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UnitedHealthcare Medicare Ad Misleading?

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

UnitedHealthcare, which sells AARP Medicare products including HMO-style Medicare Advantage plans, took out a full-page newspaper ad that blamed the decision to shrink provider networks in 2014 on reductions in federal funding. But as the Tampa Bay Times reports, payments from the federal government to Medicare Advantage plans will actually increase 3.3 percent next year. (Paywall after 15th click) 

People enrolled in UnitedHealthcare AARP Medicare Advantage plans in several Florida markets are receiving letters notifying them that doctors and hospitals have been dropped from their managed care network. That  has triggered a scramble to change plans during open enrollment, which runs through Dec. 7.

In Tampa Bay, where more than 50,000 residents are enrolled in the UnitedHealthcare AARP Medicare Advantage plans, three popular treatment centers -- St. Luke's Cataract & Laser Institute, Tampa Eye Institute and Moffitt Cancer Center -- are being dropped.

UnitedHealthcare won’t say exactly how many doctors and other care-providers are being dropped from the AARP plan network in Florida; approximately 19,200 Florida providers will remain in the network, a spokeswoman for the company said. 

St. Lukes treated about 12,000 AARP patients last year. It says the insurer has not tried to negotiate lower rates with them since 2009, the Times reports. 

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.