UnitedHealth fined $1M for antitrust violation

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is paying a $1 million fine for allegedly engaging in anticompetitive behavior that was prohibited under an agreement with the Nevada attorney general's office.

In 2008, the Nevada attorney general's office allowed UnitedHealth to acquire local competitor Sierra Health Services--with strict conditions, including that UnitedHealth could not acquire another local company, Fiserv, according to Fox5 News. Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said UnitedHealth's purchase of both companies would stymie competition, the Wall Street Journal reports.

When UnitedHealth acquired all but one of Fiserv Nevada's active customers through a series of assignments, it "failed to deliver on its promises to us regarding Fiserv Nevada," Masto said, adding that UnitedHealth’s actions demonstrate a violation. As a result of UnitedHealth's efforts, Fiserv Nevada surrendered its license in the state, according to Fox5.

UnitedHealth agreed to pay the fine; however, it denied any wrongdoing, the WSJ notes. "While we disagree with the allegations because UnitedHealthcare did not acquire an interest in, or engage in a joint venture with Fiserv Nevada, we felt it was important to reach a mutual agreement on this issue," the company said.

To learn more:
- read the Nevada AG, UnitedHealth settlement
- see the Wall Street Journal article
- check out the Fox5 News piece