A Senate committee harshly criticized top officials at UnitedHealth Group and subsidiary Ingenix over out-of-network physician payments, a contentious issue that has resulted in half a billion dollars in settlements and ongoing lawsuits. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, convened the hearing, saying there are still a lot of questions that have not been answered.
UnitedHealth reached a settlement with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in January and agreed to stop running the Ingenix databases that Cuomo said unfairly charged patients for out-of-network claims and underreimbursed physicians. UnitedHealth also agreed to pay $350 million to settle class-action lawsuits brought by the American Medical Association and others.
Stephen Hemsley, president and CEO of Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealth Group and Andy Slavitt, CEO of Ingenix, said they wanted to move on from the scandal. We are interested in creating a much more constructive relationship with the healthcare industry, Hemsley said. The two men admitted no wrongdoing. We would not have signed an agreement that contained accusations of fraud, Slavitt said.
Rockefeller said he would ask the inspector general to investigate federal employees out-of-network charges.