July 5, 2021
One of the most recent acts of insurance company greed happened with UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest insurance provider. Just recently, the insurance giant announced it would no longer cover patients’ nonurgent visits to the emergency room retroactively. Yes, you read that correctly. An American insurance company is no longer going to cover American patients who incorrectly self-diagnose and seek emergency treatment.
With a year of one public health crisis after another, UnitedHealthcare is creating an extra barrier to entry for patients accessing care. As pointed out by the American College of Emergency Physicians, there is a fear that “the change will cause patients to avoid using emergency rooms because they will be responsible for their hospital bills when UnitedHealthcare rejects them.” Because many patients were already fearful of visiting the hospital during the COVID-19, there was a rise in cases of “out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and associated poor health outcomes,” as reported in Health Affairs by researchers from the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management and unsurprisingly, this rise was particularly seen in low-income neighborhoods.
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