N.Y. psychiatrists group sues UnitedHealth

A group representing psychiatrists in New York state is suing Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group for violating laws requiring parity in mental health coverage.

The complaint filed in New York federal court accuses the giant health insurer of limiting, delaying and denying mental health treatment. The New York State Psychiatric Association alleges UnitedHealth systematically refused to cover mental health services where the provider was not part of UnitedHealth's network.

The suit says the insurer routinely blamed a failure to respond to United's requests for additional information, but the psychiatric association contends the health insurer never made those requests.

The federal parity law championed by U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone requires group health plans with mental health coverage to provide benefits equal to those for other chronic health conditions like diabetes, or asthma.

UnitedHealth says it is reviewing the suit and that the company is committed to helping people with mental health issues reach a long-term recovery.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.