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The US Supreme Court rejected an appeal by

UnitedHealth Group Inc., leaving in place a federal rule designed to recoup billions of dollars in overpayments from insurers that participate in the Medicare Advantage program.

UnitedHealth and its allies argued unsuccessfully that the 2014 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services rule will gut the popular program, forcing insurers to reduce coverage and benefits or raise premiums for many of the 26 million seniors who are enrolled.

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