KINGSPORT, Tenn. -

We have new facts in the contract negotiations between Wellmont Health System and UnitedHealthcare.

Patients with that insurance may no longer be covered at in-network rates starting June 1st, according to a letter from United.

Sarah Bearce with United says the insurer sent a letter to Wellmont saying Wellmont’s letters to its United patients encouraging them to change insurance companies are based on “false, misleading, and defamatory information.” United says it’s not at fault for not coming to an agreement with Wellmont because United ordered reasonable reimbursement rates and extra payments if Wellmont offers certain quality and efficiency benchmarks.

Wellmont sent their response to us around 10 pm Wednesday night after we sent them United’s letter.

Wellmont’s Jim Wozniak responded with this state, “Wellmont has fulfilled an important duty in communicating with its patients who have UnitedHealthcare insurance about the status of negotiations on a new contract.”

Wellmont also says it is unfortunate UnitedHealthcare has chosen to send this letter to media before it had a chance to reach their mailbox.