2013 has come and gone, and IU Health and UnitedHealthcare have still not reached a new agreement for the new year.
The Indianapolis-based health care provider and the Minnesota-based Fortune 50 health insurance company have been negotiating because their contract expired Tuesday. They failed to reach a new agreement for 2014, but IU Health will continue to treat patients with UnitedHealthcare coverage as in-network while negotiations continue.
"This decision is consistent with our commitment to ensure patients have access to nationally recognized care," said Dr. John Kohne, chief medical officer at IU Health. "We know patients value the relationship with their physician and health care team, and we want to help them maintain those relationships without unnecessary disruption."
IU Health operates the Indiana University Health La Porte and Starke hospitals, as well as occupational services facilities in Valparaiso, Michigan City and LaPorte.
Technically, IU Health and IU Health Physician doctors and facilities are now out of network for most people with UnitedHealthcare insurance. But IU Health did not want to disrupt care, so it will continue to treat those patients and their portion of the bill as being in-network.
Unitedhealthcare-insured patients can continue to receive care from IU Health doctors and facilities, but will be responsible for any in-network deductible and co-pay fees. The special status applies to the part of the bill that is based on the 2014 benefit levels.
Patients do not have to do anything to receive the in-network status, and are encouraged to visit their health care providers as they normally would.
If they have any out-of-network or higher-than-anticipated fees, they can call the number listed on the bill and get it adjusted to reflect in-network pricing.
IU Health said in a news release that it is committed to working toward an agreement.