May 14, 2020
ASA Asks HHS Secretary Azar for Moratorium on Commercial Insurance Contract Cancellations
On May 4, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) sent a formal communication to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar asking him to implement a moratorium on health insurance contract cancellations or terminations during the COVID-19 pandemic and urge insurers to reinstate their contracts with providers that were terminated in 2020.
This year, some insurers, most notably UnitedHealthcare, have changed the terms of their plans by terminating long-standing contractual relationships. These health insurance companies have been using aggressive negotiating tactics to terminate physician contracts, forcing physicians out of network with little or no notice and increasing the likelihood patients will face additional out-of-pockets costs. While this is unfortunately not a new insurance business practice, it is particularly dangerous during a national health care emergency. ASA believes these actions threaten the health and well-being of our country’s patients.
In the letter to Secretary Azar, ASA requests that he work directly with insurers and interested parties to put an end to the troubling practice of changing contract provisions before the contract is expired. If insurers do not reverse course, more patients across the country will end up footing the bill for extra out-of-pocket costs, worsening an already harrowing national crisis.