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UnitedHealthcare Policyholders Condemn Care Denials Hurting Tens of Millions of People During Demonstration at Insurance Giant’s Headquarters; Several Risk Arrest

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For Immediate Release: April 16, 2024

Contact: Ricardo Ramírez, rramirez@fwdshift.com

EDEN PRARIE, MN. – Today, more than 100 people who have been denied care, health care workers, and community members held a large protest at the UnitedHealth Group headquarters, decrying an epidemic of claim and prior-authorization denials hurting tens of millions of people across the country while the health care conglomerate took $22.4 billion in profits in 2023 alone. Protestors delivered a letter outlining the ways UnitedHealth profiteers by denying care and demanding change. Several participants risked arrest while participating in nonviolent civil disobedience.  

“UnitedHealth’s refusal to meet their responsibility and decision to instead put people in danger in the name of corporate greed is disgraceful,” said Aija Nemer-Aanerud, Health Care for All campaign director at People’s Action Institute. “UnitedHealth doesn’t care. UnitedHealth denies care. While millions of Americans suffer and have their health put at risk by having their prior-authorizations and claims denied, UHG’s greedy executives are filling their and their shareholders’ bank accounts with billions of dollars. UnitedHealth is inflicting widespread pain and suffering on hundreds of millions of people who are not receiving the care they so desperately need.”

During the direct action to hold UnitedHealthcare accountable, patients who have been denied care, forgone treatment, or who have been stuck with costly medical bills delivered impactful, personal testimony, detailing their woes with the health insurance industry and ensuing physical, emotional, and financial hardship from having their prior-authorization requests or claims denied or not being able to access in-network care. 

Today’s action coincided with the release of UnitedHealth Group’s Q1 2024 earnings report–posting a whopping $7.9 billion profit in Q1. Listed as the 5th-largest publicly traded company (by revenue) in the United States and the largest in the state of Minnesota, UnitedHealth Group has come under scrutiny over millions of care denials, leaving millions unable to pay for the care they need. The protest also ran concurrently with the ongoing data hack payments scandal that has left UHG collecting premiums and not paying health care providers. 

Describing what brought her to the action, Cate Readling with The People’s Lobby said, “Four years ago, my husband was relegated to the sofa in our house because he was in too much pain to get up and down the stairs to even take a shower. And that was because our health insurance company was denying the medication that his rheumatologist had prescribed for him…that he and his doctor knew that he needed.” 

In acts of solidarity with the hundreds of millions of people who are denied health care by their private insurers every year, causing them to stay sick or injured longer, go into bankruptcy, or even die prematurely, participants risked arrest as they voiced their demands for UnitedHealth to put people over profit. 

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About People’s Action Institute

Over five decades, People’s Action Institute and our affiliates have fought for reforms that recognize poor and working people’s dignity and make material and political improvements to millions of lives. Our victories include the Community Reinvestment Act, Superfund, the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act and the MAT Act.

We engage in issue campaigns, public education and training to advance a long-term agenda for racial, economic and gender justice. Our focus now is on deepening community organizing so we can build lasting power across the country. 

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