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Insurer steps up fight to control healthcare cost

New York Times, January 25, 2010

In New York City, a major hospital chain and one of the nation's largest insurance companies are locked in a struggle over control of treatment and costs that could have broad ramifications for millions of people with private health insurance. The fight is between Continuum Health Partners, a consortium of five New York hospitals, and UnitedHealthcare, which has 25 million members across the country. The hospitals and the major health insurer have been in bitter contract negotiations, not just over rates but also over UnitedHealthcare'’s demand that the hospitals notify the insurance company within 24 hours after a patient's admission. If a hospital failed to do so, UnitedHealthcare would cut its reimbursements for the patient by half, the New York Times reports.