PeaceHealth agrees to contract with insurer

UnitedHealthcare members can continue to use medical center

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter

Published:

Updated: June 21, 2013, 7:20 PM

 

PeaceHealth and UnitedHealthcare have reached a new two-year deal that will allow Clark County residents to continue seeing their current providers at in-network rates.

The two organizations announced the new deal Friday after months of negotiations.

This month, UnitedHealthcare sent letters to its members in Oregon, Washington and Alaska. The letters notified members that the insurer’s contract with PeaceHealth was set to expire June 30.

Without a new deal, local UnitedHealthcare members would have had to pay out-of-network rates for services provided at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center or to seek care at one of UnitedHealthcare’s in-network facilities.

The new contract is effective July 1 so members’ care will not be disrupted.

“UnitedHealthcare is committed to providing our customers access to quality health care through a broad network of physicians and hospitals at affordable rates,” said spokeswoman Kristen Hellmer. “We’re pleased that PeaceHealth will remain in our network of providers and continue to provide health care services for our members.”

UnitedHealthcare serves about 300,000 people in Oregon and about 516,000 in Washington, she said.

“This is great news for PeaceHealth and our patients,” Kevin Walstrom, chief financial officer of PeaceHealth, said in a news release announcing the deal. “It allows our patients to receive care in their own community from long-standing, trusted PeaceHealth providers.”

This month, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon distributed similar letters to its members in Clark County. On Monday, PeaceHealth and Regence announced a new two-year deal.


Marissa Harshman: 360-735-4546; http://twitter.com/col_health; http://facebook.com/reporterharshman; marissa.harshman@columbian.com.