Middlesex Hospital, UnitedHealthcare reach deal

Middlesex Hospital and UnitedHealthcare have reached an agreement on a new contract, avoiding the possibility that the Middletown hospital would leave the insurer’s network April 1. The hospital announced the agreement Friday evening.

Before reaching a deal, UnitedHealthcare notified members about the possibility of severing ties with the hospital, although a company spokesman said the notices were sent to comply with a legal requirement, not to indicate pessimism about contract talks. Representatives from both sides had stressed during the process that they were working toward an agreement, a contrast to some more heated disputes between hospitals and insurers in the state in recent years.

When a hospital leaves an insurer’s network, members typically must pay higher out-of-network rates to get non-emergency care there.