Morcellators: Even the Insurance Companies don’t like them

Continuing our updates on the defective medical device, the morcellator, the Wall Street Journal has published an article on how UnitedHealthcare, the country’s largest health insurance provider, is requiring doctors to get authorization from them before performing most types of laparoscopic procedures with a power morcellator.

Morcellators are medical devices used in laparoscopic hysterectomies and myomectomies to remove fibroids. However, it is nearly impossible to detect the presence of uterine sarcoma, a dangerous form of cancer, prior to the removal of the fibroids. Due to this fact, the spread of cancer has been linked to the use of power morcellators. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study last year discussing the statistics in the spread of cancer with the use of a morcellator.

What is UnitedHealth Requiring?

UnitedHealthcare posted a bulletin January 2015 requiring doctors to get authorization for certain hysterectomies (including laparoscopic hysterectomies) starting this April. According to the bulletin, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has identified that hysterectomies should be performed vaginally. The bulletin notes that vaginal hysterectomies done on an outpatient basis will not require prior authorization.

According to the WSJ, UnitedHealthcare is basing hysterectomy approval on a new medical policy statement citing the FDA’s warnings. Currently, the only major insurer that requires prior authorization for hysterectomies is Anthem Inc. The hope is that requiring authorization will lead doctors toward vaginal surgery.

Back in September of 2014, Highmark Inc., a plan under Blue Cross Blue Shield, stopped coverage for laparoscopic power morcellation. According to the WSJ, Highmark was the first known insurer to stop coverage of morcellation.

If You’ve Been Hurt

If you, or someone you know, has undergone a myomectomy (removal of fibroids) or hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) and were diagnosed with sarcoma or other uterine cancer after undergoing this surgery, please contact McDivitt Law Firm right away for a free case evaluation.

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