UnitedHealth to drop 19% of docs from Medicare Advantage plans

UnitedHealth is cutting its provider network for Medicare Advantage plans available in Connecticut, potentially dropping about 2,250 doctors--or 19 percent of its statewide network--from the plans.

"With the many changes happening in healthcare, we are building a network of healthcare providers that we can collaborate with more closely to have the most positive impact on the quality of care for our members," UnitedHealth spokesperson Benjamin Goldstein told the Hartford Courant. "This will encourage better health outcomes and ultimately lower costs."

He added that UnitedHealth is notifying its members affected by the changes to help them transition to new providers.

However, the Connecticut State Medical Society is pushing back against UnitedHealth's cuts to its provider network, asking the insurer to clarify its network adequacy issue. "We caution against narrowing of networks or tiering as those practices do nothing more than limit patient access to medically necessary care while increasing patient expense," Matthew Katz, CEO of the state society, told the Stamford Advocate.

And Mark Thompson, executive director of the Fairfield County Medical Association, suggested UnitedHealth's decision could be related to the five-star quality rating system. Speaking with the Courant, he said, "Obviously, our concern is, if United [Healthcare] feels like it has to do this, then are there other carriers thinking of doing the same thing to boost their profitability because they, too, want to get a higher star rating from the Centers for Medicare [& Medicaid] Services?"

To learn more:
- read the Hartford Courant article
- see the Stamford Advocate article

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