“Citizen’s arrest warrant” issued to UnitedHealth Group over business relationship with Medica in Minnesota

Health care advocates disrupted a morning meeting today to present UnitedHealth Group Vice President of Social Responsibility Kate Rubin with a “warrant for citizen’s arrest,” raising questions about UnitedHealth Group’s cash reserves and their business relationship with Medica in Minnesota.

Jim Bush, a member of TakeAction Minnesota, explained to Ms. Rubin that the group is “deeply troubled by UnitedHealth Group’s dealings in Minnesota, a state where for-profit health maintenance organizations are prohibited from operating by law.” Ms. Rubin refused to answer the charges directly before the group was forcefully escorted out of the room, but later told the meeting’s attendees that there is “not a stone wall between Medica and UnitedHealth Group” when it comes to their business relationship.

“Medica is one of a few big HMOs that get 3 billion of our dollars annually to run our state’s public health insurance programs,” said Kent Wilcox, who works at Bethesda Hospital in Saint Paul and is Vice President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. “They’re sending a lot of that money to UnitedHealth Group, and I think we need to find out why. They shouldn’t be profiting off of our public health care dollars.”

The “warrant” charges Ms. Rubin, as well as UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen Hemsley and Medica CEO David Tilford, with the illegal operation of a for-profit Health Maintenance Organization in Minnesota, citing UnitedHealth Group’s $73 Million contract with Medica for administrative services in Minnesota and the two companies’ shared provider network as reflected on Medica health insurance cards. In a story last fall detailing their partnership for Medica’s consumer-directed health plans, the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Business Journal noted that “Medica is already linked in a number of business relationships with UnitedHealth.”

Today’s action follows months of increased scrutiny of Minnesota’s large health maintenance organizations and their administration of the state’s public health insurance programs.

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