ER usage could see permanent drop due to COVID-19, UnitedHealth CEO says

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The pandemic led to a dip in emergency room visits, and the numbers may not recover, UnitedHealth CEO Andrew Witty said during the company's July 15 earnings call.

Mr. Witty said the insurer saw members skipping checkups and procedures because of pandemic-related factors, ThinkAdvisor reported. While some claims for high-value care may pick up, UnitedHealth executives expect fewer patients in emergency rooms. 

"It looks pretty sustained down, and it doesn’t seem to be coming back up," Mr. Witty said. "A lot of people don’t expect that utilization to come back."

While still speculative, Mr. Witty said urgent care centers may see the patients who turned away from the emergency room. 

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