Patients share uncertainty about Northwest Healthcare and United - Tucson News Now

Patients share uncertainty about Northwest Healthcare and UnitedHealthcare Insurance issue

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

While the fight over contract negotiations between Northwest Healthcare and UnitedHealthcare continues, 46,000 patients in Tucson are bracing to pay the price. 

Alissa Gietz is one of the many UnitedHealthcare customers uncertain about what to do. She’s six months pregnant and wants to deliver her baby girl at the same place as her son – the Women’s Center at Northwest Medical Center.

"I really love it,” said Gietz. “They really just focus on the women and the birthing there and I was like, ‘I gotta have that’ so I was really worried and I am worried that I won’t be able to have the experience again.”

However, it could be more expensive if she does.

That’s because as of Monday, UnitedHealthcare considers Northwest Healthcare an out-of-network provider since leaders couldn’t reach a contract agreement.

“I think it would be easier at the beginning stages of pregnancy. I shouldn’t have to worry about this at this point. It’s kinda stressful,” she explained.

"And even if I went to someone else, I don’t know how soon I’d get into them," explained Gietz. "I don’t know the doctor I’d even want to go to would be taking new patients, and that’s another concern."

Gietz isn’t the only one worried.

Her friend Mary Angle is 16 weeks pregnant.

“It’s daunting to try and find another doctor that I have to explain everything else to in a middle of a pregnancy and to see if they’ll be on board with exactly I want to do,” said Angle. “It’s just frustrating to have to do that mid-pregnancy.”

It's possible both women may qualify to keep their doctors at in-network prices, but they have to apply and be approved for the program. Patients actively getting treatment or with certain illnesses could also qualify. To learn more about "continuity of care," visit https://www.uhc.com/content/dam/uhcdotcom/en/landing/northwest-healthcare/continuity-of-care-fact-sheet-northwest.pdf

Continuity of Care Fact Sheet Northwest by Tucson News Now on Scribd

Meanwhile,Gietz isn't confident since it's not guaranteed.

"I would consider, but I don’t want to be approved and then have something happen, like, oh just kidding, you know this part isn’t approved."

Angle agreed.

"Even if I’m eligible for the continuity of care, I feel like I may be jumping hoops with paperwork or whatever else," she said. "I don’t know if it would be worth it to do the continuity of care or go somewhere else, if that would just be easier."

Both UnitedHealthcare and NorthwestHealthcare are blaming each other for why a deal hasn't been reached.

If you're a UnitedHealthcare customer, visit www.uhc.com/northwest-healthcare for more information. It's pushing people call the number on their health plan ID card.

Meanwhile, NorthwestHealthcare is telling their side of the story here: www.standuptounitedaz.com.

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