Plan Sponsors Buy Into UnitedHealthcare’s Surest Concept

UnitedHealth Group’s Surest brand has become a hot product in recent months, with sales of the alternative benefit design accounting for one third of the health care giant’s new commercial business, according to some accounts. UnitedHealthcare, the firm’s managed care arm, pitches commercial clients on Surest by promising lower costs and higher quality — without sacrificing a broad network.

Alternatives to conventional PPO plans are more appealing than ever for commercial insurance plan sponsors, who have struggled with sharp medical cost and premium increases in recent years. But restrictive narrow network plans are often unpopular with plan members, and payer stakeholders have begun to shy away from models that shift costs to members.

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Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has worked as a journalist since 2011 and has covered health care since 2020. At AIS Health, Peter covers trends in finance, business and policy that affect the health insurance and pharma sectors. For Health Plan Weekly, he covers all aspects of the U.S. health insurance sector, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces. In Radar on Drug Benefits, Peter covers the operations of (and conflicts between) pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a particular focus on pricing dynamics and market access. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered transportation, public safety and local government for various outlets in Seattle, his hometown and current place of residence. He graduated with a B.A. from Colby College.

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