Healthcare Dispute Leaves Many Without Hospital Coverage

With the contract now expired between UnitedHealthcare and BayCare Health System, New Port Richey residents are likely to start feeling the pinch.

For weeks Tampa Bay area residents had been warned by the BayCare Health System and UnitedHealthcare insurance that contract negotiations weren’t going well.

Letters from both parties arrived in the mail, alerting holders of UnitedHealthcare insurance policies that their doctors and favorite hospitals might no longer be covered.

The deadline to ink a new deal came and went yesterday without an agreement reached. That now means some 400,000 Tampa Bay area residents with UnitedHealthcare insurance can no longer expect coverage at 11 area hospitals, numerous doctors’ offices and a number of imaging centers and specialized centers.

In New Port Richey, residents who count on Morton Plant North Bay Hospital for their medical care might have to go elsewhere for assistance. The expired contract affects those with standard UnitedHealthcare insurance policies and also those who have United as their carrier for Medicaid, Florida Healthy Kids and Medicare Advantage plans. Some claims from BayCare providers will continue to be paid, but it depends on the specific policy in question.

The full implications of the dispute between UnitedHealthcare and BayCare are still being determined. Even so, it is clear that BayCare is the Tampa Bay region’s largest healthcare provider. In addition to Morton Plant, the company also operates the St. Joseph’s chain of hospitals and St. Anthony’s.

TBO.com has compiled some information that UnitedHealthcare policy holders can use to help them navigate the coming days of finding new doctors and hospitals. The news outlet also reports that United hasn’t ruled out the possibility of further talks to get the BayCare system back on its plans.

To find out if the expiration of the BayCare contract will impact your coverage at area doctors or hospitals, call UnitedHealthcare’s customer service line, which is printed on the back of policy holder’s insurance cards.

Is your doctor no longer covered? Will you have to switch hospitals or healthcare providers? What hospital will you now choose for your care? Share your story in the comments section.

Monica Kubesa November 30, 2012 at 02:35 PM
TBL, all claims for all recipients are being processed at an IN NETWORK RATE
Monica Kubesa November 30, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Sean, if your Baycare doctors/facilities are charging you out of network prices they are committing insurance fraud, as UHC has stated numerous times they are paying in network rates until December 2013. Keep an eye on your EOB's and bills from them, and report any discrepancies to UHC immediately!
JamiJa December 05, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Unfortunately, our employer just recently change to UHC. I now have the pleasure of looking for a anew primary - current primary is a true "family" physician, been with him for over 35yrs. This is so unfair, I will continue as an out-of-pocket patient, but I see higher ER visits and hospitaizations. UHC is not going to save money.
Brenda December 12, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Here is UHC's Mission-it's on their website, they do not support the patient/physician relationship period. I have 5 drs in the baycare plan, as well as all my hospitals, imaging centers, etc...I'm not changing, I will be out of network and I honestly don't care. Why should I have to change who I trust because United Can't pay their 11 million to who they owe, or that 2 large corporations can't sit down like big boys and come to an agreement? If UHC actually did a background check on the hospitals we now have available in Pinellas, you would see their record is not great! hellen Ellis now Fl Hospital, is known for going in with a borken leg, and coming out with a staff infection. I also agree with the comment above, ER visits will be at an all time high. I work in media, and yes my corporation of cbs has had uhc forever, I'm not proud to say that as of now, since we have no other options to choose from. I will continue with my specialists, who I've had for 20 years, and my hospitals, like Sean said above-I have a relationship with them-NOT UHC!
Brenda December 12, 2012 at 05:58 PM
UnitedHealthcare's Mission UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, is committed to helping people live healthier lives. We seek to enhance the performance of the health system and improve the overall health and well-being of the people we serve and their communities. We work with health care professionals and other key partners to expand access to high quality health care so people get the care they need at an affordable price. We support the physician/patient relationship and empower people with the information, guidance and tools they need to make personal health choices and decisions.


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