UnitedHealthcare And NY Hospitals Face Off Over Curbing Health Costs

The New York Times reports that, in New York City, "a major hospital chain and one of the nation's largest insurance companies are locked in a struggle over control of treatment and costs that could have broad ramifications for millions of people with private health insurance." The dispute, between Continuum Health Partners, a consortium of five New York hospitals and UnitedHealthcare, is "not just over rates but also over UnitedHealthcare's demand that the hospitals notify the insurance company within 24 hours after a patient's admission. If a hospital failed to do so, UnitedHealthcare would cut its reimbursements for the patient by half. ... Health care analysts say that such battles could become more common if federal policy promotes competition among insurance companies, perhaps including insurance exchanges, as an important engine for driving down health care costs" (Hartocollis, 1/24).

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