AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Radiological Association (ARA) Diagnostic Imaging is now out of network for all UnitedHealthcare plan types after the contract expired between the two sides, ARA and UnitedHealthcare confirmed in separate statements Tuesday.
The move became effective Saturday, April 15.
ARA said its radiologists have “served the people of Austin and Central Texas since 1954.”
‘ARA and United have had a long-standing relationship spanning almost two decades. However, the reimbursement rate UHC has been paying does not allow our practice to recruit well-trained radiologists and provide innovative care improvements to serve our patients in the best possible way,” a spokesperson for ARA said in the statement.
UnitedHealthcare said in its statement ARA “demanded a price hike” that was “not affordable or sustainable for the people and employers throughout the Austin market.”
“ARA Diagnostic Imaging issued a notice to end our contract and demanded a 34% price hike over five years, including a double-digit rate increase in just the first year of our contract. Agreeing to ARA’s proposal would increase health care costs by nearly $8 million and is not affordable or sustainable for the people and employers throughout the Austin market. We have compromised and proposed a multi-year contract containing meaningful rate increases to ensure ARA is reimbursed fairly and appropriately for the services they provide. We urge ARA to work with us to restore network access to its radiologists and facilities at a cost that Austin residents and employers can afford.”-UnitedHealthCare spokesperson
Now that ARA is out of network with United, this means ARA’s outpatient imaging centers will no longer be considered in-network providers for United members, including those enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, ARA said.
“We urge United back to the table to negotiate an agreement through meaningful discussion that will bring ARA back in network for United’s members, our patients,” ARA said.
ARA suggested patients visit AusRad.com for a full list of in-network insurance plans. Furthermore, the agency said, “we work directly with our patients to provide an estimate for any out-of-pocket costs if they choose not to access their health plan benefits to receive care at one of our outpatient imaging centers.”
If patients decide to self-pay and not access their health benefits, they can contact the ARA Customer Service Department at (512) 519-3443 within the first 30 days of receiving their statement to discuss discounts or to receive financial assistance. Additionally, ARA can offer payment arrangements, if needed, with no interest or additional fees.
For patients with a commercial UHC health plan, we recommend they call UHC at the number on the back of their insurance card to confirm their out-of-network benefits. Patients with Medicare Advantage and Managed Medicaid health plans can visit KeepMyAustinRad.com for a list of providers who may be in their provider network.-ARA Diagnostics spokesperson