UnitedHealthcare contracts stop making no-warning fee changes

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UnitedHealthcare has announced that it will soon revise contracts that allowed it to lower physician pay without notice. The change, which will affect about 70,000 doctors across the U.S., should take effect in April.

United says the existing contract was based on a "progressive RVU" methodology, which allowed it to change pay rates every three months when Medicare adjusted its relative value units. The new contracts rolling out April 1 will instead be based on Medicare's 2008 resource-based relative value scale.

The existing policy had raised hackles with physicians and trade groups, including the California Medical Association, which complained to the health plan and state regulators. According to the association, the progressive RVU pay schedule was leading to pay changes of as much as 9.5 percent, including for frequently-used CPT codes such as those used for preventive visits.

To get more information on the fee changes:
- read this American Medical News piece

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