UnitedHealthcare to expand bundled payments in its Medicare Advantage plans

UnitedHealthcare office
UnitedHealthcare plans to expand bundled payments to Medicare Advantage patients. (UnitedHealthcare)

UnitedHealthcare will expand its use of bundled payments to providers in 30 states that participate in Medicaid Advantage next year, the insurer announced Wednesday.

In the UnitedHealthcare Care Bundles program, physicians and hospitals who treat patients enrolled in its Medicare Advantage plans will have the opportunity to participate in bundles for eight medical procedures: single and double hip joint replacements, single and double knee join replacements, noncervical spinal fusion, cardiac valve replacement, coronary bypass, and percutaneous coronary intervention. 

The idea is to emphasize high-quality, coordinated care at a lower cost, UnitedHealthcare said in the announcement. The model will launch in January.

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In addition, UnitedHealthcare will “provide partnering care providers with care management solutions, patient engagement tools, performance analytics and consulting, and payment administration services,” Jeff Meyerhofer, president of bundled payment solutions for UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement, told FierceHealthcare. 

Meyerhofer stressed the insurer’s extensive data and technology experience, making the healthcare payer a great asset to care providers at a lower cost.

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“We are making it easier for care providers by managing both the fee-for-service and Medicare Advantage models, taking on the administrative burden and tailoring our services to their individual needs, so they can focus on caring for their patients,” he added in a statement.

UnitedHealthcare expects to pay $75 billion annually in care provider reimbursements tied to value-based arrangements by the end of 2020. Currently, about 3 million people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans are treated by care providers in value-based models.