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UnitedHealth expands in Iowa, intervenes in Nebraska

Minnesota-based insurance giant United HealthCare has entered into a deal with a regional medical group that allows it to expand into every county in Iowa, reported the Des Moines Register. It also received permission to intervene in a lawsuit alleging it improperly influenced a government contract in Nebraska, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.

The agreement with Fort Dodge-based Trimark Physicians Group gives United reach into 13 additional counties in the mostly rural northwest section of the state, the Register noted. Trimark has a network of 74 physicians and other providers.

Meanwhile, the Nebraska litigation centers on a decision earlier this year to award UnitedHealth a contract to provide benefits to state government employees, ending 27 years of service by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska on July 1, according to the Journal-Star. Blue Cross sued, alleging that Nebraska Republican Parry Chairman Mark Fahleson improperly lobbied on UnitedHealth's behalf while bidding was still underway.

Attorneys for Blue Cross unsuccessfully argued that the state does not need the help from UnitedHealth.

"If UnitedHealthcare can intervene and assist the state in (defending) this contract, then so should 30,000 state employees and their dependents and communities across the state," Blue Cross attorney Kermit Brashear argued in Lancaster (County) District Court, according to the newspaper. "The king needs no help in defending the sovereignty of the state of Nebraska."

For more:
- read the Des Moines Register article
- read the Journal Star article

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