November 30, 2017

Cortez Masto Urges UnitedHealth Group, Aetna to Help Las Vegas Attack Victims

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) wrote a letter to David S. Wichmann, CEO of UnitedHealth Group, and Mark T. Bertolini, CEO of Aetna Inc., urging them and their companies to do whatever they can to help the victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting with any potential out-of-network charges, co-payments, and deductibles.

Many of the victims of the mass shooting were from outside the state of Nevada. This could potentially expose them to out-of-network costs. Although the Public Health Service Act prohibits paying more for out-of-network emergency care, insurers often dispute whether a particular injury constitutes an emergency. Furthermore, deductibles and co-payments are always an issue for patients. This letter asks insurers to make every accommodation to assist victims with these issues.

“Given that Las Vegas is a top tourist destination visited by nearly 43 million visitors each year, many of the festival’s attendees traveled from out-of-state to be at the event,” wrote Senator Cortez Masto. “As such, I fear that victims of this tragedy currently seeking badly-needed health care in the community could be hit with costly, out-of-network charges.  It is my hope that insurance companies, including Aetna, will fully comply with the spirit of the Public Health Service Act and do whatever they can to support recovering families and waive any charges that may typically apply.”

“Grieving families and those working towards recovery need your help to ensure that they can focus on recovering, instead of their pocketbooks,” concluded the Senator. “I appreciate your attention to these critical matters and your support of the Las Vegas community and visitors alike.”

The letters to Mr. Wichmann and Mr. Bertolini can be found here and here, respectively.