UnitedHealthcare settles class-action underpayment suit for $10M

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York approved a $10 million final settlement for a class-action lawsuit targeting UnitedHealthcare and its tiered reimbursement policy.

The lawsuit, filed in 2017, claims that UnitedHealthcare's policy reduced payments for out-of-network mental healthcare providers — including psychologists, counselors and social workers — by between 25 percent and 35 percent, according to a news release shared with Becker's from Zuckerman Spaeder, the firm representing the class. 

The policy allegedly affected more than 110,000 patients. 

The court approved a $10 million payout to affected members, which covers between 55 percent and 70 percent of the financial impact of the underpayments, according to the news release. 

"For years, United used a tiered reimbursement policy that unfairly reduced benefits when patients obtained psychotherapy from out-of-network behavioral health providers," said Andrew Goldfarb, a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder. "United has not only eliminated this policy, but as a result of our lawsuit and this settlement, it will now pay $10 million to make up for these underpayments."

UnitedHealthcare had not responded to Becker's request for comment at the time of publication.

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