• UnitedHealth Restricts Coverage for Hysterectomies Involving Power Morcellator
  • April 22, 2015 | Author: Kyla Gail Cole
  • Law Firm: Waters & Kraus, LLP - Dallas Office
  • UnitedHealth Group Inc. is putting more restrictive coverage rules into place for hysterectomies performed with a power morcellator. The nation’s largest health insurer will reportedly require health care providers to provide advance notification and obtain advance approval for abdominal hysterectomies and hysterectomies involving “keyhole” laparoscopic procedures.

    Insurance Company’s Decision to Require Prior Approval for Laparoscopic Hysterectomies Based on Recommendation from American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

    UnitedHealth explains that it is making the change because of recommendations by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). In 2009, the ACOG released a statement that vaginal hysterectomies lead to better outcomes and fewer complications.

    Around 600,000 American women undergo hysterectomies every year. In the procedure, the uterus is removed either through the vagina or the abdomen. The standard abdominal procedure requires a larger incision which in turn leads to a longer recovery time. Some surgeons use a laparoscopic procedure that is less invasive and involves just a few incisions.

    But in November 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning concerning the power morcellator medical device used to slice up the uterus and remove it in pieces through the small incisions in the abdomen. According to the FDA, the power morcellator should be avoided in the “vast majority” of procedures because of the risk that it can cause the spread of cancers that are undetected at the time of the hysterectomy.