UnitedHealthcare penalized by state for inadequate mental health care coverage

UnitedHealthcare Faces $450,000 Fine for Alleged Mental Health Parity Violations

The Minnesota Department of Commerce has accused UnitedHealthcare of violating mental health parity laws, with evidence suggesting that the company has been stricter in covering claims for mental health and substance abuse care than for other services. In response, the department announced a settlement with UnitedHealthcare on Tuesday, in the form of a consent order.

The consent order requires UnitedHealthcare to make changes to its mental health care coverage, including addressing disparities in reimbursement rates between mental health services and other types of care. Additionally, the company must inform some patients of their appeal rights when coverage is denied. The Department of Commerce will closely monitor UnitedHealthcare’s progress until March 2025 or until all changes have been made, whichever comes later.

In addition to making these changes, UnitedHealthcare will also face a $450,000 fine. The company is required to pay $300,000 upfront, with the remainder waived if it complies with the terms outlined in the consent order. However, despite these penalties, UnitedHealthcare has not yet responded to requests for comment. This penalty is the third and most significant sanction imposed by the state on insurance carriers for violations related to mental health parity laws over the past year. HealthPartners and Medica have also been penalized by the Department of Commerce for similar alleged violations.

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