Skip to Content

Telehealth has been a saving grace during the pandemic. Will insurers let it continue?

As a post-pandemic future takes shape, many of us are anxiously waiting to see how telehealth will be treated in upcoming contract hospital-insurer negotiations. Some analysts predict that hospitals are going to… Read More

Insurers edge physicians out of the medication process

This isn’t the first time the American Hospital Association (AHA) has flagged insurance company policies that take decisions regarding patient care away from the physicians they know and trust. Just recently, we… Read More

Why Medicaid contracts worth $2.1 billion shouldn’t go to private insurers

As we recently noted, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) decided to shift management of its Medicaid business to four for-profit health insurance companies, including UnitedHealthcare, in a deal estimated to be… Read More

Unhappy birthday: An esoteric bit of insurance legalese throws new parents into six-figure debt

As we like to point out having health insurance doesn’t mean that you’re actually covered. While this plays out in any number of frustrating (and dare we say, dubious) ways every day, here’s… Read More

Miserly coverage for COVID-19 testing for children puts pediatricians in a no-win situation

In October, we shared a story about insurers actively blocking access to care and refusing to fully cover COVID-19 tests. Now, there are reports of insurers denying coverage for kids while passing the… Read More

Legislators push to prevent a sudden loss of telehealth services after COVID-19

One of the few upsides of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the rapid rise of telehealth. In the past, federal legislation has limited Medicare coverage for telehealth, but thanks to policy changes… Read More

Oklahoma moves state Medicaid business to these 4 for-profit insurers

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt announced the state is moving its Medicaid business to 4 for-profit healthcare companies: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma, Humana Healthy Horizons, Oklahoma Complete Health (a subsidiary of… Read More

Top payor-provider trends to be on the lookout for in 2021

If we had to use one word to describe 2020, it would be “change,” and that’s particularly true in healthcare. Now that we’re several weeks into the new year (that was fast!),… Read More

Did Cigna take advantage of a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations to deny claims?

New York resident Dinah Nissen was bitten on her right cheek by a dog in mid-May. After a clinician at a local urgent care urged her to see a plastic surgeon immediately,… Read More

More than 500 rural hospitals at risk for closure before pandemic hit

Stories of rural hospitals being forced to shutter their doors because of financial strain are unfortunately becoming more and more commonplace, but this latest data from the Center for Healthcare Quality and… Read More

The AHA flags new UnitedHealthcare policies for federal scrutiny

Two new seemingly unrelated policies being rolled out by UnitedHealthcare—one on labs and the other on specialty drug distribution—have been flagged by the American Hospital Association (AHA) as problematic for the same… Read More

Blues plan switches to a United-owned PBM

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network recently announced they are switching from Express Scripts (owned by Cigna) to OptumRx (owned by UnitedHealth Group) with the intention of reducing… Read More

CMS approves new rule aimed at easing the burdens around prior authorizations

Despite strong pushback from health insurers, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) went ahead and finalized a rule, first proposed in late 2020, that is aimed at regulating the industry.… Read More

Aetna just cut Walgreens from its Medicaid plan in Illinois

Ever since the CVS/Aetna deal closed in late 2018, we’ve been tracking how the merger of a major insurer with a pharmacy and healthcare services giant will impact the choices individuals with… Read More

Centene expands into behavioral health with a $2.2B acquisition, just weeks after dipping further into pharma

On January 4, 2021, Centene announced a definitive agreement to acquire Magellan Health, an insurer with a vast behavioral health network, for $2.2 billion. Centene claims that in light of the pandemic,… Read More

UnitedHealthcare just cut thousands of emergency room docs from their 2021 network

We rang in 2021 with yet another big move by UnitedHealthcare: its decision to cut Envision Healthcare from its network after the two companies were unable to come to an agreement regarding… Read More

CMS is pushing payors to improve prior authorizations processes

It looks like prior authorizations—or more specifically, the myriad challenges providers face around prior authorizations—are becoming an Un-covered theme. If you’ve been following our feed, you’ll recall that we recently shared our… Read More

Hospital claim denials are on the rise, especially those related to prior authorization issues

According to RevCycle Intelligence, a new survey of 200 hospitals conducted by the American Hospital Association (AHA)—and supplemented by interviews and group discussions with several hundred additional hospital and health system executives—found… Read More

United kicks off 2021 by cutting a critical NYC safety-net health system from its network as COVID-19 cases reach record highs

Here’s a trend we saw in 2020 and will likely continue to see in 2021: UnitedHealthcare forcing providers to choose between accepting dramatic pay cuts or being cut out of United’s network.… Read More

Consumers seeking comprehensive coverage should watch out for this predatory United health plan 

When Sam Bloechl was buying a comprehensive health plan, one he believed would cover him for a life-threatening illness; he did not know he was sick. A subsequent cancer diagnosis led doctors… Read More

Survey indicates COVID-19 pandemic adding to insurance cost burdens

A new survey from The Commonwealth Fund (reported on in Healthcare Dive) brings more bad news from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The survey confirms what we already knew—that insurance premiums and deductibles… Read More

Public opposition to new lab coding policy pushes UnitedHealthcare to hit pause

Back in November, we covered a Health Leaders story about a new lab coding requirement UnitedHealthcare planned to implement in early 2021, smack in the middle of cold and flu season and… Read More

Here’s what members and employers need to get more from the health insurance industry

Health insurance has always been a highly valued employee benefit, and now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more true. Access to healthcare, including access to health insurance… Read More

UnitedHealthcare squeezes Gaston County’s only hospital during worst pandemic months

Residents of Gaston County with UnitedHealthcare insurance are expected to face higher costs at Gaston County’s only hospital, CaroMont Regional Medical Center. This is due to UnitedHealthcare terminating their CaroMont Health contract.… Read More

Un-covered on Twitter

Subscribe to Un-covered Essentials

Insurer policies limit coverage and disrupt patient care, while producing record profits for corporate shareholders. Stay informed with the Un-covered newsletter.