Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Contingencies

v3.7.0.1
Contingencies
6 Months Ended
Jun. 30, 2017
Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]  
Contingencies
Contingencies

Overview

The Company records reserves and accrues costs for certain legal proceedings and regulatory matters to the extent that it determines an unfavorable outcome is probable and the amount of the loss can be reasonably estimated. While such reserves and accrued costs reflect the Company's best estimate of the probable loss for such matters, the recorded amounts may differ materially from the actual amount of any such losses. In some cases, no estimate of the possible loss or range of loss in excess of amounts accrued, if any, can be made because of the inherently unpredictable nature of legal and regulatory proceedings, which may be exacerbated by various factors, including but not limited to, they may involve indeterminate claims for monetary damages or may involve fines, penalties or punitive damages; present novel legal theories or legal uncertainties; involve disputed facts; represent a shift in regulatory policy; involve a large number of parties, claimants or regulatory bodies; are in the early stages of the proceedings; involve a number of separate proceedings and/or a wide range of potential outcomes; or result in a change of business practices.

As of the date of this report, amounts accrued for legal proceedings and regulatory matters were not material. However, it is possible that in a particular quarter or annual period the Company’s financial condition, results of operations, cash flow and/or liquidity could be materially adversely affected by an ultimate unfavorable resolution of or development in legal and/or regulatory proceedings, including as described below. Except for the proceedings discussed below, the Company believes that the ultimate outcome of any of the regulatory and legal proceedings that are currently pending against it should not have a material adverse effect on financial condition, results of operations, cash flow or liquidity.

California

The Company's California subsidiary, Health Net of California, Inc. (Health Net California), has been named as a defendant in a California taxpayer action filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, captioned as Michael D. Myers v. State Board of Equalization, et al., Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BS158655. This action is brought under a California statute that permits an individual taxpayer to sue a governmental agency when the taxpayer believes the agency has failed to enforce governing law. Plaintiff contends that Health Net California, a California licensed Health Care Service Plan (HCSP), is an “insurer” for purposes of taxation despite acknowledging it is not an “insurer” under regulatory law. Under California law, “insurers” must pay a gross premiums tax (GPT), calculated as 2.35% on gross premiums. As a licensed HCSP, Health Net California has paid the California Corporate Franchise Tax (CFT), the tax generally paid by California businesses. Plaintiff contends that Health Net California must pay the GPT rather than the CFT. Plaintiff seeks a writ of mandate directing the California taxing agencies to collect the GPT, and seeks an order requiring Health Net California to pay GPT, interest and penalties for a period dating to eight years prior to the October 2015 filing of the complaint. This lawsuit is being coordinated with similar lawsuits filed against other entities. An initial status conference was held in June 2017 wherein the Court set a schedule for challenges to the pleadings. The Company intends to vigorously defend itself against these claims; however, this matter is subject to many uncertainties, and an adverse outcome in this matter could potentially have a materially adverse impact on our financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

Federal Securities Class Action

In November 2016, a putative federal securities class action was filed against the Company and certain of its executives in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. In March 2017, the court entered an order transferring the matter to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit allege that the Company's accounting and related disclosures for certain liabilities acquired in the acquisition of Health Net violated federal securities laws. The Company denies any wrongdoing and is vigorously defending itself against these claims. Nevertheless, this matter is subject to many uncertainties and the Company cannot predict how long this litigation will last or what the ultimate outcome will be, and an adverse outcome in this matter could potentially have a materially adverse impact on our financial position and results of operations.

Civil Investigative Demand

In December 2016, a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) was issued to Health Net by the United States Department of Justice regarding Health Net’s submission of risk adjustment claims to the CMS under Parts C and D of Medicare. The CID may be related to a federal qui tam lawsuit filed under seal in 2011 naming more than a dozen health insurers including Health Net. The lawsuit was unsealed in February 2017 when the Department of Justice intervened in the case with respect to one of the insurers (not Health Net). The Company is complying with the CID and will vigorously defend any lawsuits. At this point, it is not possible to determine what level of liability, if any, the Company may face as a result of this matter.

Guaranty Fund Assessment

Under state guaranty association laws, certain insurance companies can be assessed for certain obligations to the policyholders and claimants of impaired or insolvent insurance companies that write the same line or similar lines of business. In 2009, the Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner placed long-term care insurer Penn Treaty Network America Insurance Company and its subsidiary (Penn Treaty), neither of which is affiliated with the Company, in rehabilitation and petitioned a state court for approval to liquidate Penn Treaty. In March 2017, the court issued the final liquidation order, and as a result, during the first quarter of 2017, the Company recognized $47 million representing its undiscounted estimated share of the guaranty association assessment as selling, general and administrative expenses.

Miscellaneous Proceedings

Excluding the matters discussed above, the Company is also routinely subjected to legal and regulatory proceedings in the normal course of business. These matters can include, without limitation:

periodic compliance and other reviews and investigations by various federal and state regulatory agencies with respect to requirements applicable to the Company's business, including, without limitation, those related to payment of out-of-network claims, submissions to CMS for risk adjustment payments or the False Claims Act, pre-authorization penalties, timely review of grievances and appeals, timely and accurate payment of claims, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996;

litigation arising out of general business activities, such as tax matters, disputes related to health care benefits coverage or reimbursement, putative securities class actions and medical malpractice, privacy, real estate, intellectual property and employment-related claims;

disputes regarding reinsurance arrangements, claims arising out of the acquisition or divestiture of various assets, class actions and claims relating to the performance of contractual and non-contractual obligations to providers, members, employer groups and others, including, but not limited to, the alleged failure to properly pay claims and challenges to the manner in which the Company processes claims, and claims alleging that the Company has engaged in unfair business practices.

Among other things, these matters may result in awards of damages, fines or penalties, which could be substantial, and/or could require changes to the Company’s business. The Company intends to vigorously defend itself against the miscellaneous legal and regulatory proceedings to which it is currently a party; however, these proceedings are subject to many uncertainties. In some of the cases pending against the Company, substantial non-economic or punitive damages are being sought.