UPDATED: United Healthcare Sues Health One

United Healthcare, one of Colorado’s largest health insurers, and some affiliated companies filed suit Monday against various national for profit health care provider HCA and affiliated companies in Colorado, in federal court, alleging anti-trust and other violations in connection with their contract impass (detailed below).

United Healthcare has requested a temporary restraining order, which U.S. District Court Judge Robert Blackburn has placed on an expedited briefing schedule with a hearing tenatively set for Thursday, September 21 at 1:30 p.m. on this request.  The restraining order seeks to maintain the status quo with respect to a separate HCA related mammogram contract with United Healthcare and to have HCA give United Healthcare’s Nurse Advocate’s full cooperation in contacting United insureds.The heart of the suit is that HCA has acted improperly by using its contract for mammogram services, where it allegedly has a 70% market share and charges 20% more than the rest of the market (100% more for mammograms) to exert an unfair advantage in pricing for all its services. 

United Healthcare also alleges that HCA ceased cooperating with United Healthcare Nurse Advocates (who help United Healthcare insureds navigate the health care system), is actively encouraging major United Healthcare customers to seek other insurers, and is pressuring doctors not to transfer patients to non-HCA facilities.

The suit also includes claims related to improper use of customer lists, and a “your fired/I quit” type misrepresentation claim about HCA’s breakup related PR.

Background on the impass at Colorado Confidential can be found here, here, and here.