Thousands to be affected after United Healthcare cuts ties with Arizona doctors

PHOENIX - Two separate issues involving insurance giant United Healthcare may have many Arizonans surprised to learn their insurance is no longer accepted by their doctor.

The first, involves Obstetrix Medical Group which confirmed to ABC15 that United Healthcare has ended their contract with the medical group.

According to a spokesperson for Obstetrix, the move impacts 175 doctors and nurse practitioners with the group across Arizona , along with many patients.

At issue, a contract dispute.

United Healthcare issued a statement to ABC15 saying in part:

"Pediatrix/Obstetrix's contract with UnitedHealthcare ended on October 31, 2013. Over the past eight months UnitedHealthcare tried to work with Pediatrix/Obstetrix and offered a proposed contract to bring UnitedHealthcare's rates more closely in line with its competitors. Despite our efforts, Pediatrix/Obstetrix did not engage in productive negotiations until the end of September. Pediatrix/Obstetrix required rates from UnitedHealthcare that were significantly higher than market competitors, and we were not able to reach an agreement. UnitedHealthcare continues to engage in discussions with Pediatrix/Obstetrix in hopes of reaching an agreement."

In a statement posted on its website , Obstetrix said, "Although we are still in discussions about our contract, as of November 1, our health care providers are no longer covered by United Healthcare Plans."

For patients, it means they could arrive to see their doctor only to find out the care is now considered "out of network".

It's unclear at this point how many patients are impacted which could include children and pregnant women.

On Friday, ABC15 received word that the Pediatrix offices located at 15650 N. Black Canyon Highway in Phoenix and 2030 West Whispering Wind Drive in Phoenix are not affiliated with Obstetrix Medical Group of Arizona and are NOT part of this termination by United Healthcare of Arizona.

The fight between Obstetrix and United Healthcare comes as the insurance giant drops thousands of doctors from its Medicare Advantage.

This brings up the second issue involving United Healthcare which could impact many Arizonans.

Doctors across the nation are now learning they are no longer part of in-network care.

A spokesperson for United Healthcare confirmed Arizona doctors are impacted and being notified in the cutbacks involving Medicare Advantage providers.

The company spokesperson could not provide the exact number of doctors involved in the Medicare Advantage cutbacks.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, several Attorneys General are investigating Medicare Advantage moves by United Healthcare.  ABC15 asked the Arizona Attorney General's office if it is investigation and we have not yet received a response.

Are you impacted by either of these two separate issues? Have you been notified you need to find a new doctor or changes have been made to your plan?

We want to hear from you. 

Send an email to share@abc15.com

Stay with ABC15 & ABC15.com for further updates on these two issues.

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