Deadline extended, Phoebe signs with United HealthCare - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Deadline extended, Phoebe signs with United HealthCare

November 4, 2005

Albany- Friday, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital announced that they have signed a letter of intent with United HealthCare to provide health care for that network. According to United HealthCare, Phoebe Putney will only accept the PPO plan and will not accept the HMO plan. The hospital's signing on does not mean that all of its doctors will accept the plan.

"We have been so concerned that the teachers not have to worry about their health plan and what their access is and that they have continuous access without interruption to the same plan that they have always had," said Jackie Ryan, Phoebe Putney Asst. V.P.

Without Phoebe and United HealthCare reaching an agreement pregnant woman and cancer patients may have had to travel as far as Columbus or Thomasville for in network treatment. With the new agreement they can receive treatment here in Albany.

State employees are also getting more time to register for the state's new health care benefits. Governor Sonny Perdue Friday, extended open registration to November 18th.

More time to register for the state's health care benefits is good news for many state workers and retirees.

"My wife got her package last Friday and here it is one week later and we have make a decision and there's a lot of information and a lot of changes," said John Desmond of Worth County.

With the deadline extended to November 18th concerns turn to whether doctor's will sign on now that Phoebe has agreed to accept United HealthCare's network.

"As the hospital goes, so goes the county and that includes the doctors and everything else that happens," said a representative from United HealthCare.

"They keep saying they're signing up new doctors, but we keep hearing doctors say they're not signing up, so we don't know who to believe," said Everett Hood of Sylvester.

Since August, more doctors have signed on, but to find out who you need to check United's Web site for a current list of doctors. If your doctor hasn't, it could mean more paperwork for you at a higher cost with the PPO plan to get coverage.

"Sure it's more expensive, and if a doctor tells you that he's not signed up with the plan then you've got to worry about filing the claim yourself to get reimbursed," said Hood.

The PPO plan pays only 60 percent of out of network costs, costing those who want to continue seeing their current doctor more. United HealthCare said today that services state employees and retires will receive under the new plan have not changed, but premiums are expected to increase.

feedback: news@walb.com