Sep 24, 2018

Hospitals warned about UnitedHealthcare-Envision break

A patient is treated in an emergency room. Photo: Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Images

Health insurer UnitedHealthcare has mailed a notice to 300 hospital systems that use Envision Healthcare for physician staffing, warning them that Envision providers likely will not be part of UnitedHealthcare's network starting next year.

The bottom line: UnitedHealthcare said in April that it was prepared to terminate its contract with Envision, a company that has since been bought out by private equity firm KKR in a $10 billion deal. Negotiations have been fruitless, and patients who have UnitedHealthcare insurance and who are treated by Envision doctors now likely will face large, unexpected medical bills.

The details: Envision said it was still working with UnitedHealthcare to hammer out a deal before the start of the new year. Envision also called UnitedHealthcare's letters to hospitals "aggressive" and said they were "filled with half-truths and inaccuracies" and "designed to fit their narrative rather than the reality."

Dan Rosenthal, president of UnitedHealthcare's provider networks, wrote to hospitals that UnitedHealthcare believes it "offered Envision competitive rates," but now those facilities will be caught in the crossfire.

  • "In the event patients receive services from an Envision provider, you may experience a decrease in patient satisfaction driven from higher out-of-pocket costs and patient confusion," according to the letter.
  • UnitedHealthcare said it would "advocate" for patients who get surprise bills from Envision to get the amount waived or reduced. But it won't stop patients from getting the unexpected statements in the first place.

Go deeper: Why there's no surprise hospital bill backlash β€” yet

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What to watch in tonight's Democratic debate

Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in Colorado. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Bernie Sanders is now the clear front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his opponents are ready to try to knock him down at tonight's debate in Charleston, South Carolina β€” especially Michael Bloomberg, who was the punching bag at the Las Vegas debate.

Why it matters: This is the last debate before Super Tuesday, when Sanders is expected to win California and Texas and could secure an insurmountable lead for the Democratic nomination. That's a direct threat to the entire field, but especially to Bloomberg, who skipped the early states to focus on the March 3 contests.

Bob Iger to step down as CEO of Disney

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The Walt Disney Company said Tuesday that it had named longtime Disney executive Bob Chapek as CEO Bob Iger's successor, effectively immediately. Iger will remain executive chairman of the company through 2021.

Why it matters: Iger is credited with having successfully turned around Disney’s animation and studio businesses and with the strategic acquisition of Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox. Most recently, he was the person behind Disney's successful launch of its Netflix rival Disney+.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Economy & Business