Important Information about Our Relationship with Houston Methodist
For the last several months, we’ve been in active negotiations with Houston Methodist to renew our relationship so that our employer-sponsored, individual and Medicare Advantage members have continued access to Methodist’s hospitals and physicians. If we are unable to reach an agreement, Methodist’s hospitals would be out of network, effective Jan. 1, 2020, and its physicians would be out of network, effective April 1, 2020. The following hospitals are affected by this negotiation:
- Houston Methodist Hospital
- Houston Methodist the Woodlands Hospital
- Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital
- Houston Methodist West Hospital
- Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital
- Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital
- Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital
Our commitment to those we serve
We appreciate that the role Methodist plays in Houston and the surrounding communities is not only important but also personal. We know many families and individuals we serve value having access to Methodist’s hospitals and physicians and are rightfully concerned by this news. We assure you we are committed to making every effort to reach a resolution with Methodist that ensures UnitedHealthcare plan participants have continued access to care at Methodist that is both quality and affordable.
Making health care more affordable in Houston starts with Methodist
In order to renew our relationship, we need Methodist to address its high costs. The cost of care at Houston Methodist Hospital is 49% higher than the average cost at the four other Texas hospitals ranked in the top five in the state by U.S. News & World Report.
Methodist isn’t just the most expensive health system in Texas. It’s one of the most expensive in the entire country. Houston Methodist Hospital is 36% more expensive on average than four of the top five hospitals in U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 rankings of the best hospitals in the United States. For example, a CT scan at Houston Methodist Hospital costs $1,401 more – or 146% higher – than the average cost at those four hospitals. All four of those hospitals are highly prestigious and nationally known as the best in the country for people seeking top-quality health care.
For people enrolled in our employer-sponsored health plans, the cost of care in Houston is more expensive than in any other city in Texas. In order to maintain a competitive business environment in Houston, we must get health care costs under control. And Methodist must be part of the solution.
Nearly 80 percent of the plan participants we serve in the Houston area are enrolled in self-funded plans, meaning their employers pay the cost of their employees' medical bills themselves. This is known as "self-funding" and it means money comes straight out of the company's bottom line to pay for medical expenses. So as the prices for health care continue to rise, less money is available to pay salaries, invest in new technologies or help grow the business.
The cost of care at Methodist is leading to consumers paying more for their health care and is no longer sustainable for the employer group customers and members we serve. We are asking Methodist to help make health care more affordable for people in the Houston area.
Resources for Consumers
Houston Methodist is significantly more costly than some of the most prestigious hospitals in the country. Click on the documents below to learn more about Methodist’s high costs and the impact they’re having on companies and consumers in Houston.
- Methodist costs 49% more than other top hospitals in Texas (pdf)
- Methodist 36% more expensive than four of top five hospitals in the U.S. (pdf)
- Methodist more than double the cost compared to top hospitals in the U.S. for many services (pdf)
- Methodist’s high costs are driving up health care costs in Houston (pdf)
- Methodist significantly more costly than Texas hospitals for common services (pdf)
- Care at Methodist to increase by $257 million over 10 years (pdf)
- FAQs (pdf)
- Houston Methodist fact sheet (pdf)
How to find more information
UnitedHealthcare members with questions should call the number on their insurance ID card. We’ll also continue to post updates on this site to ensure our members have the information they need in the event Methodist chooses to not continue its participation in UnitedHealthcare’s network.
On behalf of our customers, members and the thousands of UnitedHealthcare employees who depend on Methodist for health care, we remain committed to reaching an agreement that helps ensure access to care at Houston Methodist that is both quality and affordable.