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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Starting July 1, UnitedHealthcare says it plans to reduce coverage of — or stop paying for — non-emergency trips to the ER.

Why it matters: Unnecessary emergency room visits are a major source of wasted spending in U.S. health care. But critics say this policy from the nation's largest health insurer could hurt patients who mistakenly believe they'll be covered.

The policy has exceptions, such as for patients who are ultimately admitted and children under 2.

  • But visits determined to be non-emergencies will require providers to complete an attestation challenging the call.
  • This policy comes just a few years after Anthem unveiled a similar policy that faced pushback in 2018.

What they're saying: "The goal here is chilling — so people second guess whether to seek care for their symptoms," tweeted Seth Trueger, an emergency doctor at Northwestern Emergency Medicine.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that providers have to complete an attestation (not patients).

Go deeper

Attempting to reform gig work via co-ops

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Ride-hailing service The Drivers Cooperative recently debuted in New York City, claiming that its lack of VC funding would result in better driver pay and lower passenger costs.

Why it matters: TDC’s approach is a direct rebuke to the venture capital-fueled gig economy model.

23 mins ago - World

Conservative cleric Raisi elected Iran's president

Raisi gives a press conference after voting. Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty

Hardliner Ebrahim Raisi easily won Friday's presidential election in Iran, recording 62% of the vote with more than 90% of ballots counted.

Why it matters: Currently the head of Iran's judiciary, Raisi is a close confidant of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and has the support of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). His victory solidifies him as a leading candidate to succeed Khamenei, though Friday's low turnout speaks to the disillusionment of many Iranian voters.

Juneteenth forces U.S. to confront lasting impact of slavery economy

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Corbis, Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Juneteenth, a once-obscure commemoration of emancipation of enslaved people in Texas, has transformed into an annual reminder about how slavery robbed Black Americans of generational wealth.

Why it matters: That lack of generational wealth still denies Black families the economic security that many white families take for granted.