Local News

WakeMed, UnitedHealthcare Sign New Contract

Posted July 16, 2007

— WakeMed and UnitedHealthcare announced Monday that they have signed a three-year contract allowing patients covered by the insurer to use WakeMed hospitals and clinics.

The move comes more than four months after the hospital system and the insurer parted ways over a dispute over how much WakeMed got paid for services UnitedHealthcare policy holders receive.

Terms of the contract, which took effect Sunday, weren't disclosed.

"UnitedHealthcare and WakeMed are committed to health care that is of high quality and at the same time affordable, and that commitment has been the bedrock of our discussions leading to our long-term agreement," Austin Pittman, president and chief executive of UnitedHealthcare of North Carolina, said in a statement.

"We believe this new agreement is in the best interests of the community, physicians and staff, and we look forward to building upon our strong relationship with UnitedHealthcare," William K. Atkinson, WakeMed president and chief executive, said in the statement.

UnitedHealthcare, which has about 130,000 members in the Triangle, ended its relationship with WakeMed on March 1because the hospital system wouldn't agree to charging the insurer rates comparable to those paid by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.

At the time, WakeMed officials said prices are based on how much business an insurer brings into the hospital and that it couldn't afford to give UnitedHealthcare a better deal.

UnitedHealthcare patients who used WakeMed in recent months had to pay out-of-network charges, although the hospital system picked up the extra expenses for some patients on a case-by-case basis.


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  • iwideopen Jul 17, 2007

    Why do we need third parties like UHC and BCBS anyway. Think about all the millions upon millions of dollars that are being wasted paying the high CEO salarys.

  • MamaBear Jul 17, 2007

    Finally! I had to re-juggle kids doctors and look for a new doctor and where a surgery needed to be done because UHC dictated where I could go if I wanted to be covered as in network. I had to drive out of my way and go to low end places to have x rays and blood work done. It was a headache! It wasn't right! I prefer Wake Med and have had good experience with them. It just wasn't right!

  • richard2 Jul 17, 2007

    What are the details and are they getting as good a deal as Blue Cross? Give us some info.

  • momofthreeinFV Jul 16, 2007

    UnitedHealthcare notice all the people they were losing as customers and that is the only reason they did something about this! Don't let it fool you, those insurance companies are always looking at the bottom dollar!

  • patriotsrevenge Jul 16, 2007

    'bout time, it took 'em long enough.

  • jeebk04 Jul 16, 2007

    hckehehy22, ohh, ok. Hopefully, the latter will come to fruitiion as well, good luck!

  • hckeyfan22 Jul 16, 2007

    JEEK - I am just reffering to a few large doctor offices/practices that also lost their contract with UHC recently - like OB doctors and so on. They practice at Wake Med (or did when delivering babies), but UHC also was unable to redo a contract with the private practice and they still do not have a new contract even though now the hospital does. - that was what I was referring too :-)

  • IzzMad2016 Jul 16, 2007

    For the few that asked about good doctors in the Cary area -- we've gone to Gibbons Family Medical on Brady Ct (off Kildaire Farm) for several years and are very, very happy with them. Dr. Greg and Dr. Elizabeth are both wonderful and they have excellent Physician's Assistants.

  • Adelinthe Jul 16, 2007

    Good Cary doctors who still take UHC are at Cary Healthcare Associates, 222 Ashville Avenue, right by the hospital and very near to Regency where I work.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Telecomtodd Jul 16, 2007

    I was looking for a "replacement" general physician (GP) in the Cary area as my GP (second in a year) had dropped UH. UH had JUST ONE out of scores to normally choose from. My specialist dropped UH over a year ago. I called my HR contact to complain, and she tried to get me to see a doctor in Chapel Hill. Oy vey. Can't wait to get married to my fiance so I can switch over to her BCBS account!!!!!!! UH has by far the WORST relationship with area doctors.