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Envision Healthcare runs emergency rooms. Photo: ERproductions Ltd / Getty Images

UnitedHealthcare "has opted to terminate" its contract with Envision Healthcare and Envision's subsidiaries "no later than January 1, 2019," according to a new court filing. The health insurance giant also is asking the court to force Envision into arbitration to resolve their dispute.

Why you'll hear about this again: Next year, people with UnitedHealthcare coverage would be on the hook for a big chunk of their costs if they get care at an Envision facility or a hospital that uses Envision as a contractor. However, people usually don't know if their care is handled by an outside contractor until well after they get billed.

The details: UnitedHealthcare alleged in its court filing, in response to Envision's initial lawsuit, that Envision had "egregious billing practices" and "engaged in an improper game of hide-the-ball" to pad profits — particularly in emergency rooms that hospitals farmed out to Envision.

  • Envision's original complaint said UnitedHealthcare forced Envision's doctors "to contract with United on unreasonable terms or to be out-of-network." Envision spokesperson Kim Warth reiterated many of the same points from the lawsuit.
  • Regarding the contract termination, Warth said: "We hope to come to an agreement for 2019 and beyond that provides for fair and reasonable reimbursement for the care we provide to patients."
  • Envision has been in the hot seat for months now for its high out-of-network charges that have caught patients off guard.

Go deeper

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

1 hour ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.

Texas AG sues Biden administration over deportation freeze

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks to members of the media in 2016. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the Biden administration in federal district court over its 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants, and he's asking for a temporary restraining order.

Between the lines: The freeze went into effect Friday, temporarily halting most immigration enforcement in the U.S. In the lawsuit, Paxton claims the move "violates the U.S. Constitution, federal immigration and administrative law, and a contractual agreement between Texas" and the Department of Homeland Security.