UnitedHealth: $320B could be saved in next decade by reducing ED visits

Treating common conditions, including bronchitis and the flu, in primary care settings instead of emergency rooms could save health systems up to $320 billion over the next 10 years, according to UnitedHealth Group's 2020 Sustainability Report.

Two-thirds of visits to hospital emergency departments by patients with private insurance are avoidable, the report said. 

The payer advocated for improved access to high-quality, low-cost care settings, and indicated that conducting procedures like joint replacement surgeries in ambulatory surgery centers instead of hospitals could save health systems $20 billion over 10 years.

UnitedHealthcare said June 10 it would delay implementing a policy that could lead to denials of emergency room claims it considered nonemergent. 

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