UnitedHealth Group, Minneapolis, has been sued on behalf of 12,000 North Carolina physicians and physician assistants for allegedly using unfair and deceptive business practices to delay and deny medical claims. The North Carolina Medical Society, Raleigh, said it filed the lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court after the nation's largest insurer failed to respond to repeated complaints about systematic nonpayment of claims dating back up to three years; coding errors; denial of coverage for services deemed medically necessary; inadequate staffing; and bad faith in contract negotiations. The group is not seeking financial damages but has asked the court to require UnitedHealth to change several of its business practices. UnitedHealth denies the charges and says it has worked to make things easier for doctors. The action is similar to a federal class-action lawsuit now pending against UnitedHealth and several other leading health insurers. The North Carolina Medical Society is not part of the larger federal suit, which was filed on behalf of 18 state medical societies and some 900,000 physicians. -- by Laura B. Benko
N.C. docs accuse UnitedHealth of unfair practices
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