On the heels of walking back a hotly debated policy restricting emergency room coverage, UnitedHealthcare is now rolling out a different policy aimed at lowering health care costs by clamping down on some members’ out-of-network benefits. However, one industry observer predicts the latest policy change won’t see nearly as much blowback as UnitedHealth’s ER move.
In an email to AIS Health, a spokesperson for UnitedHealthcare stated that the insurer is updating its commercial certificate of coverage around out-of-service-area/out-of-network coverage of medical and behavioral health services — a change it will roll out through 2021 and 2022.
Policy Applies to ‘Subacute’ Services
The changes will apply to nonemergent, subacute inpatient and outpatient services at non-hospital facilities, based on where members live, the spokesperson said, adding that such facilities include residential treatment facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities and other nonhospital facilities. UnitedHealth will define a “service area” as the state where the member is currently a legal resident, plus any geographically bordering state.