UnitedHealthcare Facing Criticism Over New Policy On ER Visits

According to the policy, claims ultimately determined to not be emergencies will be subject to limited or even no coverage.

Video Transcript

- A major insurance company under fire today because of a new policy surrounding ER visits. Starting July 1st United Healthcare will be able to retroactively deny emergency care claims. Our Brooke Katz explains how it works and why health care officials are voicing strong opposition.

STEPHEN LOVE: We have a good relationship with the United Healthcare. They have some very reasonable people. What we would like to see come out of this is they reverse that policy and not implement it July 1st.

BROOKE KATZ: Stephen Love, President of the DFW Hospital Council, one of the voices speaking out against United Healthcare's new policy. The company changing how it assesses emergency visits, claims ultimately determined to not be emergencies will be subject to limited or even no coverage. The American Hospital Association and the American College of Emergency Physicians both expressing concern about the impact to patients.

ROBERT HANCOCK: And our biggest concern with all this is that people will start to second guess whether they should go to the emergency department when they have chest pain. They may say, well, maybe I shouldn't go because if they don't find anything, then I'm get stuck with a big bill. And my insurance company won't pay.

BROOKE KATZ: A representative for United Healthcare told us coverage won't be denied for people going to the ER with true emergency symptoms like chest pain. They say the move is intended to help push people towards the right care, saying in a written statement, we are taking steps to make care more affordable, encouraging people who do not have a health care emergency to seek treatment in a more appropriate setting, such as an urgent care center. Brooke Katz, CBS 11 News.

- The American College of Emergency Physicians has an ongoing lawsuit against Anthem over similar policies.