After months of negotiation, Boca Raton Regional Hospital will begin accepting UnitedHealthcare insurance plans as of Dec. 1.
UnitedHealthcare members enrolled in employer-sponsored, individual, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid benefit plans will have network access to Boca Raton Regional Hospital, which was acquired by Baptist Health South Florida in July.
On July 1, Boca Raton Regional Hospital ended its contract with UnitedHealthcare, leaving about 17,500 patients scrambling to find another health facility or go out of network. Several dozen Boca Raton residents told the South Florida Sun Sentinel losing their in-network access meant they could no longer afford to be treated at the hospital by their longtime doctors or get their needed medical tests.
The hospital’s negotiations had begun prior to Baptist’s acquisition, but have continued for the last five months. Most other hospitals in the Baptist Health network accept UnitedHealthcare. Boca Regional’s new CEO, Lincoln S. Mendez, had come from a Baptist owned hospital and has been aggressively trying to strike a more lucrative deal with UnitedHealthcare for the Boca Raton hospital.
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At the time, Boca Regional said United had been unwilling to reimburse Boca Raton Regional Hospital at market competitive rates. In response, United said Boca Raton was seeking significant rate increases of more than 15 percent in just one year, an amount unsustainable for its employer group customers and members.
“Our new contract is a testament to the strong, longstanding relationship with have with UnitedHealthcare,” said Eric Shatanof, corporate vice president and chief managed care officer, Baptist Health South Florida. “We are pleased we can strengthen our commitment to the community by ensuring access to the high-quality health care at Boca Raton Regional Hospital.”
United Healthcare serves more than 3.5 million Florida residents and has 300 hospitals in the state in its network.
“Our priority is ensuring the people we serve have access to quality, affordable health care,” said Greg Reidy, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Florida. “We appreciate the patience and support of our customers and members as we worked on their behalf to reach an agreement with Boca Raton Regional Hospital, an important health care provider in South Florida.”
Source: Sun Sentinel