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UnitedHealth to Overhaul Payment to Doctors and Hospitals -WSJ

UnitedHealth to Overhaul Payment to Doctors and Hospitals -WSJ

(Reuters) Feb 09 – U.S. insurer UnitedHealth Group Inc will revise the way it pays doctors and hospitals, a move which it expects will bring down expenses, a Wall Street Journal report said, citing documents sent by the company to employer clients.

UnitedHealth, the largest U.S. health insurer by market value, will create a "value-based" contract system to pay doctors and hospitals which will financially reward them for high-quality and efficient care and potentially withhold expected increases if they do not meet certain standards.

Providers will willingly enter into the new contracts, not be forced into them.

Fifty to 70 percent of the insurer’s commercially insured members could be affected by these contracts by 2015, up from about one to two percent this year, UnitedHealth said in the documents, the Journal said.

A company spokeswoman confirmed the authenticity of the documents, the paper said.

UnitedHealth was not immediately available for comment.