As of December 31st, 2019, United Healthcare (UHC) plan members may lose their ability to access in-network care in Houston. UHC announced Thursday, that the insurance carrier was dropping the Houston Methodist hospital network. The expected number of current members in the area is as many as 100,000. Those with a UHC employer plan or seniors under the Medicare Advantage (MA) program will need to find a new plan during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) starting October 15th.
Houston Methodist UHC Fallout
CEO of Houston Methodist, Dr. Marc Boom stated the reasoning for the termination came from a refusal to accept rate cuts so deep they would have a negative impact on the way they deliver care to thousands of patients. Boom followed up his statement with an aggressive shot at the health insurance company stating, “United is not putting the patient first but looking to use its members as pawns in its negotiations”. These shots didn’t stop there with United releasing a statement stating Houston Methodist is overcharging patients and being “significantly more expensive than some of the most prestigious hospitals in the country.” As well as following up with a statement accusing them of driving up the cost of healthcare for all Texans.
Medicare Review for 2020
Houston Methodist sent out around 20,000 letters to UHC MA members asking them to sign up for other insurers. This comes right before the AEP which will last until Dec. 7th. With many customers being left without insurance for next year, it is important to check in with each of your clients to confirm their coverage for the new year. Have you done your annual Medicare review with your client? With a proper review, you will be able to find new needs or instances like the one above.
Contact the Empower Brokerage Houston Office
If you’re in the Houston area contact your clients before the AEP kicks off! If you haven’t already contact our Houston office and ask what resources are available to help you succeed this AEP. You can contact the office directly by calling 832-499-6055 or by visiting the office located 2500 East TC Jester Blvd., Ste 272 Houston, TX 77008.
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