UnitedHealthcare may cut ties with some Alabama hospitals

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — UnitedHealthcare and the University of Alabama Birmingham Health System haven’t reached an agreement to renew its hospital contracts leaving about 25,000 members wondering about their coverage.

News outlets report UnitedHealthcare will cut ties with UAB if an agreement can’t be met by July 31, making their facilities out-of-network for members.

UnitedHealthcare sent a letter to members saying UAB is seeking substantial rate increases. UAB is also demanding that local businesses be restricted from designing healthcare plans that incentivize employees to choose lower-cost providers.

UAB Health System CEO Will Ferniany says UAB is more expensive than other hospitals because of the severity and clinical complexity of its patients. Ferniany says United is designating UAB as a lower, tier 2 provider which means higher payments for patients and lower cost for United.

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