UnitedHealthcare Is Forcing Us Out Of Its Network

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The Issue

Instead of working with us to preserve patients’ access to the health network they trust, United has made misleading statements. What is the truth?

Northwest is committed to value-based care and quality.
We agreed to negotiate a value-based contract with United and included it in our proposal. Northwest participates in quality programs with all other top insurers servicing our area. Also, Northwest Medical Center and Oro Valley Hospital have earned awards and accreditations from leading national agencies for the safe, quality care they deliver.

United refuses to negotiate in good faith.
United will not respond to our latest offer from late February other than to say that we must accept their demands or prepare to go out of network. Our offer included a single digit rate adjustment in the first year, with lower adjustments over the following two years to keep up with healthcare inflation, far more reasonable than the immediate 25% cut United wants to make. We remain eager to reach an agreement with United.

Access to care will be more difficult.
While the Tucson area is fortunate to have many experienced providers, United is referring some patients to physicians as far as an hour away, removing them from their neighborhoods and the doctors they trust, and putting their safety at risk.

The biggest impact will be on patients.
United celebrated a dramatic increase in profits last week. Now, their decision to terminate our agreement will leave patients to bear higher out-of-pocket costs to access services.

Timeline of Events

  • Today
    United still hasn’t responded to Northwest’s proposal from February 21.

  • March 29 & 31
    Northwest contacts United to negotiate and offers an extension to the contract in order to not disrupt members’ care. United reiterates original 25% rate reduction, refuses to negotiate and refuses to extend the contract.

  • March 2
    During discussion with David Allazetta, Northwest offers weekly meetings. United declines. Northwest again agrees to including value-based contract.

  • February 27
    Meeting with United. United will not compromise on 25% cut. Northwest agrees to including value-based contract.

  • February 21
    Northwest proposes contract that includes single digit rate adjustment in the first year and lower adjustments over the following two years plus value-based care participation.

  • November 29
    United issues termination of contract with Northwest effective May 1, 2017 and demands an immediate 25% rate reduction. United included proposal of new value-based contract.

  • March 21
    United declined to offer Northwest a value-based contract.

  • Early 2016
    Discussions begin on value-based care contract with United.

What This Means for You

Out-of-Network Benefits

United members’ access to Northwest Healthcare will vary based on the benefits included in your specific health insurance plan. If you are scheduled for an upcoming surgery with Tucson Surgery Center, please call us directly at (520) 731-5533. If you are scheduled for an upcoming surgery at the Center for Pain Management, please call us directly at (520) 322-2568. We’re here to help and ensure you continue to have access to your preferred Northwest Healthcare providers. In all other instances, United members should call the number on the back of their insurance card to understand their out-of-network benefits.

Emergency Care

Your access to emergency care at Northwest Medical Center, Oro Valley Hospital and Northwest Emergency Center Vail is not impacted. You can continue to receive emergency care at our Emergency Rooms, regardless of our network status with United.

As one of the premier health systems in Tucson, Northwest Healthcare is a vital part of the region’s access to high-quality care. This issue goes beyond a single healthcare provider, a health plan, and its members. It’s a matter that impacts our entire healthcare community. Stand up to United and urge them to put patients – and our community – before its financial motivations.

Make Your Voice Heard