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.

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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