UnitedHealth: $320B could be saved in next decade by reducing ED visits

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Treating common conditions, including bronchitis and the flu, in primary care settings instead of emergency rooms could save health systems up to $320 billion over the next 10 years, according to UnitedHealth Group's 2020 Sustainability Report.

Two-thirds of visits to hospital emergency departments by patients with private insurance are avoidable, the report said. 

The payer advocated for improved access to high-quality, low-cost care settings, and indicated that conducting procedures like joint replacement surgeries in ambulatory surgery centers instead of hospitals could save health systems $20 billion over 10 years.

UnitedHealthcare said June 10 it would delay implementing a policy that could lead to denials of emergency room claims it considered nonemergent. 

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