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WellPoint will fund insurance database

Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2009

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has announced that WellPoint Inc. will pay $10 million to help establish a new independent database to determine the rate it pays doctors and hospitals out of its network. Cuomo said WellPoint agreed to no longer use a controversial database maintained by UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s Ingenix unit to determine the "usual and customary" rate for out-of-network insurance reimbursements. Cuomo has alleged that the Ingenix database skewed downward the "usual and customary" rates through faulty data collection, poor pooling procedures, and lack of audits, thus forcing consumers to pay more out of their own pockets for healthcare.