Health Insurer Agrees to Reform Rates

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Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has signed an agreement with one of the nation’s largest health insurers that he says will reform how they charge consumers. WNYC’s Fred Mogul reports.

REPORTER: Cuomo says United Health has over-charged Americans hundreds of millions of dollars by improperly setting reimbursement rates, forcing patients to pay more out-of-pocket, when they go out-of-network. United Health admitted no wrong-doing. But the company agreed to dismantle its widely-used database, which is to health insurance reimbursement rates what the Blue Book is to used car prices.

Cuomo says a new database, produced by an independent non-profit, would set rates more accurately and reduce consumers’ out-of-pocket charges. United Health has agreed to initially fund this database.

Cuomo says he is still pursuing restitution from the company for over-charging, but he will let private class action lawsuits proceed first.

For WNYC, I’m Fred Mogul.