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U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero, Northern District of California “There is an excessive emphasis on addressing acute symptoms and stabilizing crises while ignoring the effective treatment of members’ underlying conditions,” wrote U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero. (Photo: Jason Doiy/ALM)

A federal judge in San Francisco has found that an affiliate of UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest health insurer, breached its fiduciary duty to policyholders by following guidelines that emphasized cost-savings and addressing acute problems rather than treating underlying mental health and substance abuse issues.

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