UnitedHealthcare and BayCare settle dispute, customers still wea - WFLA News Channel 8

UnitedHealthcare and BayCare settle dispute, customers still weary

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Jim Kull is fed-up that it's insurance companies that get to decide who can be his doctor.

"For me to just step up and switch all of my current doctors, dermatologist, family practice and so forth was not acceptable for me," Kull said.

Kull, and nearly half-a-million Bay area residents have had their healthcare in limbo for the past few months.

In late November, UnitedHealthcare fired BayCare Health System, which includes some of the area's largest hospitals.

The two healthcare giants couldn't agree on pricing.

That meant, patients, like Kull, who depend on BayCare doctors, had to choose new ones or pay more out-of-pocket to continue care.

"I asked and brought it up with our benefits people as to if I can keep my doctors, and the answers that came back from United Health is "there are plenty of providers in your area, find one within network," Kull said.

Late Friday, all this changed.

BayCare and United announced a five-year deal that allows all United customers to get treated at any of BayCare's 11 area hospitals or by BayCare doctors.

That's good news for Kull, who had already decided to keep his doctors - no matter the cost..

Even so, he says, this agreement doesn't settle his nerves about insurance companies dictating who can care for his family.

"It doesn't mean it's the quality of the doctor or that it's a good convenience for you or whether you would like that doctor or not, it's just that doctor is willing to take their reimbursement," Kull said.

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