Tens of thousands have healthcare access restored after Premier and United reach a deal
MIAMI VALLEY, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - After nearly a year of negotiations, Premier Health and UnitedHealthcare have finally come to an agreement.
The deal restores healthcare access to tens of thousands of people across the Miami Valley, and brings the hope that families can move forward.
However, that conclusion was not without casualties.
"They've been going to the Kettering system in the Dayton area," President of Associated Builders and Contractors John Morris said. "They've been going to Cincinnati for their healthcare."
Morris oversees thousands of workers, and his group is just one example of the fallout.
"If thousands of people end up leaving permanently," Cedarville University Professor Dr. Marc Clauson said, "that will induce them to do a better job of both on their quality of service, and on the pricing that they offer."
That's why Morris's group sided with United, citing the need for industry competition, driving down prices and increasing choices.
"We run a program that offers construction companies an d their employees 14 different healthcare options," Morris said. "Had United agreed to Premier's terms, we would have been dropped down to 2."
Since May, Premier families were out of network for United's employer-sponsored and individual plans, but Premier isn't the only one feeling losses.
"When I go in they know me," Ida Mae said, "and that means a lot."
Last April, FOX 45's Shavon Anderson spoke with 98-year-old Mae, who got a letter about the negotiations. She got Anthem Insurance instead, deciding her primary care was more important.
With a deal ironed out, Premier could sway patients back, but Dr. Clauson said it may take years.
Morris said he's still waiting to see the deal's details before making a decision.