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UnitedHealth Group used more than $1.3 billion from employer-based plans to settle payment disputes with physicians through a practice known as "cross-plan offsetting," according to a new lawsuit.
Cross-plan offsetting is a billing tactic that aims to offset overpayments made to providers from one of an insurer's health plans by withholding payments to the same provider from a different health plan it manages.
The class-action lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, alleges this practice violates law that requires a health plan's money to be used for benefits only for that specific plan. The lawsuit claims that UnitedHealth used cross-plan offsetting to take money from employee contributions for self-insured plans to resolve overpayments by the insurer's subsidiary under fully insured plans.
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