UnitedHealthcare pays $600,000 to settle complaint

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[tag]UnitedHealthcare[/tag], a unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc., and two affiliates have been fined $600,000 for failing to properly respond to consumer complaints, no paying certain benefits, and violations of other insurance regulations. The settlement was reached between the company and the Office of the [tag]Commissioner of Insurance[/tag] in November, but announced yesterday.

Included in the violations are allegations that:

  1. UnitedHealthcare did not comply with state regulations on grievances and independent reviews when claims were denied
  2. UnitedHealthcare applied a separate deductible to mental health benefits and did not tell customers when mental health benefits were reduced
  3. UnitedHealthcare failed to respond to requests for information from the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance

As part of the settlement, UnitedHealthcare will put $2.5 million into an escrow account. If there are any significant violations of insurance regulations before the end of 2008, the money will be forfeited. The insurance company has submitted a compliance plan and it is expected that there will be no violations.