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United Healthcare to pay administrative penalty

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — United Healthcare has agreed to pay a $500,000 penalty after the Rhode Island health department said it failed to get approval before entering into an agreement with a prescription drug benefit provider.

The department said Thursday that United will pay the administrative penalty under the terms of a consent agreement signed last week by Health Director Michael Fine.

The department says United entered into an agreement in February with California-based OptumRX before filing the necessary paperwork and getting approval.

A request for comment was left with a United Healthcare spokesman.

Under the terms of the consent agreement, the health department has provisionally approved United’s entering into an agreement with Optum pending a full review. A final decision is due by Oct. 1.