Hundreds Of Doctors Cut From United’s Medicare Advantage Network

Nov 20, 2013

The Rhode Island Medical Society said United Healthcare has cut hundreds of doctors from its Medicare Advantage network. The plan covers some 36,000 Rhode Island seniors.

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United isn’t disclosing exactly which doctors or how many will be out of the network, but The Providence Journal reports nearly all of the surgeons at Rhode Island Hospital and 70 percent of surgeons at The Miriam Hospital have been cut. The Rhode Island Medical Society’s Steven DeToy said that’s just a fraction of the specialties affected.

“There’s a lot of dermatologists, a lot of rheumatologists. At one point United had told us they thought it would be about 20 percent of their network of providers,” said DeToy, “and we estimate that to be in the hundreds of doctors, 4,5,600 in that area.”

DeToy said the silver lining is that the cuts to United’s Medicare Advantage network are happening during Medicare’s open enrollment period, which ends December 7th.

In a statement, United Healthcare said the cuts were made to encourage higher quality of care that will be more affordable to customers.  “While these changes can be difficult for patients and their doctors, they are necessary to meet rising quality standards, slow the increase in health costs and sustain our plans in an era of Medicare Advantage funding cuts.”

United urges Medicare Advantage enrollees to contact its customer care center at 1-888-332-8883.

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