Group protests United Healthcare policy expansion

Rally against UnitedHealthcare policy

Rally against UnitedHealthcare policy

A group of patients and advocates rallied Wednesday outside Minneapolis-based UnitedHealthcare, protesting a policy expansion.

The policy deals with preauthorization for doctors to perform some procedures

The update requires approval from health plans before several more procedures, including some endoscopies and colonoscopies.

Opponents of the change say the move causes unnecessary delays and could lead to more serious health issues.

UnitedHealthcare sent the following statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS:

“UnitedHealthcare covers colonoscopy and endoscopy procedures for our members according to published medical guidelines. People should not experience any delays in scheduling GI procedures when their physician is following these guidelines. Unfortunately, there is significant variation across the country in adherence to these guidelines and each year, our members have more than 6,000 emergency room visits, 2,500 hospitalizations and millions of dollars in complications related to these procedures. Our GI program uses a quick, easy, modern process that provides education to the physician and helps to ensure our members get safe and affordable access to care.”

UnitedHealthcare later announced some slight changes and released the following comment:

“To provide an opportunity for physician education and to allow us to collect more data on which physicians should be eligible for our previously announced 2024 gold card program, effective immediately, we will be implementing an Advance Notification process, rather than Prior Authorization, for non-screening and non-emergent GI procedures. This Advance Notification will not result in the denial of care for clinical reasons or for failure to notify and will help educate physicians who are not following clinical best practices. Provider groups who do not submit advance notification during this period will not be eligible for the UnitedHealthcare Gold Card program.”