The Ohio Department of Insurance has imposed a $150,000 fine and $100,000 in administrative costs on a health carrier in response to concerns about provider negotiations notices.
The department imposed the costs on United HealthCare of Ohio Inc., a unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc., Minnetonka, Minn., in response to letters United HealthCare sent to 90,000 plan members while the company was involved in heated negotiations with a group of doctors and hospitals in the state.
United HealthCare renewed the providers’ network contract June 9.
Earlier, in May, the company warned the recipients of the 90,000 letters that they would have to choose new providers by June 10 to receive the highest level of benefits, according to Ohio department officials.
The May letters “were confusing to the recipients, caused unnecessary stress and disruption to the subscribers, members and providers involved, and were misleading,” department officials write in an introduction to a consent order agreed to by United HealthCare of Ohio and United HealthCare affiliates.