Customers of a major health care provider may now have to pay more out of pocket if they want to get treatment at the midstate’s largest hospital.
A disagreement between United Healthcare and the Medical Center of Central Georgia over reimbursement payments has led the insurance company not to renew its contract with the hospital, which ended June 30.
Neither hospital nor insurance officials could say about how many midstate residents would be affected, but many of Bibb County’s approximately 3,800 public school employees could stand to lose some or all coverage at the Medical Center, depending on the specific plan they have.
Other area employees on United Healthcare — including many state employees — may also be forced to pay for care out of pocket if they get treatment at the Medical Center.
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In an e-mail last month, CEO Don Faulk notified some of the hospital’s customers of the possibility that they might lose coverage.
Faulk blamed the impasse on United’s refusal to uphold its side of a deal concerning payments or to work out a negotiation once the conflict arose.
“We had remained hopeful that United would come back to the table and negotiate a solution to the contract issues. Unfortunately, United failed to work constructively with us to prevent The Medical Center of Central Georgia from being out of network. It is very distressing that an insurance company can be so unconcerned about honoring its own contracts, blame others and then leave the patients to fend for themselves,” Faulk said.
Natasha Skeete with United Healthcare of Georgia declined to comment on the conflict or answer questions about why the insurance company severed ties with the hospital.
For more information on which United plans will be affected, call the Medical Center’s hot line at 633-8100.
To contact writer Carl Lewis, call 744-4347.