OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Negotiations are still underway for more funding between OU Health and United Healthcare, but the agreement did not meet United Healthcare’s May 1 deadline, which now denies these patients treatment at OU Health.
According to a spokesman for United Healthcare, OU Health sent a notice in October 2021, terminating its contract at the time of its conclusion, along with a request to increase the rate.
The first notice warning the UHC insurance holder was sent in March, followed by another in April.
Dr Robert Manel, MD, director of the OU Health Stephenson Center, told KFOR that the university had called for “modest interest rate hikes” to fight inflation and the effects of covid-19. “Even with these modest increases, we would not be exhausted compared to previous years due to the increase in staff costs.”
OU Health initially requested a 40% increase over three years, which would increase health care costs for Oklahoma residents by $ 49 million.
This request was rejected by United Healthcare.
Since then, OU Health has made at least five counter-offers, lowering its required rates, according to Dr. Manel.
The latest request is a one-year deal that will make the hospital 34% more expensive than other hospitals in Oklahoma City.
“It’s not affordable or sustainable for Oklahoma residents,” added Spencer Luning, a UHC spokesman.
The UHC published a statement on its website regarding the ongoing negotiations with OU Health, stating
“During the negotiations, OU Health’s demands would lead to increased out-of-pocket premiums and costs for our members, as well as the cost of doing business for companies that simply want to offer affordable health coverage to their employees.
The statement also said that the current OU proposal would directly increase healthcare costs for self-insured clients, given that these employees pay the costs of their employees’ medical bulls themselves instead of relying on the UHC to pay for them. claims. In Oklahoma, 71% of UHC members are enrolled in self-employment plans.
OU Health combats this statement, saying they want a contract that keeps up with the growing needs of their patients.
April Sandefer, communications director for OU Health, said UHC was asking OU Health to reduce the rate by 39% for its doctors and 20% for their facilities. “Reduction of this kind is simply not sustainable for our mission and is unacceptable for our doctors, nurses and the care of our patients.”
OU Health said the UHC did not respond to their requests to discuss the continuity of care for their patients. OU also claims that UHC does not respond to allowing OU back into their network.
However, UHC calls on OU Health to accept their latest proposal to restore network access for these patients.
As negotiations continue, patients like Kelly Byrd are struggling to find a new doctor.
The beard has undergone back surgery twice, one in November 2021 and another in May 2022. This year, she must have two more postoperative surgeries to ensure that her back is completely fused, but because United Healthcare she is no longer online, she can’t make her last appointment.
Beard told KFOR that it was discouraging to hear what was happening between OU Health and United Healthcare because she heard other patients’ medical stories and how they could no longer be treated.
Beard is currently doing her homework for other doctors in the area, hoping to find someone else to take care of her. She means two, but she hasn’t settled on one yet.
Another OU patient, Andrew Hane, is struggling to find someone, but he would prefer the same doctor to take care of his records instead of starting over with someone new.
“Somehow I came back from that. “You pay for your health insurance and you don’t expect to be told, hey, we’re not going to respect that anymore,” Hane said.
Hane is in communication with United Healthcare, which wants to assess its capabilities. Looking back on his experience with OU Health, he said he felt like “just another number,” not a “cared for patient.”
Dr Manel, meanwhile, said OU Health offered uninterrupted care for three months to all United Healthcare patients, but that would only include office visits.
Thousands of United Healthcare patients can no longer be seen at OU Health
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