UnitedHealth to offer $1.5B in financial support to members, including premium credits

UnitedHealth Group announced its latest initiative targeting COVID-19 on Thursday. (jetcityimage/Getty)

UnitedHealth Group will make more than $1.5 billion in financial assistance available to its members. 

That will include premium credits to customers, the healthcare giant announced on Thursday. For members in UnitedHealthcare’s fully insured individual and employer, credits of between 5% and 20% will be put toward June premium billings. 

The amount offered will vary depending on plan design, UnitedHealth said. 

The insurer will also waive cost-sharing for all primary care physician and specialist visits in Medicare Advantage through at least September.  

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In addition, UnitedHealth said it will grow its Housing+Health and homeless support programs for its Medicaid members, providing access to shelf-stable food and baby formula and accelerating funds through the programs to state partners and providers. 

“Our core values of integrity, compassion, relationships, innovation and performance guide our actions in this difficult and complex situation,” UnitedHealth Group CEO David Wichmann said in a statement.  

“Amid the uncertainty over how this crisis will evolve in the months ahead, we will continuously review the effectiveness of and need for additional actions and we will act swiftly to support individuals, customers and care projects,” Wichmann added. 

Humana, another big name in the Medicare Advantage space, announced a similar effort earlier this week, saying it would waive cost-sharing for primary care and behavioral health visits for its MA members through the end of the year. 

Health plans, including UnitedHealth, have also nixed cost-sharing related to COVID-19 treatment and testing, along with in-network telehealth visits, as part of a slew of initiatives taking aim at access to and affordability of care during the pandemic. 

Insurers have also eased burdens on providers, such as prior authorization, and have accelerated payments to cover the high costs related to the virus.