Amid mounting criticism from hospitals and physician groups, health insurance giant UnitedHealthcare has said it will delay a policy that looks at payments for non-emergency emergency room visits.
The policy to review and possibly restrict certain hospital payments has sparked protests from the American Hospital Association and the American College of Emergency Physicians over the potential damage to the health and finances of patients.
In a statement released Thursday, the Minnesota-based insurer said police would be on hold until the pandemic is over.
“Based on feedback from our supplier partners and discussions with medical companies, we have decided to delay the implementation of our emergency service policy until at least the end of the national emergency period of public health, ”Tracey Lempner, spokesperson for the Minnesota-based insurer. , said in a statement.
American Hospital Association officials have urged the insurer to drop the policy altogether. If passed, the policy “would have a chilling effect on patients seeking emergency services, with potentially disastrous consequences for their health,” said Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the hospital group.
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Likewise, the American College of Emergency Physicians said it was concerned the change would prevent patients from using emergency rooms because they would be responsible for their hospital bills when UnitedHealthcare rejects them.
UnitedHealthcare told its network hospitals in 34 states this month that it will assess emergency service requests to determine whether the visits are indeed medical emergencies.
Under the now-delayed policy, claims that are not related to emergencies would not be subject to any coverage or limited coverage based on the patient’s insurance plan, according to the insurer’s notice sent to hospitals. . Up to 1 in 10 claims could be dismissed, said Lempner, spokesperson for Minnesota-based insurer
UnitedHealthcare’s policy affects commercially insured patients with employer-sponsored plans and does not apply to patients on Medicare Advantage or who have Medicaid coverage with UnitedHealthcare, Lempner said.