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Insurance Giant is Forcing Black Americans to Choose Between their Health and their Means

July 7, 2021


On July 6, the Healthcare Equality Network (HEN), comprised of Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI), The Frederick Douglass Foundation, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. and Dr. Julianne Malveaux sent a letter to President Biden and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Congresswoman Beatty indicating our efforts to ensure that UnitedHealthcare’s and

any industry new policies that would retroactively bill patients for emergency department services do not become a reality.


UnitedHealthcare is the United States’ largest insurance company – they have the responsibility of serving millions of Americans. Their new policy states that they would no longer cover patients’ non-emergency visits to emergency departments and retroactively bill them for services rendered. That means patients are now going to have to play doctor and decide for themselves if seeking care is worth a likely crushing surprise medical bill. 


“This policy will not only break the bank for many patients, but it will scare patients from seeking treatment in emergency situations, which could be fatal.”


Unsurprisingly, this policy will also disproportionally affect America’s most vulnerable populations.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the avoidance of urgent or emergency care was most prevalent among marginalized communities, including Black and Hispanic Americans. This policy will only exacerbate an issue that we are already desperately trying to fight.” 


That is why HEN is advocating for policies that would ensure that our nation’s often overlooked communities are not put more at risk by health policies such as UnitedHealthcare’s. Patients need to be protected from Big Insurance. We stand with the Biden administration and Congress as they work to ensure insurance companies are doing their jobs and are fair to U.S. patients.


To read the letter, please visit:


For more information on the Healthcare Equality Network, please visit:



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