January 16, 2009

UnitedHealth agrees to $350M settlement

UnitedHealth Group Inc., the No. 2 U.S. insurer, agreed to pay the largest settlement ever by a health insurance company for allegedly defrauding customers.

UnitedHealth agreed to pay $350 million in a case that centers around Ingenix, the country's largest billing information provider, the New York Daily News reported Friday.

Ingenix is supposed to provide insurers with usual and customary rates for medical treatments, but instead provided them with figures that allowed companies make smaller payments to customers, the newspaper said.

United also agreed to spend $50 million and Aetna, the third largest insurer, has agreed to provide $20 million to a nonprofit group that will set up a new billing data base.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo called the billing discrepancy blatant fraud, the report said.