Wellstar’s demand for annual rate increases would drive up the cost of care by $178 million over the next five years

As if a one-year price hike of 22% isn’t enough, Wellstar is also seeking annual rate increases that – when combined with the health system’s first-year demands – would increase the cost of care at its hospitals and with its physicians by approximately 50% over the next five years. Those annual increases, coupled with the 22% price hike in year one, would equate to a $178 million increase in health care costs over the next five years for Georgia families and employers.

Agreeing to Wellstar’s proposal would also mean the average cost of care at its hospitals for people enrolled in employer-sponsored and individual plans would be more than five times what Medicare would pay the hospital for the same services by 2026. In other words, if Medicare paid Wellstar $100 for a service provided to a senior, the health system would charge more than $500 for the exact same service when provided to a UnitedHealthcare member enrolled in an employer-sponsored plan.

UnitedHealthcare and Wellstar Health System Renew Relationship

UnitedHealthcare and Wellstar Health System have reached a multi-year agreement that restores network access to Wellstar’s hospitals, facilities and physicians for people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare employer-sponsored, individual and Medicare Advantage plans, effective July 1, 2022. 

We recognize that the care Wellstar provides is not only important but also personal to our members, and we also know the negotiation process may have been difficult for them. Our top priority throughout this process was ensuring the people and employers we’re honored to serve in Georgia have access to quality, more affordable health care, and this new agreement helps accomplish that goal.

We thank our plan participants and customers for their support and patience throughout this process. We are honored to continue supporting the nearly 1.2 million individuals across Georgia who depend on us for access to quality and affordable health care.