Far more Vermonters than initially believed are at risk of losing services offered by the University of Vermont Health Network

Far more Vermonters than initially believed are at risk of losing services offered by the University of Vermont Health Network if the state’s largest health care provider fails to reach an agreement with UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest insurer, by Friday.  State officials previously estimated, based on information provided by UnitedHealthcare, that 1,800 Vermonters were at risk. But Michael Pieciak, commissioner of the state Department of Financial Regulation, said that UnitedHealthcare has since clarified that’s the number of Vermonters who have sought medical care in the past year at UVM Health Network. UnitedHealthcare actually covers 5,000 Vermonters who receive care from UVM’s providers, he said.  Only Vermonters insured under UnitedHealthcare’s employer-provided plans are affected by the insurer’s dispute with UVM Health Network. The fight does not include Medicare supplemental plans or any veterans’ health insurance plans.  Vermont officials said Monday they were hopeful that the two sides were close to an agreement.  The Green Mountain Care Board has jurisdiction over the health care plans offered on the state exchange, Vermont Health Connect, and has oversight of hospital budgets and the fees they charge, but it does not have any jurisdiction over UnitedHealthcare employer-provided plans, which are federally regulated.  Pieciak said Monday he was “optimistic that this will get resolved.”