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Time Running Out For UnitedHealthCare, Health First Medical Group Contract

Health-First-Logo.jpg
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Brevard County’s largest doctor group will be out of network for residents with UnitedHealthcare insurance this Friday.

The deal could affect 46,000 people. Health First Medical Group will be out-of-network April for people with UnitedHealthcare insurance. That means higher fees if patients want to keep seeing a Health First Medical Group doctor.

The insurance company said it’s working on a performance-based contract where doctors would get more money, but would also be rewarded for quality and patient outcomes.

“We continue to meet regularly and remain hopeful Health First’s physicians will renew their participation in UnitedHealthcare’s network,” wrote Keely Brenno,  ‎director of public relations for UnitedHealthcare.

If there’s no deal, though, UnitedHealthcare patients with special health care needs, such as end-stage kidney failure, chemotherapy and radiation, may be able to apply to get in-network prices for a special transition period.

“It is our hope and desire to reach an agreement with UnitedHealthcare before the deadline, so their members will continue to have in-network access to high quality health care,” wrote Matthew Gerrell, vice president of marketing for Health First. “It should be noted that this negotiation only involves our medical group, as we currently have an agreement with our hospitals.”

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Reporter Abe Aboraya is part of WMFE in Orlando. WMFE is a partner with Health News Florida, which receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.