New York AG expands health plan investigation

A few weeks ago, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo made national news when he filed suit against UnitedHealth Group, arguing that the plan is committing consumer fraud in how it sets rates for paying out-of-network physicians. Specifically, he argued that UnitedHealth Group's Ingenix subsidiary, whose services are used by many other insurers, set artificially low rates that unfairly saddled consumers with excess charges. At the time, he promised that he'd also be investigating several other health insurers operating in the state on similar charges.

Now, Cuomo is following through, issuing subpoenas to a long list of additional health plans, including Aetna, Cigna, WellPoint, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, Excellus and the combined Group Health/HIP Health Plan. (To date, no subpoena for Ingenix has been issued, though Cuomo is in talks with the firm.) Not only does Cuomo want the plans' CEOs to testify as to whether they knew Ingenix's fee structure was artificially low, he's also asking for all e-mail correspondence involving the CEOs, as well as their COOs, CFOs, presidents and employees who supervise claims.

To learn more about Cuomo's case:
- read this Associated Press piece

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