Updated May 3, 2022

In October, OU Health issued a notice terminating our current contract unless we agree to substantial price hikes that would increase Oklahomans’ health care costs

Although OU Health is already the most expensive provider in Oklahoma, it initially demanded an egregious 40% rate increase over three years, which would have raised health care costs for Oklahomans by $49 million. OU Health has since insisted on a one-year deal that would make the system 34% more expensive than other Oklahoma City hospitals. 

Throughout the negotiation, OU Health’s demands would have increased premiums and out-of-pocket costs for our members as well as the cost of doing business for companies that simply want to offer affordable health care coverage for their employees. OU Health’s current proposal would directly drive up health care costs for our self-insured customers, given that these employers pay the cost of their employees’ medical bills themselves rather than relying on UnitedHealthcare to pay those claims. In Oklahoma, 71% of our members are enrolled in self-insured plans.

We recognize hospitals and doctors throughout the country – including OU Health – have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, UnitedHealth Group has served and supported our provider partners as well as our members, employees and communities. We accelerated nearly $2 billion of payments to care providers to provide needed liquidity for the health system; provided $2 billion in direct customer and consumer support through premium credits, cost-sharing waivers and other efforts; and waived COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment costs for members.

We hope OU Health, which received more than $74 million in CARES Act relief, will work with us to help make health care more affordable for Oklahomans who have been hit hard financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.

OU Health is the most expensive hospital in Oklahoma and the highest-cost academic institution within a 500-mile radius

OU Health is the most expensive provider in Oklahoma, which makes the demands for increases it has made throughout our negotation even more unreasonable. If we agreed to its current proposal, the cost of care at OU Health’s hospitals would be 34% higher than the average cost at other hospitals in Oklahoma City. In fact, if we were to agree to this proposal but our members were to receive care at other hospitals, it would result in $22 million in reduced health care costs annually.

We recognize and appreciate that OU Health, as an academic medical institution, provides some services that are unique and more costly than its peers. We reimburse them accordingly for these types of services. However, OU Health charges significantly more than other hospitals in the region even for common services and tests. OU Health is also more than 20% costlier on average than all other academic medical institutions within a 500-mile radius of Oklahoma City and is more expensive than several of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals in the U.S.

OU Health seems to believe that it’s entitled to be paid significantly more than its peers and top providers, yet none of its hospitals or specialties – including oncology or pediatrics – are ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals ranking at the state or national level.

We urge OU Health to accept our latest proposal without further delay and restore network access for the people and communities we serve so they can have access to care at an affordable cost.

We recognize this can be a challenging process for the people we serve who rely on OU Health for their health care needs. We do not take this disruption lightly. Our top priority is ensuring our members have access to the care they need while making health care affordable for them and the employers we serve. We urge OU Health to sign our latest proposal without further delay, ending this disruption for the communities we serve.