Compare and Contrast

From the Business Journal of Milwaukee the other day:

Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealth, parent company of the Wauwatosa insurer UnitedHealthcare of Wisconsin, earned $1.2 billion, or 87 cents per share, on revenue of $18.9 billion for the quarter ended June 30, according to a company release. That’s better than the $981 million, or 70 cents per share, it earned on revenue of $17.9 billion a year ago, and more than the 81-cent-per-share consensus forecast by Wall Street analysts, according to Thomson Financial Network.

There is a little more in the complete article.

Meanwhile, United continues to play coding games at the expense of physicians and their patients. The latest is the bundling of the 99173 (Visual Acuity Screening) as of 6/23/2007. To quote:

UnitedHealthcare considers vision screening using an eye chart to be integral to a preventive medicine examination in the same way that measurement of height, weight and blood pressure are integral to a preventive medicine examination. Therefore, vision screening using an eye chart is not reimbursed separately with a preventive medicine examination.

Given this logic, I don’t understand why they pay for anything but your single E+M code. The kicker is that they also deny the 99173 when you perform just about any other service as well. Like a 99213 or 99214…how “preventive.” I’m sure that they couldn’t find the $2 they pay for the code somewhere in their $1.2B this quarter to ensure their kids get good eye tests.

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