October 3, 2013

Bristol Hospital may cut ties to United Healthcare

The Hartford offices of UnitedHealthcare in the CityPlace I building.

[This story has been updated to include comment from United Healthcare]

Bristol Hospital said it may cut ties to United Healthcare following extensive contract negotiations.

The hospital said United's health plan doesn't provide adequate reimbursement for treatments its staff provides. It's urging patients to call United to advocate for a contract agreement. The current contract expires Nov. 18.

George Eighmy, CFO at the hospital, called the move a difficult decision.

"We understand and recognize that as part of fulfilling this mission we need to participate with health insurance companies providing coverage throughout the communities we serve," Eighmy said in a statement. "But after months of negotiating with United Healthcare, we were unable to reach a fair and equitable agreement. The rates that were proposed by the Bristol Hospital were consistent with those paid by other health plans."

United released a statement Thursday reading: "United Healthcare is committed to renewing our contract with Bristol Hospital and is actively negotiating a new agreement to allow our members continued access to its facilities and physicians without placing an unfair economic burden on local consumers and businesses."

Before and beyond Nov. 18, emergency care at Bristol will continue to be covered under terms of United's member agreements, according to the hospital.

Bristol said it maintains contracts with Aetna, Anthem, Cigna, and ConnectiCare.

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