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When People Become Pawns

When People Become Pawns

by Les Wilson

Boca residents with United Healthcare (UHC) employer-sponsored, individual, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid health plans have seen this movie before. Twice in recent years, these UHC subscribers received letters warning that Boca Raton Regional Hospital (BRRH) won’t agree to take UHC insurance. But each time it was resolved before the contract expired; until it wasn’t.

… it affects people’s day to day living. Relocating to a different city is on the table.

It’s More than a Business Problem

For Boca Residents affected by the impasse, their health is threatened and they feel like a pawn; a number buried in a spreadsheet that business people don’t think is big enough. Those affected understand the impact is more than an emergency trip to the hospital. For everyone with ongoing medical care, it affects their day to day living. Below are three BocaFirst readers that have written to us about their situation. BocaFirst endeavors to be your voice. If you want to share how the current situation affects you, Contact Us via our website

Patient A – Cancer Treatments

“My neighbor has a 10 year old daughter that was getting cancer treatments out of BRRH. They had to cancel it since they had UHC insurance. Both the hospital and the oncologist no longer take UHC insurance.”

Patient B – Doctors and Treatments

“My United Healthcare is a commercial corporate policy with one of the larger employers in Palm Beach County. With the plan, I have no out of network benefits. All of my doctors are only associated with the hospital and no others. All of my testing is done within the BRRH system. Since I have ongoing medical issues, I require repeat testing on the same equipment.  I now have to commute to another hospital where I have no medical doctor representation. Nor are any of my medical records on file. All of this will cause problems, complications and adversely put me needlessly in harm’s way. I really don’t know what to do. In the event of an emergency I will have to attempt to find doctors  and facilities. It doesn’t mean I can. I feel this hardship comes out of greed putting us in this terrible position.”

Patient C – Serious Medical Conditions

“I am a 74 year old senior and my wife is 72. We both have a Medicare Advantage Plan from AARP which is  administered by United Health Care.  I am under the care of 5 doctors for 3 serious medical conditions that require intense medical care.  Two of these conditions could very well result in my having to be operated on at some future point. That, of course, involves admittance to a hospital. All of my physicians also attend at Boca Regional Hospital.  I have been under their expert care for many, many years. And, for one of my conditions, I had to undergo an operation 4 years ago at Boca Raton Hospital.  As you can imagine the charges for the hospital portion were astronomical, but most were defrayed by in-network insurance.”

The Great Irony

singer - mendez clipping
Mayor Singer post about BRRH and UHC

According to the Baptist Health South Florida website, they have numerous awards and recognitions including Fortune Magazine’s top 100 companies to work for. And in case you missed it, Mayor Scott Singer posted an update indicating he’s heard your voice and Baptist Health is “working hard” to resolve the issue.

Long time residents of Boca Raton who’ve given generously to the hospital and built their personal healthcare network around Boca Regional, feel it’s more than personal. It’s a black eye for their city as a place to live, work and play. What should be an advantage is now a liability as cities to the north, south and west provide in-network hospitals for their residents. Relocating to a different city is on the table.

BocaFirst is concerned but hopeful that Baptist Health and UHC will soon resolve this as they have in the past and at other hospitals. We are also hopeful that Baptist Health will usher in a new era of leadership for the “Miracle on Meadows” so that it will once again be an asset to all of Boca Raton.


For more about Boca Regional Hospital dropping residents with United Healthcare insurance, see our previous articles:

1) Boca Raton Regional Hospital Fails its Strategic Vision When United Healthcare Drops it
2) Get the 411 on UHC at Boca Regional Before You Dial 911

For information about what it means to you as a UHC subscriber:
1) United Healthcare “What happens when I use out-of-network doctors?” by United Healthcare
2) Answers to Questions by Cindy Krischer Goodman
3) WPTV Report by Arthur Mondale

The Florida State Chief Financial officer is Jimmy Patronis and he is in charge of the Division of Consumer Services. You can ask questions, express concerns and file complaints on their web page: We Are Here For You.

FL State Insurance Complaint
FL State Insurance Complaint Web Page

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