UnitedHealthcare, Broward Health terminate contract, affecting thousands

Thousands of UnitedHealthcare beneficiaries are now out of network at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Broward Health after the two parties failed to reach a new contract by the April 1 deadline. 

Broward Health patients with UnitedHealthcare plans or plans from UnitedHealthcare subsidiaries such as Neighborhood Health Plan, Preferred Care Network and WellMed are affected.

The health system released a statement March 31 saying it was "greatly disappointed" that UnitedHealthcare was unwilling to negotiate a reasonable agreement.

Broward said it had asked UnitedHealthcare to reimburse providers at levels comparable to what it pays other facilities in South Florida or at levels comparable to what other health plans pay it. 

"We have made every effort to reach a new agreement, even going so far as offering to reconcile with UnitedHealthcare based on the final determination of an independent third party that could fairly evaluate our requests. UnitedHealthcare declined," Broward Health said. 

UnitedHealthcare said that Broward Health demanded an 88 percent reimbursement increase for its providers over the next four years, which the insurance company called "unreasonable" and "not affordable" for the community, employer group or employees. 

"While this is not the outcome we hoped for, we feel it's necessary if we are to achieve the goal of ensuring the employer group customers and members we serve throughout Broward County have access to affordable healthcare," UnitedHealthcare said. 

Both parties said they will continue to negotiate to restore in-network access. 

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