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UnitedHealthcare and Aurora Health Care announce new long-term agreement

Friday, June 10, 2005

All Aurora physicians and facilities are now accessible through UnitedHealthcare’s health plans

UnitedHealthcare and Aurora Health Care today announced a new 15-year agreement that will expand health care options and enhance the accessibility of care for hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin residents.

The new agreement means that UnitedHealthcare customers now have access to all 13 Aurora hospitals, as well as nearly 800 Aurora physicians practicing in 100 clinics in cities and small towns throughout eastern Wisconsin.  The contract’s effective date is June 1, 2005.
 
 “This is excellent news for Wisconsin consumers,” said Jay Fulkerson, president and chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare in Wisconsin.  “The addition of Aurora to UnitedHealthcare’s broad national network gives our customers access to affordable, quality health care through the most comprehensive network in Wisconsin.”

G. Edwin Howe, president of Aurora, also welcomed the agreement.

“UnitedHealthcare shares our commitment to finding better ways to deliver health care, and we are pleased that our two organizations will be working together toward this goal in the years ahead,” Howe said.

This ground-breaking agreement for UnitedHealthcare ties Aurora’s reimbursement in part to its ability to meet jointly established quality improvement goals.  This novel approach is consistent with UnitedHealthcare’s longstanding commitment to promote evidence-based decision-making and nationally recognized standards of care, and will benefit employers and employees alike by promoting consistent, high-quality care.

“This marks the first time that an insurer has entered into a contract with us that recognizes Aurora’s extensive work in quality improvement,” said Donald J. Nestor, Aurora’s executive vice president and chief financial officer.  “We applaud UnitedHealthcare’s commitment to quality improvement and position as leading innovators in the health insurance industry.”

Eric Christianson, M.D., medical director of UnitedHealthcare in Wisconsin, said:  “UnitedHealthcare strives to promote the use of best practices in medicine through everything we do, and Aurora shares this same commitment. We believe that Aurora’s success in implementing best practices will translate into better health outcomes and reduced costs.”

Fulkerson said: “This agreement not only enhances access to care for our customers, but also provides incentives for continually improving the quality of care.  We have a responsibility to negotiate contracts that provide access to care that is of the highest quality and also affordable.  We’re confident that this contract provides competitive pricing and preserves UnitedHealthcare’s ability to deliver affordable, high quality products to Wisconsin consumers.”

Nestor said:  “UnitedHealthcare has built a reputation as a careful guardian of costs, and we are pleased to be working in partnership with UnitedHealthcare to address the health care cost concerns of employers and consumers.”

About Aurora Health Care
Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve the quality of care.  Aurora offers services at sites in more than 80 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

About UnitedHealthcare
UnitedHealthcare (www.unitedhealthcare.com) provides a full spectrum of consumer-oriented health benefit plans and services. UnitedHealthcare arranges access to quality, affordable care with more than 460,000 physicians and other care providers, and 4,200 hospitals across all 50 states. UnitedHealthcare is one of the operating businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 company dedicated to making health care work better. UnitedHealth Group provides services for approximately 55 million individuals nationwide.

Contacts: 

Greg Thompson
UnitedHealthcare
312-424-6913

Jeff Squire
Aurora Health Care
414-647-3408

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