According to MSNBC, United HealthCare just paid $50 million to settle New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s claims that United HealthCare manipulated its own proprietary pricing database to set an unreasonably low “fair market value” for medical care. By doing so, it is alleged that UHC forced its insureds to pay more out of pocket costs when using “out of network” providers – to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.
No criminal actions have been filed, but class action lawsuits are reportedly already in the works.
Other insurers are in the sights of several state Attorneys General.
Also some interesting discussion going on at Newsvine.com.
The question I have is … with a company that has revenues of $45 billion, is a $50 million settlement enough to dissuade similar actions in the future?
That’s like a person who makes $100,000 per year agreeing to pay a fine of $100 – not exactly a big hit in the pocketbook.
Instead, why not disgorge all of UHC’s revenues for a couple of years? How about a fine of $50 billion instead of $50 million?
I can’t think of a better example of a corporate “never event” – can you?
If providers shouldn’t be paid for things that should “never” occur, neither should the insurers.