UnitedHealth PremiumSM Designation Program

Today's health care system includes wide variation in medical practices that may result in inconsistent clinical outcomes and inefficient care delivery for consumers. Variations in treatment practices continue to exist, in spite of well-established, published evidence-based medical guidelines. UnitedHealthcare has identified this variation in care delivery as a key issue and has created the UnitedHealth Premium designation program to help customers address it.

Recognizing Physicians and Hospitals Committed to Quality Care

The UnitedHealth Premium designation program helps your employees identify physicians and hospitals who consistently practice evidence-based medicine. Armed with this important information, your employees are better equipped to make informed decisions about where to receive care.

As part of our overall network value, the UnitedHealth Premium designation program targets those clinical areas that drive variation, and which provide an opportunity to impact the quality and cost of care. Focusing on specialty physicians, as well as hospitals, this program is designed to drive improvement in care.

Program Benefits

The UnitedHealth Premium designation program was designed with your needs, and the needs of your employees, in mind. For you, this program demonstrates that UnitedHealthcare is focused on quality improvement. For cardiac care at one of the newly designated specialty centers, preliminary data already indicates average savings of $3,500 per cardiac episode* over other network hospitals in the geographic area. UnitedHealthcare will continue to monitor the impact of this program on both quality and cost of care over the long term, with the goal of supporting quality and efficiency improvement within the network.

We also recognize that when your employees are engaged in their health care, they can make the best decisions. We provide employees with important information about network physicians and hospitals so they are empowered to make an informed choice about where to receive care. We make all of this information and simple tools easily accessible online at myuhc.com®, or over the phone from a Customer Care Professional. The result is increased access to leading physicians and hospitals in the network, without a referral.

* Average cost savings for all cardiac episodes combined; data are taken from 2003 claims history and do not assure future savings. An episode of cardiac care is triggered by a cardiac procedure and includes cost of care for six months prior to and three months after the procedure.

A History of Network Quality and Cost Savings

The UnitedHealth Premium designation program was based on the success of the Premium NetworkSM program managed by our affiliate company, United Resource Networks. Since 1989 we've cited significant gains in health care outcomes and affordability. Current data shows that for transplantation, depending on the organ system involved, this network realizes 15 to 30 percent better survival rates and an average 53 percent cost savings relative to national averages. Similarly, the network for congenital heart disease has shown improved survival rates of 14 to 34 percent, depending on the surgical procedure. In addition, the centers designated for treatment of certain rare cancers have demonstrated decreases in hospital length of stay between 6 and 58 percent*.

* Source: U.R.N. internal analysis

UnitedHealth Premium Designation Criteria

The program evaluates physicians or hospitals against unique criteria specific to the health condition. The core criteria is reliance on evidence-based medicine and accepted, published clinical society guidelines. The ultimate goal is to identify those physicians who meet quality-based criteria, as well as efficiency measures, so that your employees can make a more informed decision when choosing a physician or hospital.

Encourage Your Employees to Seek Care from Leaders

The UnitedHealth Premium designation program is a value-added part of your benefit program. The success of this program is dependent on consumer engagement. Encourage your employees to login to myuhc.com to identify a leading physician or cardiac specialty center. Employees can also call Customer Care at the phone number on their ID card for more information.

Use the employee communication tools on this site to promote the UnitedHealth Premium designation program.