Disputes between major corporations are an inevitable part of business these days, and those among health care companies are no exception. The cost of health care is continuing to rise, and with every major increase, health insurance companies and health care providers must adjust their own budgets and business strategies. Sometimes these adjustments can lead to contract disputes.
Very often disputes over contracts between large companies don't affect customers at all. A company that ends up losing money due to an altered or broken contract may not pass that loss on to customers, and if it does, the effects aren't felt immediately. But a contract dispute between a major health insurance company and a Florida hospital group has senior citizens worried about it might mean for them and their health.
Florida's BayCare hospital group, based in Tampa, recently announced that it will not accept customers of United Healthcare's Medicare Advantage Plan. The plan provides insurance to millions of seniors across the country, including thousands in Florida. That announcement has people who receive care at BayCare hospitals and clinics concerned. The dispute between BayCare and United might not be as well-known if not for the full-page ads about the dispute that have appeared in local newspapers.
Many of the seniors who benefit from the Medicare Advantage Plan as well as from BayCare hospital services have wondered whether the public battle between the two entities has more to do with their saving money than meeting the needs of customers. Those who fear they won't be able to receive health care may choose to drop their current insurance plan in search of something more stable and widely accepted.
Often the more public a business dispute, the more likely customers are to be wary of supporting those businesses. For this reason, it behooves companies to seek resolutions to a dispute as quickly as possible so as not to upset their customer base.
Source: WSTP.com, "Contract dispute between BayCare and UnitedHealthcare gives seniors healthcare headache," Kathryn Bursch, Oct. 22, 2012