UVM Health Network and UnitedHealthcare extend their contract until May 12

University of Vermont Medical Center
The University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington in 2019. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

The University of Vermont Health Network, the state’s largest healthcare provider, and UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest health insurer, have extended their current contract through May 12 as they work out details of a new provisional agreement.

The two parties have been negotiating a new one-year contract for months. The current contract was originally set to expire on April 1.

“(The) current contract is extended through May 12 to provide additional time to finalize the terms of the agreement,” UnitedHealthcare spokesman Cole Manbeck said. “Our members continue to have access to UVM facilities and physicians through May 12 as we continue to finalize the terms of the global agreement.”

UVM Health Network spokeswoman Annie Mackin confirmed the contract extension.

Neither side was willing to provide details.

UnitedHealthcare told its customers in February that it would stop covering their care at UVM Health Network as a network starting April 1. The insurer said 5,000 Vermonters risk losing in-network coverage if the standoff continues.

In late March, UnitedHealthcare and UVM Health Network reached a last-minute deal to extend their contract through April 30 while continuing to negotiate.

The latest extension means UnitedHealthcare promises to continue to cover healthcare at UVM Health Network for less than two more weeks.

The insurer and the healthcare network are at odds over how much UnitedHealthcare should reimburse UVM Health Network for the care. Their dispute left patients at UVM Medical Center in Burlington, Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin, Porter Medical Center in Middlebury and three hospitals in upstate New York wondering where they would get care.

The dispute between the insurer and the health network is limited to employer plans. Supplemental Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans care are not affected.

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