UPDATE: United Healthcare back in business at Infirmary Health

Negotiations between Infirmary Health and United Healthcare have failed to yield success after months of talks to keep the insurance company’s contract with the healthcare system.

Infirmary Health confirmed to 1819 News that the contract expired on June 4.

After months of negotiations, it is apparent that UHC is unwilling to recognize the escalating costs associated with operating a quality, comprehensive healthcare system in today’s economic environment,” said Hannah Peterson, Infirmary Health’s Marketing and Community Outreach director. “Therefore, effective June 4, 2024, UHC commercial insurance patients will no longer have in-network coverage for inpatient or outpatient services at Infirmary Health hospitals (Mobile Infirmary, Thomas Hospital, North Baldwin Infirmary, and Infirmary Long-Term Acute Care Hospital), freestanding emergency departments, imaging centers, and other hospital-owned facilities.”

The out-of-network status will not apply to some plans, so UHC customers should check with providers about costs before receiving care.

The healthcare system is the largest non-governmental provider in the state. Infirmary Health has a 54% overall market share in Southwest Alabama. It has more than 60 physician offices in Mobile and Baldwin Counties and cares for more than 1.54 million patient visits yearly.

However, the size of the system does not make it immune to the nation’s growing inflation problem.

“Infirmary Health, like most health systems in Alabama and across the nation, is experiencing an unprecedented rise in expenses, including supplies, labor, and pharmaceuticals along with payor denials of payment for services already rendered,” Peterson explained. “While Infirmary Health continues to improve operational efficiencies to manage expenses, it is necessary that for-profit insurers, like UHC, provide fair reimbursement, and ultimately, prioritize the healthcare needs of their insured patients.”

Details of the sticking point for UHC were not disclosed.

1819 News was unable to reach a media contact for UHC.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819news.com.

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