Boca Raton Regional Hospital, UnitedHealthcare split leaves 17,500 patients in limbo

EBoca Raton (Fla.) Regional Hospital, recently acquired by Miami-based Baptist Health South Florida, is no longer in UnitedHealthcare's provider network, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

A contract between the organizations expired June 30, meaning 17,500 patients with UnitedHealthcare coverage will have to find another provider or see their out-of-pocket healthcare expenses climb. The contracts in question concern UnitedHealthcare members with employer-sponsored, individual, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid policies.

Boca Raton Regional and UnitedHealthcare have spent the last month trying to negotiate a replacement agreement. UnitedHealthcare said if it agreed to the hospital's demands, its self-funded members would see their healthcare costs rise $3.2 million during the next year for their employees' healthcare services.

"We have offered Boca Raton Regional Hospital rate increases that compensate them fairly, but they are seeking significant rate increases of more than 15 percent in just one year, which is simply unsustainable for our employer group customers and the members we serve,” UnitedHealthcare told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Lincoln Mendez, who recently took over the CEO role at Boca Regional, has been attempting to reach a more lucrative deal with UnitedHealthcare, according to the report. The negotiations between UnitedHealthcare and Boca Raton Regional began before the hospital combined with Baptist Health. 

In a statement to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, a Boca Raton Regional spokesperson said: "Given United's unwillingness to reimburse Boca Raton Regional Hospital at market competitive rates, a new agreement has not been reached. Boca Raton Regional Hospital would like to continue its participation with United under fair and reasonable terms."

Editor's note: This article was updated July 11 at 9:32 a.m. 

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