July 01--COLUMBUS -- Columbus Community Hospital and other members of the Platte Valley Physician Hospital Organization began accepting UnitedHealthcare insurance today.
The new network, which includes Columbus Urgent Care, Columbus Medical Center and Columbus Family Practice, covers both employer-sponsored and individual plans.
"Meeting the health-care needs of our community is key to our mission," Michael Hansen, president and CEO of Columbus Community Hospital, said in a release. "Expanding our network of providers to include UnitedHealthcare ensures that a greater number of people in our community have access to quality health care."
Approximately 50 local physicians now will accept UnitedHealthcare through the PHO, expanding UnitedHealthcare's provider network to more than 3,400 physicians and 87 hospitals statewide.
"Columbus Community Hospital is an important provider of health-care services, and our new network relationship gives UnitedHealthcare plan participants in eastern Nebraska greater access to quality medical facilities and skilled physicians close to where they live and work," said Dr. Daniel Clute, medical director for UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual of Nebraska.
The decision to add UnitedHealthcare to the PHO's list of accepted insurance carriers comes after the group adamantly opposed the company in recent years.
Hansen was not available for comment on why the relationship with UnitedHealthcare was formed.
However, UnitedHealthcare's new role as the health insurance provider for the state may have played a part in the decision.
The Minneapolis, Minn.,-based company replaced Blue Cross Blue Shield today as the health insurance provider for state employees and also will handle the state's drug prescription program.
Carlos Castillo, director of the state Department of Administrative Services, said in February that UnitedHealthcare had issues with slow payments to providers five or six years ago, but that has improved.
The approximately 15,000 employees affected by that change include local workers in the district court and Department of Health and Human Services systems.
UnitedHealthcare also is the provider of Medicare supplement insurance through AARP.
A business of UnitedHealth Group, UnitedHealthcare contracts directly with more than 650,000 physicians and health-care professionals and 5,000 hospitals nationwide.
The Lincoln Journal Star contributed to this story.
(c)2012 the Columbus Telegram (Columbus, Neb.)
Visit the Columbus Telegram (Columbus, Neb.) at www.columbustelegram.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services