Effective Feb. 1, East End Pediatrics will once again be a participating provider with Oxford UnitedHealthcare, Dr. Gail Schonfeld of the East Hampton practice said.
East End Pediatrics had been out of the insurer’s network for the past few years. The announcement follows the pediatrician’s lengthy contract negotiations with the insurer.
Dr. Schonfeld said she believes many insurers have left the small-business market in this area because of changes mandated by the Affordable Care Act, which is being phased in through 2014. “It is becoming not profitable anymore,” she said.
As of last spring, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield discontinued many of its small-business product lines, Dr. Schonfeld said, leaving Oxford UnitedHealthcare as the only major insurer in the area to still offer group health insurance to small businesses.
“Many of my patients were forced to switch from Empire to Oxford in the last year. I have to say, there weren’t a lot of choices. I’m pleased that now patients who have wanted to stay with my practice will not have to pay out of pocket. It makes things a lot more affordable to people in the community.”
East End Pediatrics welcomed a new physician, Dr. Antony Perry, on Nov. 1, an addition made all the more necessary by its renewed participation with Oxford UnitedHealthcare.
“It went hand in glove,” Dr. Schonfeld said. “We will now be able to handle the increased volume, if patients choose to come back.”