A federal appeals court has ordered UnitedHealthcare, the Fairfield County Medical Association, and the Hartford County Medical Association to try to settle their differences over UnitedHealth's decision to drop 2,200 physicians from its Medicare Advantage (MA) network.
The three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals issued the order on Tuesday after hearing oral arguments from both sides. The medical associations filed suit in federal court against UnitedHealth claiming the insurer is violating federal law by dropping the physicians without cause and without the ability to appeal United's decision.
"We want the reasons why they are letting doctors go only for MA plans and not other plans," says Mark Thompson, executive director of the Fairfield County Medical Association, one of two plaintiffs. "We want doctors to have opportunity to arbitrate."
A judge issued a temporary restraining order against UnitedHealth in December, ordering it to halt the cuts. The hearing on Tuesday, expedited by the court, was in response to an appeal by UnitedHealth. The three-judge panel left the injunction against UnitedHealth in place, but ordered all parties to the court's Civil Appeals Management Plan, known as CAMP.