Prisma Health still wants a restraining order against UnitedHealthcare

Greenville, S.C.-based Prisma Health is asking a judge to reconsider its request for a restraining order against UnitedHealthcare over allegations the insurer breached its confidentiality agreement with Prisma, as the two sides approach a Jan. 1 deadline to reach a new network agreement. 

In an affidavit filed Nov. 1 in South Carolina's 13th Judicial Circuit in the Court of Common Pleas, Malcolm Isley, Prisma Health's chief strategy officer, alleged UnitedHealthcare published a "press release, advertisement or other media statement" about their confidential contract negotiations on its website Oct. 13 without giving Prisma prior notice. 

In the statement posted on its website, UnitedHealthcare said Prisma is "demanding a more than 20% price hike over the next 15 months that would increase healthcare costs by more than $60 million for employer-sponsored commercial plans." 

In his affidavit, Mr. Isley wrote Prisma did not become aware of the statement on UnitedHealthcare's website until Oct. 26. 

In August, Prisma Health asked a judge impose a temporary restraining order on UnitedHealthcare over statements the payer made to the media, alleging that UnitedHealthcare breached its contract with the system by disclosing information about Prisma's rate proposals in violation of their contract agreement and did not give the system 48 hours' notice before releasing any statement to the media, another term of the contract. 

A judge rejected Prisma's request for a restraining order preventing UnitedHealthcare from making further public statements about contract negotiations with Prisma on Sept. 8. 

In responses filed in court, UnitedHealthcare said it only issued statements to media outlets when reporters asked for a response to a letter sent to Prisma Health patients who received benefits through UnitedHealthcare only. The communication informed members UnitedHealthcare and Prisma Health will go out of network if they did not reach a new contract agreement by Jan. 1, 2024. 

On Sept. 18, Prisma filed a motion asking the judge to reconsider the motion for a temporary restraining order. 

"Prisma recycles old arguments and dresses them up as purported 'errors' in this court's order," UnitedHealthcare wrote in a response to Prisma's request for a reconsideration. 

On Nov. 1, the health system filed another motion asking the judge to issue a restraining order, taking UnitedHealthcare's Oct. 13 statement on its website into account as new evidence.  

The two parties are scheduled to appear before a district court judge Nov. 28. 

Becker's has reached out to UnitedHealthcare for comment and will update this article if more information becomes available. 

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