UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), through UnitedHealthcare and Optum, has announced it is taking steps immediately to accelerate payments and other financial support to health care providers in the U.S. to help address the short-term financial pressure caused by the COVID-19 emergency.
“We are grateful to the health care providers and their teams who are on the front lines battling COVID-19,” said UnitedHealth Group Chief Executive Officer David S. Wichmann. “The actions we are taking today will provide nearly $2 billion in accelerated payments and financial support so our care provider partners can focus on delivering needed care.”
UnitedHealth Group’s move to accelerate claim payments to medical and behavioral care providers applies to UnitedHealthcare’s fully insured commercial, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid businesses. Other financial support currently includes the provision for up to $125 million in small business loans to clinical operators with whom OptumHealth is partnered.
“I applaud UnitedHealthcare’s actions to improve the liquidity of the health system during these very difficult times for care providers, particularly those dealing with the significant economic consequences caused by this pandemic,” said Sam Hazen, CEO of HCA Healthcare. “Many health systems are having to make very difficult decisions due to the cost of preparing and responding to COVID-19 plus the reduction or elimination of elective procedures, so steps like this will meaningfully mitigate the need to make some of these decisions.”
The decision to accelerate claims and incentive payments builds on previously adopted measures taken by the company to streamline processes for health care professionals and facilities, as well as to help members more easily access the care they need. This includes:
- Suspension of prior authorization requirements to a post-acute care setting
- Suspension of prior authorization requirements when a member transfers to a new provider
- Extension of timely filing deadlines for claims during the COVID-19 public health emergency period for Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, and Individual and Group Market health plans
- Implementation of provisional credentialing to make it easier for out-of-network care providers who are licensed independent practitioners to participate in one or more of our networks
Providers should go to www.UHCprovider.com for specifics on UnitedHealthcare policies and guidelines.