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It’s inaccurate to say Minnesota health plans not audited by state, federal agencies

Given the extent of auditing and public disclosure required of Minnesota health plan finances and operations, I found it very disappointing that veteran legislator Sen. John Marty, in a recent MinnPost commentary, would make the irresponsible claim that $3 billion in payments to health plans are made with no auditing and minimal reporting.

Minnesota statute requires extensive auditing of health plan finances and has internal controls in place to ensure the accuracy and validity of financial transactions. These audit responsibilities are shared jointly by the Minnesota Department of Health, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Commerce.

Plus, for legislators and taxpayers who want more information on health plan spending for medical care and administrative services, the following documents are available online at the Minnesota Dept. of Health’s web site: our 2009 IRS Form 990 and Executive Compensation; 2009 Statement of Revenue, Expenses, and Net Income; and the most recent financial examination by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Also, we are required to file an annual audited financial statement with the Department of Commerce that is available for free downloading on the web site of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Other audits examine operations outside of finances. There are state audits of a health plan’s compliance with contracting standards and federal requirements for service authorization, quality improvement, disease management, consumer grievances and appeals, ensuring providers are properly credentialed to meet care standards, and others.

We also report regularly to federal health agencies. Since we provide health services to seniors on Medicare, we are subject to auditing by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services related to our financial records, medical and administrative costs, cash flow and investment income, claims, medical records, care quality, and much more.

As a Minnesota health plan with more than 25 years of experience in government programs, we take very seriously our responsibility to be prudent and accountable stewards for the public funding we receive to administer the state’s health care programs.

We are proud to provide health care and wellness services to more than 200,000 seniors and low-income members from a wealth of cultures while keeping our administrative costs to only 6.6 percent of revenues.  And we strongly support the state’s role in a robust system of oversight and public transparency for health plan finances. Sen. Marty need not wait for a new administration to open health plan books; he need only point his mouse and click.

Nancy J. Feldman is president and CEO of UCare. 

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by L.A. Krahn on 12/23/2010 - 08:28 am.

    Really, Nancy. This is a very uncreative tactic — the Italian-suit-clad lobbyists of the MN Health Plans have been feeding this argument to inquiring legislative committees for years. The old lid won’t stay put on today’s boiling pot.

    If the Big Plans’ accounting practices were sancrosanct, why would it be necessary to fire Dave Feinwachs from his tenure at the Minnesota Hospital Association for his internal presentation pointing out that it ain’t?

    View his dangerous presentation yourself at Stir that pot.

    And congratulations, Nancy, you’ve helped to make Dave Feinwachs into Minnesota’s own Wendell Potter, exposing industry excesses from the inside.

  2. Submitted by L.A. Krahn on 12/23/2010 - 08:51 am.

    Oops, the video link to Dave Feinwach’s presentation dropped out — ’tis http://www.vimeo.com/17156418

    …or search “PMAP Presentation” on Vimeo’s home page. It’s thirty minutes of dry legal argument, but bulletproof and shocking to those offended by waste of tax dollars.

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 01/03/2011 - 02:56 pm.

    Why is it that when major corporate entities want to put forth false and misleading information, they ALWAYS use a female spokesperson?

    This is now such a standard pattern that, whenever a woman appears in such a role, I’m automatically convinced until I have reason to believe otherwise, that she is lying.

    The feigned offense offered in the first paragraph of this piece was, of course, the icing on the cake.

    As to the “extensive auditing” performed by the Minnesota Department of Health, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Commerce, all of which have been run by EXTREMELY big money, big business – friendly people appointed by King Timmy, I have no doubt whatsoever that those audits were prime examples of Enron-style “Arthur Anderson” auditing.

    That a governor can exert sufficient power over the state departments as to gut their effectiveness, and completely subvert oversight, as was so amply demonstrated by King Timmy, is the reason that remedies need to be codified in state law as favored by senator Marty (which could only be changed by the legislature, rather than simply altered by fiat at the hands of some future “all I care about is big money to fund my political ambitions” governor).

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