Experts Dissect Anesthesiologists’ Suit Against UnitedHealth

UnitedHealthcare is facing a pair of headline-grabbing lawsuits that accuse the country’s largest health insurer of forcing U.S. Anesthesia Partners (USAP) out of its network and then using “unlawful tactics and pressure campaigns” to induce hospitals, surgeons and patients to stop doing business with the physician group. Yet health policy and law experts say it’s not clear that the anesthesiologists have valid claims against UnitedHealth, which might not be breaking any laws even if it is angering physicians.

“Some of the complaints USAP makes are honestly a bit odd, as they’re basically just complaining that an insurer is trying to use leverage in its negotiations, which is what we’d expect everyone to be doing here,” says Loren Adler, associate director of the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy.

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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