Saturday, March 19, 2005

"Bargaining" with HMOs

It has long been a tenet of modern medicine that physicians will simply have to accept ever declining reimbursement. For me, the bottom has been reached. While my group has occasionally cancelled or turned down bad contracts, in general the insurers came back with a more acceptable offer.
We are now faced with a new contract from UnitedHealth, which contains language so odious that we will be terminating 15% of our business to avoid signing. What, besides poor pay, can be so difficult to accept? Basically, the contract states that United may, at any time, change our reimbursement, and we are unable to then drop out of the contract. So, the day after the contract is signed, they are able to drastically alter the pay structure, and we are obligated to honor the contract for the next 12 months.
I wonder if Bill McGuire, their CEO, would sign such a deal. After all, he made only a paltry $10 million in salary last year (but look at the stock options exercised). I could care less if Dr. McGuire is successful; I would just like the ability to openly share this information with my fellow physicians in town without the fear of antitrust reprisals from the feds.