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Health Insurer Agrees to Reform Rates

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

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.

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