Tuesday, August 4, 2009

United acquires HealthNet in Northeast

Providers in the Northeast are starting to feel uneasy. In late July, UnitedHealthCare announcedsubsidiaries that it has agreed to acquire HealthNet's in Conn., NY, and NJ. It plans to renew the members in those states as United members when their memberships run out.
Why does it matter to physicians?
Well, if you participate with United and HealthNet in the Northeast, you'll likely begin to see patients switching to United. And you'll get paid under their rates. United will just take over the provider contracts.
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That might not matter to you if HealthNet and United pay you about the same. In fact, accoridng to Physicians Practice data, United might be a bit easier to work with than HealthNet.
But the shift will matter a lot to your practice if United pays you significantly less.
Plus, there is an issue of monopoly-like behavior when it comes time to renegotiate your contract with United. If you had 20 percent of patients with United and 20 percent with HealthNet, once this deal closes, you'll have 40 percent of your patients with one payer. It's hard not to renew that contract no matter what the terms.

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