Lawmakers Worry Insurance Exchange Contract Favors UnitedHealth Group

Two Republicans from the House of Representatives are requesting documents about a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group that was contracted to help provide data services for the federal health insurance exchange, noting the connection may unfairly promote UnitedHealth's insurance business, according to a report from The Hill.

Quality Software Services Inc. was contracted by the government to build a data services hub that will help operate the government's insurance exchange and marketplace. QSSI was recently acquired by UnitedHealth Group subsidiary Optum.

Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) have requested HHS provide information on the contract awarded to QSSI by Nov. 27.

The lawmakers said, "As UnitedHealth Group's insurance plans will likely try to be named as qualified health plans in the health exchanges, including the federal exchange, please describe the processes and procedures that will be in place to guarantee that UnitedHealth Group will not receive preferential treatment by its subsidiary QSSI," according to the letter.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) previously pressed HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for information, specifically whether UnitedHealth Group's purchase of QSSI created a conflict of interest. He provided the secretary a deadline of Oct. 26, which she did not meet, according to a report from The Hill.

A senior executive with Optum said his firm and UnitedHealth Group are entirely separate businesses, according to a separate report from The Hill.

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