“United has resisted providing this office with even the most basic information about the scope of its termination and its impact upon patients,” Jespsen writes in the letter.
Jepsen also asked the CMS to extend the open-enrollment period, noting that physicians may still be actively appealing their terminations when the enrollment period ends Dec. 7.
UnitedHealth has come under fire for similar terminations in Florida, Indiana, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
Physicians have raised concerns that UnitedHealthcare is disrupting doctor-patient relationships and that patients shopping for plans now will continue to see terminated physicians listed as in-network.
The Indiana Department of Insurance issued a consumer alert recommending that Medicare Advantage members contact a state office to confirm that their preferred physicians will be part of the UnitedHealthcare network throughout 2014 and explore other options if they're not.
UnitedHealthcare acknowledged that its actions were “disruptive,” but spokeswoman Jessica Pappas said the company is working with its members to help them through the process.
“We have worked with and will continue to work with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and others, including the Connecticut Attorney General's office, to help address the needs of local providers and members and further explain the changes we are making to our Medicare Advantage network,” Pappas said.
Jack Larsen, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement told Modern Healthcare last month that no one should be surprised by insurance companies narrowing their Medicare Advantage networks, reducing benefits and withdrawing from markets, all of which he said was predicted back in 2010.
“Now these things have come to pass,” Larsen said. He added that, even after UnitedHealthcare reduces its network, it will still remain the biggest player in the Medicare Advantage field.
“We at United have probably garnered more media attention than others who are doing the same thing,” Larsen said>. Because of it's the biggest player in Advantage, he added, “that just comes with the territory.”
The Connecticut State Medical Society said on its website that the organization has been working with the state's Congressional delegation, the CMS, state legislators and regulators, the American Medical Association and the state medical societies in other affected states to address the situation. The medical society described its communication with UnitedHealthcare as “sporadic, lacking in detail, and at times contradictory.”
Follow Andis Robeznieks on Twitter: @MHARobeznieks