UnitedHealthcare and Northwest Healthcare

UnitedHealthcare and Northwest Healthcare are in contract negotiations – and it may not be going well. They have until May 1st to come to an agreement on  their contract and United is sending letters about this to everyone enrolled in their Pima County Medicare Advantage plans.

UnitedHealthcare offers the AARP Medicare Complete plans in Pima County. There are over 35,000 people enrolled in HMO plan and another 5,124 in their HMO-POS plan.

Northwest Healthcare owns Oro Valley Hospital, Northwest Medical Center, and Northwest Allied Physicians.

I have gotten calls from clients who have received letters from United and these seniors have been upset and very confused.

Just now I got a call from a client who lives in the center of Tucson, so I would not think he and his wife would be affected by the contract dispute.  Dave called me after he called the customer service number for his AARP Medicare Complete plan.  Unfortunately, Dave received totally wrong information!!

He came away from the customer service call with the idea that every provider in the Metro Tucson network was going to be out-of-network for him as of May 1.  THIS IS WRONG.

It looks like I need to email or call all of my clients who have the AARP Medicare Complete plan.

UnitedHealthcare and Northwest Healthcare will probably settle their contract dispute.

Thousands of seniors in Tucson, Marana and Oro Valley (and Saddlebrooke and Oracle) are going to be upset by the letter they have received from United. Then, at the last moment, the two parties will come to an agreement and all the worry will have been wasted energy.  At least I hope that’s what happens.

If the two sides to not agree to a new contract, thousands of seniors will have to change doctors.  Most of them can’t change their plan right now, so they’ll have to find new doctors – if their doctors are part of the Northwest Healthcare system.

2 comments for “UnitedHealthcare and Northwest Healthcare

  1. Lynn P.
    04/17/2017 at 4:00 pm

    Dear Denise,

    Thank you for your insightful article on this dispute affecting NW Tucson area Medicare participants. As an insurance broker, you probably know this dispute goes much broader than Medicare. It affects employees of University of Arizona and of Raytheon Systems -many of whom live in the Oro Valley area. There are likely more big employers in the greater Tucson area, whose staff and families are gravely affected.

    It is now Monday, April 17th, 2017, and we (a family under United Healthcare via Raytheon) were notified by mail only two days ago, Saturday, April 15, 2017. It is worth noting that it was NOT United who notified us, as they did the Medicare insured. We were notified by Northwest Healthcare’s Kevin Stockton, Market Chief Executive Officer.

    I’d like to know why United doesn’t think it’s necessary to contact the working families who do not have a choice of supplemental insurance – and pay the highest premiums? They get the bulk of their profit from us, so why not keep us informed of the issues which directly affect us?

    Sign Me Curious,

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