Anesthesiologists are in a painful situation, which is unfortunate considering their job is to help manage pain.
In a recent article in Modern Healthcare, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) claims that UnitedHealthcare continues to cut anesthesiologists from their network.
Most anesthesiologists are not directly employed by hospitals, but by groups contracted out by hospitals. But the article alleges United is capriciously cutting contracts – and the ASA is pleading with the Justice Department to investigate why.
The insurer’s slicing and dicing of coverage is leaving providers with a fraction of their payments, not to mention higher costs for patients.
United claims that the providers in question want to charge “egregious” rates, and the simple response might be, okay, then just charge lower fees, and United will include you in-network, but we aren’t buying it.
That notion assumes United is operating in good faith, and that’s an assumption we just don’t hold anymore.
Why? Here’s just a few reasons, from 2021 alone…
- UnitedHealthcare, North Carolina medical center end contract
- UnitedHealthcare, Wellstar fail to renew contract
- Patients Caught In Middle As UnitedHealthcare Drops Montefiore Health System Amid Contract Negotiations
- UnitedHealthcare cuts Envision from its provider network
And so on.
This issue is bigger than anesthesiologists – hospitals and insurers must be able to decide on appropriate rates and provide for their patients.
But do we really think these are isolated situations in which United is operating in a reasonable fashion, or is this part of a larger strategy to avoid paying for coverage?
We can’t summon the strength to answer that one.