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UNITED HEALTHCARE CORPORATION INTRODUCES RETIREE DRUG BENEFIT PROGRAM FOR BUSINESSES

 MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- United HealthCare Corporation (NYSE: UNH) -- one of the country's leading health care management companies -- today launched a program that will help employers respond to new accounting guidelines that make it more costly to maintain comprehensive health care benefits for their retired workers.
 The program, a prescription drug benefit management program called Diversified Senior Rx, is an industry first. Diversified Senior Rx was developed by United HealthCare in direct response to rising retiree benefit costs and new accounting guidelines issued by the Washington- based Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). The new guidelines, which became effective Jan. 1, have many of America's largest employers searching for new strategies to maintain affordable, comprehensive health care benefits for their retired workers.
 "Prescription drug costs are among the fastest growing costs in the health care industry, and the elderly are the largest users, averaging 15 prescriptions per year," said William W. McGuire, M.D., president, chairman and chief executive officer of United HealthCare Corporation. "These costs often can account for a third or more of a company's total health care spending on retirees."
 Available to employers nationwide, Diversified Senior Rx can reduce the costs of a company-sponsored retiree prescription drug program by as much as 40 percent through a variety of health care management techniques that also help improve the quality of care delivered to retirees.
 The program delivers medications through a nationwide network of more than 25,000 pharmacies. It is built on a national drug formulary -- a list of prescription medications reviewed and approved for use by a panel of nationally recognized geriatricians, as well as physicians and clinical pharmacists.
 Diversified Senior Rx also encourages the appropriate use of prescription medications through a series of reviews that check for duplicated prescriptions, overusage and dangerous drug interactions when more than one medication is prescribed.
 The search for new and innovative ways to maintain the affordability of retiree health benefits has become critical for employers, particularly as they prepare their income statements and balance sheets for 1993.
 Under new accounting rules adopted by FASB -- an independent organization that sets national accounting standards for American industry -- employers can no longer account for retiree health benefits on a pay-as-they-go basis. Instead, employers must reduce reported earnings by the amount of their liability for unfunded health care bills for present and future retirees.
 This new rule, known as FAS 106, could significantly reduce corporate after-tax profits in 1993 and, as a result, has some of America's largest employers, including General Motors, IBM, McDonnell Douglas and others, searching for ways to reduce the amount they pay for retiree health care benefits. Other companies have elected to eliminate these benefits altogether.
 "In the face of these new accounting requirements, Diversified Senior Rx is a health care management strategy that companies can use to see immediate bottom line results," said McGuire. "It's one more way United HealthCare is developing new and innovative ways to help American industry solve its health care benefits problems."
 Since 1974, United HealthCare Corporation has developed innovative strategies and services to help employers and other purchasers better manage their health care benefits programs. Diversified Senior Rx was developed by clinical pharmacists at United HealthCare's wholly owned subsidiary Diversified Pharmaceutical Services in conjunction with a team of United HealthCare geriatric health care specialists. A pioneer in drug cost containment programs, Diversified manages more than $1 billion in drug purchases annually.
 Diversified currently manages prescription drug programs for more than 100 employers, managed health care plans, insurance companies and Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.
 -0- 2/12/93
 /CONTACT: David Koppe, vice president, treasurer and controller, 612-939-7760; or Susan Busch, manager, public relations/marketing communications, 612-939-7347, both for United HealthCare/


CO: United HealthCare Corporation ST: Minnesota IN: MTC SU: PDT

KH -- MN008 -- 6150 02/12/93 12:25 EST
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Date:Feb 12, 1993
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