With 48 hours left for people over 65 to choose Medicare plans, a federal judge in Connecticut has temporarily blocked United Healthcare from dropping some 2,200 doctors from its Medicare Advantage plans in that state, reports Kaiser Health News.
While the court's decision affects health plans in Connecticut, it could have implications for providers far beyond. The Medical Society of the State of New York is one that's also considering filing suit. The Ohio State Medical Association is another, KHN reports.
UnitedHealthcare is the largest Medicare Advantage insurer in the country, with nearly 3 million members and is reducing its network of physicians in at least nine other states besides Connecticut. More than 14 million older or disabled Americans are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, a managed care version of Medicare. Generally, it is an alternative to traditional Medicare that offers medical and usually drug coverage, but members have to use the plan’s providers.
At issue in the case is whether United was within its contract rights to unilaterally terminate the participating plan physicians, and whether such substantial provider changes would leave insufficient doctors to meet federal requirements.
Seniors advocates welcomed the ruling, says KHN.
United intends to appeal the injunction immediately. Read the story.