Insurers fined for faulty claims processing
Posted July 24, 2008 1:48 p.m. EDT
Updated July 24, 2008 3:14 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — The state Department of Insurance has fined United HealthCare Insurance Co. and United HealthCare of North Carolina Inc. to resolve allegations that the insurers violated state law with the way they processed consumer claims.
The $786,656 fine ends an investigation by the state Department of Insurance into the two companies that began five years ago, officials said.
Consumers and health care providers began complaining to state regulators in 2003 and 2004 about United HealthCare's handling of medical insurance claims, officials said. The state fined the companies as part of a 2004 settlement.
The investigation prompted other states to investigate United HealthCare's operations, and 39 states and the District of Columbia signed an agreement with the insurer this year to resolve similar allegations nationwide.
State regulators signed a new settlement agreement with United HealthCare this week, including the fine, to reflect the multi-state agreement, officials said.
"While the DOI is focusing on the settlement via a fine, from UHC's perspective, this addesses settling past issues and concerns and lays a framework for dealing with claims payment, etc. in the future," United HealthCare said in a statement.