UCare to pay $100M to settle legal dispute with the University of Minnesota

Medical Cente is seen
The University of Minnesota Medical Center is captured in Minneapolis on Friday, July 14, 2023.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News file

The health plan UCare will pay $100 million to the University of Minnesota to settle a legal dispute over governance of the insurer.

The agreement was announced Friday by UCare and the U of M.

UCare was created by the university’s Department of Family Health in 1984, and the U has always had a majority on the UCare board of directors. UCare became an independent health plan in 1999.

The university sued in November after UCare attempted to amend its bylaws to eliminate the U’s majority on the insurer’s board of directors.

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Under terms of the settlement announced Friday, UCare will control a majority of board positions to address its interest in expanding services, and the insurer will make four $25 million payments to the U of M over three years.

“UCare’s three-year community investment propels the University of Minnesota Medical School’s mission to increase access to high-quality health care and improve wellness in underserved communities throughout urban and rural Minnesota,” said Hilary Marden-Resnik, UCare president and CEO.

The funding will be used to improve health equity and access, including expansion of services at Broadway Family Medicine Clinic in north Minneapolis and Community-University Health Center in south Minneapolis.  

The U will also address rural health needs through telehealth training, community education and developing new clinics in underserved areas.

Training and services will be expanded to improve access to mental health care, and new clinics will be developed to address the needs of an aging population.

“UCare’s renewed support of the University’s community clinics and expanded health and wellness initiatives across the state have the potential to change the lives of underserved Minnesotans, particularly those who face barriers to care,” said Dr. Jakub Tolar, dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School.

UCare has more than 600,000 members in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. It said the settlement will allow it to “enhance” its board of directors “with more consumer representation, diversity, and business expertise to better serve its members and mission.”