Anesthesiologists join patient lawsuit against UnitedHealth over surprise medical bills

A North Carolina anesthesiologist group joined several patients in accusing UnitedHealth Group of sticking patients with large surprise bills after removing the anesthesiologists from its network, according to The Charlotte Observer.

Six patients and Providence Anesthesiology Associates made the accusations in a class-action lawsuit filed Aug. 16 in Mecklenburg County Superior Court. It concerns services provided at Winston-Salem-based Novant Health, where Providence Anesthesiology Associates is the primary provider of anesthesia services. 

While Novant is in network with UnitedHealth, as of March 1, 2020, the anesthesiologist group was no longer a part of UnitedHealth's network. Providence claimed UnitedHealth unilaterally terminated their agreement "without a good reason."

UnitedHealth disputed the lawsuit in an Aug. 17 statement to The Charlotte Observer, claiming Providence is behind the "exorbitant charges." 

"The fact that Providence has joined a lawsuit focused on the surprise bills that Providence itself has been sending to patients is just the latest example of the extreme lengths to which it will go to protect its egregious billing practices," the statement reads. "In the meantime, we will vigorously defend ourselves against the claims in this lawsuit and will continue doing everything we can to protect our members from Providence's surprise bills."

Novant declined The Charlotte Observer's request to comment on pending litigation. 

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