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UnitedHealthcare, Premier strike contract deal, ending 7-month standoff

The provider and insurer forged a multi-year partnership to serve United and Medicare Advantage members in southwest Ohio.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

UnitedHealthcare and Premier Health have reached an agreement after being unable to come to terms on a contract for the past seven months.

The provider and insurer announced Tuesday that they have formed a multi-year relationship that will serve an estimated 200,000 southwest Ohio residents who have UnitedHealth's commercial or Medicare Advantage health plans.

[Also: Payer contract negotiations are often ugly, but they don't have to be]

Some providers and payers have struggled in recent months to reach agreements, with money being the number one issue.

In November, Anthem and Hartford Healthcare reached a new, three-year deal retroactive to Oct. 1. The former contract had expired on Sept. 30. Anthem called the terms of the agreement a "sustainable increase," while Hartford Healthcare said it was "fair."

[Also: Loss of state Medicaid contract deals another blow to UnitedHealth]

In early December, Northwell Health signed an agreement with Cigna after the insurer preemptively notified its members on Nov. 30 that Northwell was leaving the network.

On Dec. 31, Montefiore Health System went out of network with UnitedHealth's Medicare Advantage plans.

[Also: Epic, Optimum, Premier snag high honors in 2017 Best in KLAS awards]

The new UnitedHealthcare and Premier agreement now gives in-network access to Premier's physicians and facilities.UnitedHealthcare beneficiaries have been out-of-network with Premiere Health since May 2017, according to local news outlets.

"Our priority is ensuring the people we serve have access to quality, cost effective healthcare," said Kurt Lewis, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Ohio. "Premier Health is an important community provider and partner and we are pleased to renew our relationship on behalf of the tens of thousands of people we serve across southwest Ohio."

Terms of the new deal were not released.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
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