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IMPORTANT: Will be very interesting tomorrow when the nation’s biggest insurer UnitedHealthGroup announces its recent earnings. Why? As ER docs & other physicians risk their lives treating #COVID19 patients, UnitedHealth is playing games to rake in profits. Let me explain: (1/10)
To maximize profits, insurers like to squeeze doctors into taking bad contracts. This hurts patients by limiting the number of doctors in network, and hurts doctors by nickel and diming them. But know who gains from this? Health insurance execs. I know - I used to be one. (2/10)
As we all were bracing for the pandemic, UnitedHealth began notifying ER docs, radiologists & anesthesiologists that their contracts would be terminated without cause if they didn’t agree to much lower reimbursement, forcing many to accept pay cuts up to 60% -- or else. (3/10)
These termination notices arrived as UnitedHealth finished its most profitable year. As the doctors were left to decide whether to yield to the demands, or be forced out of network, the company reported revenues of $242 billion last year. Here's why this harms patients: (4/10)
A huge number will suffer financially due to UnitedHealth’s tactics. During this pandemic, patients at in-network hospitals are now at great risk of surprise bills as UnitedHealth shrinks its physician network. Why? Your hospital may be in network but the doctor might not. (5/10)
Surprise bills were relatively rare until UnitedHealth & other insurers reduced patient choice by culling their physician networks. Congress has been unable to agree on a legislative fix to this problem that would satisfy the powerful insurance industry. (6/10)
UnitedHealth’s current efforts to shrink its physician network appears to be part of a companywide strategy to force an untold number of hospital-based doctors out of network, even as it continues to quietly gobble up physician practices across the country. (7/10)
UnitedHealth is the largest private employer of physicians, controlling more than 50,000. This means they can decide which communities have which doctors in their network. The result: many patients don't have in-network options other than doctors UnitedHealth employs. (8/10)
Patients are getting crushed financially because of UnitedHealth’s actions. And, believe it or not, some doctors may as well. A number say they don’t know how they’ll make payroll this month. Others are taking out loans from their own 401k plans to fund their practices. (9/10)
Meanwhile, keep an eye on UnitedHealth’s earnings report tomorrow. Company execs said they expect to exceed $21 billion in profits this year.

In other words: Amid a pandemic slamming patients & doctors, the nation’s biggest health insurer is booming. That says it all.

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