UnitedHealthcare delays ER policy

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UnitedHealthcare is delaying a policy that could have led to retroactive denials for emergency room claims it considered nonemergent, according to The New York Times.

UnitedHealthcare said June 10 that "based on feedback from our provider partners and discussions with medical societies, we have decided to delay the implementation of our emergency department policy until at least the end of the national public health emergency period."

The policy, which was set to take effect July 1, drew harsh criticism from hospitals and physicians. UnitedHealthcare had said 1 in 10 ER claims could have been denied under the policy.

The American Hospital Association and the American College of Emergency Physicians demanded for the policy's reversal, arguing it would harm patient care and violate the prudent layperson standard. The standard requires health insurers to cover emergency health services based on presenting symptoms, not final diagnosis.

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