Manchester Memorial and Rockville General hospitals are once again part of the network of UnitedHealthcare and Oxford Health Plans after reaching a two-year contract agreement.

The hospitals’ parent company, Eastern Connecticut Health Network, severed ties with UnitedHealthcare — which includes Oxford — in October after the previous contract expired without a new agreement. Since then, people with those insurance plans who used the hospitals were subject to higher costs because the facilities were considered out-of-network.

The new agreement takes effect immediately, the companies announced Thursday.

Public contract disputes between insurers and hospitals have become more frequent in recent years, although most have been resolved without the hospitals leaving the insurers’ networks.

Arielle Levin Becker covered health care for The Connecticut Mirror. She previously worked for The Hartford Courant, most recently as its health reporter, and has also covered small towns, courts and education in Connecticut and New Jersey. She was a finalist in 2009 for the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists, a recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and the third-place winner in 2013 for an in-depth piece on caregivers from the National Association of Health Journalists. She is a 2004 graduate of Yale University.

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