UnitedHealth plans stock-option changes

MINNETONKA, Minn. — UnitedHealth Group Inc. announced today that it would take "significantly greater" charges to resolve the accounting for its stock options timing than the $286 million it had previously expected.

UnitedHealth, the nation’s second-largest health insurer, also said every financial statement it has made since 1994 should not be relied upon. It said problems with the way it handled stock options existed as late as the end of 2005.

UnitedHealth said it does not yet know the size of the cash and noncash charges it will have to take to resolve the options problem. It is also delaying the filing of its third-quarter financial results with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It said it would work with the SEC before finishing the restatement "and is working as quickly as possible to return to current filing status."

The company said chief financial officer Patrick Erlandson resigned that post "and, as previously planned, will be assuming operational duties" at the company. UnitedHealth executive G. Mike Mikan was named the new CFO.

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