New AMA Web Site Guides Docs Filing Claims in $350M UnitedHealth Settlement
The American Medical Association has launched a Web site to help physicians recover a share of the $350 million obtained in a settlement with UnitedHealth Group stemming from the insurer's alleged artificially low payments for out-of-network services.
"The AMA is offering its support to physicians who are now receiving mailings containing details and claim forms regarding the historic UnitedHealth settlement," said AMA President J. James Rohack, MD, in a media release. "The new AMA guide provides physicians with step-by-step assistance in determining eligibility, assembling documentation and filing a claim under the terms of the settlement."
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced the settlement with UnitedHealth Group in January, 2009 after a year-long investigation into what Cuomo called "a scheme to defraud consumers" by underpaying patients by hundreds of millions of dollars over the last decade.
The investigation was initially sparked by a 2000 lawsuit from the AMA, which was concerned that the underpayments were driving a wedge between patients and doctors.
"The AMA's persistent efforts have earned significant results for physicians that extend far beyond the recovery of damages," Rohack said. "Every physician and patient will benefit from the stand the AMA took against UnitedHealth."
The UnitedHealth settlement is governed by a series of court-imposed deadlines that physicians must follow. The current settlement deadlines include the following key dates:
- July 27 – Deadline for filing objections to the settlement or for opting out of the settlement.
- Sept. 13 – Date for the final settlement hearing to consider any filed objections.
- Oct. 5 – Deadline for filing a claim to share in the settlement fund.