February 8, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 39

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February 06, 2023

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Another Setback for UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company in Nevada Trial Just Days after $60 Million Punitive Verdict

On January 12, 2022, the closely watched Nevada lawsuit filed by emergency medicine providers against one of the largest health insurance companies in the world—UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company—was again the focus of hundreds of thousands of providers throughout the country.

The recent hearing followed a seven-week trial during which the jury found that United and its affiliates deliberately underpaid frontline healthcare workers for emergency medical services. The jury awarded $60 million in punitive damages and $2.65 million in compensatory damages to three Nevada-based emergency physician group affiliates of TeamHealth, a physician services and staffing company.

The January 12, 2022 hearing focused on a series of motions submitted by United to withhold allegedly proprietary information introduced during the trial from the public. In an effort to shield this information, United argued that disclosure of its strategic business plans, financial data, rate structures, and pricing—including, but not limited to, the hotly-contested reimbursement amounts and allowed amounts for these particular emergency physician medical claims—would infringe upon United’s privacy interests. United further claimed that the disclosure would put it at a competitive disadvantage during any future contract negotiations with providers.

The Court denied United’s motion to seal with respect to trial evidence concerning reimbursement rates, allowed amounts, and the medical claims at issue in the litigation (with the exception of protected health information). In doing so, Judge Nancy Allf noted that “I have no dog in the fight, but the jury believed the Plaintiffs based upon that evidence. I just can’t keep that away from the public.” Notwithstanding this decision, the Court did find that a few of United’s business plan documents should be sealed.

The jury verdict and the Court’s recent ruling about United’s business records are a win for the providers who have been seeking more transparency in health insurance company pricing of its claims to providers. The issues decided in this case are directly relevant and applicable to similar lawsuits that have spawned across the country. We also are in the first month of the new federal No Surprises Act that became effective January 1, 2022. This new federal program also is subject to challenges in various courts (as discussed here). It is important to closely monitor these issues with respect to provider-payor contracting and reimbursement disputes.

©2023 Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 31
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About this Author

Anthony Argiropoulos, antitrust attorney, Epstein Becker
Member of the Firm

ANTHONY ARGIROPOULOS is a Member of the Firm in the Litigation and Health Care and Life Sciences practices and Co-Chair of the firm's National Litigation Steering Committee. He represents health care clients, publicly held companies, and other large businesses in high-stakes litigation and dispute avoidance and resolution. He has represented clients in federal and state court matters throughout the United States and his deep experience includes numerous jury trials, bench trials, injunction proceedings, arbitrations, and mediations.

609-455-1541
Scheherazade A. Wasty, Epstein Becker, Antitrust lawyer
Member of the Firm

SCHEHERAZADE A. WASTY is an Associate in the Litigation and Health Care and Life Sciences practices, in the Newark and Princeton offices of Epstein Becker Green.

Ms. Wasty:

  • Advises clients on a variety of matters related to federal and state antitrust issues and claims
  • Represents clients in complex commercial litigation matters encompassing business torts, breaches of contract, breaches of fiduciary duty, collections, and unfair trade and competition claims
973-639-8278
Law Clerk - Admission Pending

Cynthia Park* advises on employee benefits and assists in defending clients in labor and employment-related litigation, such as discrimination, harassment, and breach of contract disputes. She also audits employers’ policies, procedures, and handbooks to ensure compliance with applicable laws and best practices.

While earning her J.D. at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Cynthia served as a legal extern in the Securities Fraud and Narcotics Units of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. She also was a legal extern in...

212-351-3714
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