INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Some Hoosiers may have gotten a letter recently from UnitedHealthcare that may make them think they have to change their doctor.
It’s a letter that is the latest shot fired in a battle between two large health care companies. IU Health’s contract with United Healthcare expired on Dec. 31. That means, if UnitedHealthcare is your insurance provider, going to any of the IU Health facilities or doctors became “out of network,” which means a higher cost for patients.
But IU Health said at the time, it would still bill patients as if they were “in network,” so patients would not pay more. Negotiations between the two sides continued.
On Jan. 29, UnitedHealthcare sent letters to its customers that might imply things have changed. At the top, it says, “Notice of Termination.” IU Health is no longer in UnitedHealthcare’s Provider Network.
While that might make patients think they can no longer use IU Health doctors or facilities, 24-Hour News 8 confirmed with IU Health nothing has changed.
The letter from UnitedHealthcare goes on to say, “you will need to access out of network benefits to seek care from physicians and facilities impacted by this termination.” Which could result in higher out of pocket expense. The letter says, to continue receiving the highest level of benefits, patients should choose a hospital and or physician within the United Healthcare network.
IU Health confirmed for 24-Hour News 8, it “will continue to charge you at the lower in network rate.”
UnitedHealthcare customers’ insurance will still be honored by IU Health facilities and physicians. IU Health will continue to bill patients at the lower “in-network” rate.
Negotiations between the two companies continues. To find out how to make sure you get the “in-network” rate, go to the IU Health website.
It’s not clear what the final result will be, but for now, despite the letter, nothing has changed.