Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Garland sued UnitedHealth Group over Medicaid fraud. In a lawsuit filed earlier this week, Garland alleged the insurance company overinflated drug charges, costing Louisiana taxpayers billions of dollars.
First reported by Bloomberg, the lawsuit was filed on April 13 and claims that OptumRx, UnitedHealth Group’s pharmacy benefits manager (PBM), used secret pricing and took advantage of the complexity of the supply chain to cause Louisiana’s Medicaid program “to needlessly pay billions of dollars more per year for prescription drug benefits.”
The lawsuit is the latest in claims levied at PBMs over their role in the pricing of drugs. In this case, UnitedHealth was tapped by Louisiana officials to administer Medicaid, Bloomberg said. According to the report, the contract between the state and UnitedHealth required it to spend a minimum share of its premiums on medical care, a practice known as the medical-loss ratio (MLR). In the lawsuit, the Louisiana attorney general claimed that OptumRx, UnitedHealth’s pharmacy benefit manager, was incentivized to inflate its drug costs in order to help UnitedHealth meet its spending requirements.