeks if negotiations fail, but that is not the message that was communicated to our constituents,” the lawmakers said. “It is wholly unfair for seniors to be put in the middle of those negotiations. We ask that constituents are made aware of what the impact on them will be and limit that impact to the best extent possible. If seniors cannot trust that their qualified doctors who are in-network when they sign up for their Medicare Advantage plans will be there throughout the plan year, it creates uncertainty as to whether they can rely on those plans.”

 

The text of the letter is available here and below.

 

Mr. Stephen Hemsley

CEO

UnitedHealth Group

701 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest # 650

Washington, D.C.  20004

 

Dear Mr. Hemsley,

 

We write out of concern for our constituents who have been notified by UnitedHealthcare that their physicians will be dropped from UnitedHealthcare networks beginning April 15, 2017, and that they will be required to switch providers or pay the full cost for the services you receive. We understand that you are currently in negotiation with Hartford Healthcare regarding your contract and that it is possible that these providers will not be in network in a few weeks if negotiations fail, but that is not the message that was communicated to our constituents. We urge you to take immediate steps to clarify the status of your negotiations to your beneficiaries, provide a call line that Connecticut residents can use to get further information about the status of their particular providers, and allow beneficiaries to continue seeing their provider of choice as an in-network provider until the end of the plan year if negotiations are not successful.

 

These are constituents who have chosen to utilize a Medicare Advantage Plan to provide the services that Medicare is required to cover and although we understand that Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has some notification requirements, we believe your priority must be in ensuring you provide accurate information, which would be consistent applicable regulations. When individuals choose to purchase a Medicare Advantage Plan through United Healthcare, they will likely have an idea that some plans come with more limited networks than others, but they do not expect to be told that those networks will be decimated in the middle of a plan year because of a failure for two companies to agree to contract terms. It is wholly unfair for seniors to be put in the middle of those negotiations. We ask that make sure that constituents are made aware of what the impact on them will be and limit that impact to the extent possible. If seniors cannot trust that their qualified doctors who are in-network when they sign up for their Medicare Advantage plans will be there throughout the plan year, it creates uncertainty as to whether they can rely on those plans.

 

Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.

 

###

Issues: