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UnitedHealth Agrees To Settle Federal & New York Charges Over Mental Health/Substance Abuse Coverage

By John F. Heerdink, Jr.

Reportedly, UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH) has agreed to settle federal and New York state charges that it illegally denied coverage to thousands of patients suffering from mental health problems and substance abuse. The U.S. Department of Labor said that UnitedHealth will pay about $15.7 million, including $13.6 million in restitution and a $2.1 million fine, to reach a settlement with that agency and New York Attorney General Letitia James.

UnitedHealth was charged with violating federal and state laws by imposing more stringent and restrictive limits on treatment and coverage for mental health and substance abuse in comparison to physical health conditions. The largest U.S. health insurer agreed to stop using algorithms, including in a program called ALERT, that required multiple layers of assessment before continuing mental health treatment, usually resulting in coverage being cut off.

UnitedHealth agreed to settle and ensured to no longer use the challenged practices, including ALERT. It also committed to providing care, including “behavioral support,” and reimbursement to policyholders as per the federal and state rules.

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Vista Partners LLC (”Vista”) is a California Registered Investment Advisor based in San Francisco. Vista delivers timely and relevant insights via the website: www.vistapglobal.com with daily stories, weekly market updates, monthly macroeconomic newsletters, podcasts, & Vista’s proprietary equity and market research to help you stay informed and stay competitive. Vista’s mission is to invest partner capital while arming investors with a comprehensive global financial perspective across all market sectors. Vista also seeks to provide select issuers with actionable advice regarding fundamental development, corporate governance, and capital market directives.

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(Read Original Story: UnitedHealth settles charges it denied mental health, substance abuse coverage in Reuters)


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