Hartford Hospital and United Healthcare have sent letters to patients and policy holders, warning them of potential trouble ahead.

The in-network contract between Hartford Hospital and United Healthcare expires October 28.

That means if the hospital and insurance plans are unable to reach an agreement on a new contract, starting October 29, thousands of patients would have to either pay more expensive, out-of-network rates for care — or go somewhere else.

United says negotiations continue.

“We recently requested a mutual extension of our contract through February 1, 2013, so we could continue our discussions while keeping the hospital in-network, but unfortunately Hartford Healthcare denied that request, ” said United spokesman Ben Goldstein.

The health insurance company says the hospital wants an unreasonable, 30 percent increase in payments.

Hartford Hospital says both sides remain far apart on critical issues.

“We have offered major concessions throughout negotiations,” the hospital wrote to its patients. “Only recently did United start to move off its original set of demands, allowing some progress to be made.”

The hospital says back in March, the insurance company issued a notice terminating the existing contract, without first trying to reach a new agreement.

Patients at the Hospital of Central Connecticut would also be affected, because that institution is connected to Hartford Hospital.  So would people with Oxford health plans, because Oxford is part of United.
Doctors for people who are in-patient on October 28 can request transitional care, which would continue lower, in-network rates for up to a month.

Certain pregnant women, AIDS patients, some cancer patients, and people with end-stage kidney disease and dialysis could also be eligible for a one-month extension of lower, in-network rates.


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