Los Angeles Times
September 7, 2010
California regulators seek up to $9.9 billion in fines from PacifiCare
By Duke Helfand
California regulators are seeking fines of up to $9.9 billion from health insurer PacifiCare over allegations that it repeatedly mismanaged medical claims, lost thousands of patient documents, failed to pay doctors what they were owed and ignored calls to fix the problems.
In court filings and other documents, the California Department of Insurance says PacifiCare violated state law nearly 1 million times from 2006 to 2008 after it was purchased by UnitedHealth Group Inc., the nation's largest health insurance company by revenue.
"This is about intentional disregard for the interests of doctors, hospitals and patients in California, and the pursuit of cutting costs at any means possible," said Adam Cole, the insurance department's general counsel. "It's a story of intense corporate greed."
Comment: The largest health insurer in the nation (in terms of revenue), UnitedHealth Group, through UnitedHealthcare's subsidiary - PacifiCare, violated California state insurance laws nearly a million times! This is the industry that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was designed to protect instead of replacing, even though that meant that not everyone would be insured and many more would be underinsured. This was a trade-off that resulted in a loss on both ends.
This is more than the gross incompetence of an insurer that has failed to provide the excessive administrative services for which we are being gouged involuntarily. As the insurance department's general counsel said, "It's a story of intense corporate greed."
It's time to throw these incompetent thieves out, fix Medicare, and then provide it for everyone.