Drug Testing Policy

Alcohol and Drugs in the Workplace

UnitedHealth Group is committed to providing a safe and drug-free work environment. This commitment relies on you performing your professional responsibilities free of illegal drugs or alcohol. Details of our drug-free workplace program are provided below.​


Applies To 

This policy applies to all employees, contractors and applicants. 


Policy Statement 

When reporting for work, while on the job, on company premises (see Terms below) or customer premises or surrounding areas, or in any company vehicle (see Terms below), the following are prohibited:

  • The unlawful use, possession, transportation, manufacturing, dispensing, sale or other distribution of illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or drug paraphernalia;
  • The unauthorized use, possession, transportation, manufacturing, sale or other distribution of alcohol; 
  • Being under the influence (see Terms below) of alcohol or illegal drugs or having a detectable amount of an illegal drug in the blood or urine.

In addition, being under the influence of alcohol or drugs at company-sponsored events or office social functions is a violation of UnitedHealth Group policy. As an employee or contractor, you are expected to act responsibly and hold yourself accountable for all aspects of your conduct and behavior the same as you do while performing regular work duties.

UnitedHealth Group will implement this policy in a manner that complies with federal, state, and local law.


Prescription And Over-The-Counter Medication 

UnitedHealth Group does not prohibit employees from the lawful possession and use of over-the-counter and prescribed medications. Employees have the responsibility to consult with their doctors or other licensed medical practitioners about the potential effects of over-the-counter and prescribed medications on their ability to perform their specific job duties in a safe manner, and are required to promptly disclose any work restrictions to an Employee Relations specialist by contacting Employee Center Help at 1-800-561-0861. Employees need not, however, disclose underlying medical conditions, impairments or disabilities to Employee Center unless specifically directed to do so by their doctors or other licensed medical practitioners. 



UnitedHealth Group will conduct the following tests:

  • Pre-employment: All applicants who have received a conditional offer of employment must pass a drug test as a condition of working for UnitedHealth Group. Pre-employment screenings will ordinarily be initiated at the time an offer is accepted. In no event will pre-employment screenings be conducted more than 60-days prior to an applicant’s anticipated first day of employment.
  • Random: Each calendar year, a certain percentage of UnitedHealth Group employees who are directly involved in the access or dispensing of drugs, in direct patient care roles and/or in the driving of patients will be subject to random drug testing. The tests are unannounced, spread throughout the year, and the selection of employees will be made by a scientifically valid method. See more information in Random Testing Process.
  • Post-Accident: Employees who drive patients are subject to post-accident drug and alcohol testing as a condition of employment with UnitedHealth Group. See more information in Post-Accident Testing Process.
  • Return-to-duty and follow-up: Employees who test positive for drugs (see Terms below) or who otherwise violate this policy, but are not terminated, must pass a drug test before they can return to duty and are subject to follow-up drug testing at times and frequencies determined by UnitedHealth Group for up to two (2) years.

Employees who are leased or subcontracted to clients may also be required to be tested under those clients' drug and/or alcohol testing policies, provided that the policies comply with applicable law.


State and Local Law Addenda

Employees and Applicants located in the states below should also review the applicable resources specific to their location.

California - San Franscisco
North Carolina
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
West Virginia

Summary Of Collection Procedures 

UnitedHealth Group will follow the general collection and testing procedures set forth below:

  • Prior to testing, employees and applicants will be provided with a written statement describing the testing procedures and the substances for which the specimen will be tested. A signed, written consent and testing authorization form is required for all testing participants.
  • Employees and applicants shall be sent or transported to a designated collection site where they shall be required to verify their identity and otherwise cooperate in the site's normal specimen collection procedures.
  • The collection and testing will be conducted, in private, by trained individuals who will use approved testing devices and testing forms. Chain of custody procedures shall be maintained from collection to the time specimens may be discarded to ensure proper identification, labeling, recordkeeping, handling and testing of specimens. 
  • The laboratory will notify UnitedHealth Group of the test result in a confidential manner.


Drug Testing Procedures 

  • Collected specimens shall be tested by a certified laboratory. The laboratory shall test specimens for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, phencyclidine, ecstasy, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methadone, 6-acetylmorphine and Oxycodone and such other controlled substances as may be dictated by the circumstances in accordance with the requirements of applicable law. The laboratory shall first conduct a screen on the specimen. If the screen test is negative, the laboratory will report to UnitedHealth Group that the employee or applicant has passed the drug test. If the screen test is positive, the laboratory will analyze the employee's or applicant's specimen using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. The laboratory will send the test results to the Medical Review Officer (MRO) (see Terms below).
  • The MRO is responsible for ensuring the accuracy and integrity of the drug testing process. If an employee or applicant has a confirmed positive, adulterated, substituted or invalid drug test result (see Terms below), the MRO will contact the employee or applicant by telephone at the numbers listed on the custody and control form. Employees and applicants will be given the opportunity to fill out and sign a medication disclosure form.  Medical information shared with the MRO will be treated as confidential and not shared with UnitedHealth Group.  Employees and applicants should promptly cooperate with the MRO.
  • The MRO shall advise UnitedHealth Group, in a confidential manner, if an employee or applicant has passed or failed the test, refused to cooperate, if a specimen is dilute (see Terms below), or if a test should be canceled. If the MRO determines that there is a legitimate medical explanation for a positive, adulterated, or substituted test result, the MRO will report a negative test result to UnitedHealth Group. If the employee or applicant does not provide a legitimate medical explanation for a positive test result, the MRO will verify the test result as positive. If the employee or applicant does not provide a legitimate medical explanation for an adulterated or substituted test result, the MRO will report to UnitedHealth Group that the employee or applicant has refused to take a drug test. Invalid test results will be canceled and, depending on the circumstances, may subject an employee or applicant to additional testing or to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or rescission of an employment offer.
  • The MRO shall advise employees and applicants that have non-negative results of their rights, if any, to have their same specimens retested or their split specimens tested by a different certified laboratory.


Alcohol Testing Procedures

  • When saliva and/or breath tests are used, UnitedHealth Group will follow the U.S. Department of Transportation guidelines for alcohol testing. A qualified Breath Alcohol Technician (BAT) or Screening Test Technician (STT) must use a DOT approved Alcohol Screening Device (ASD). A supervisor should not conduct alcohol tests.
  • Generally speaking, alcohol tests will utilize saliva and/or breath specimens and will be conducted (including a confirmation test, if indicated) at the collection site.
  • On occasion, or in certain locations, urine and/or blood tests will be utilized instead of breath and/or saliva. In these cases, the specimens will be collected and sent to the certified laboratory for screening and confirmation testing as appropriate.
  • If initial test is above the state-defined cutoff level, BAT or STT must conduct a confirmation breath test after a minimum 15-minute and no later than 30-minute wait after the initial test. Employee must not drink, eat or put anything in his or her mouth. BAT must use approved Evidential Breath Testing (EBT) device for confirmation test.
  • After submitting to the test, the employee will be transported home pending completion of the investigation.



UnitedHealth Group reserves the right to inspect all parts and aspects of its premises for illegal drugs, alcohol or other contraband. All employees, contractors and visitors may be asked to cooperate in inspections of their persons, work areas and property (such as purses, wallets, toolboxes, lunch boxes, water coolers, thermos bottles, flasks, briefcases, desks, cabinets, lockers or cars) that might conceal illegal drugs, alcohol or other contraband.  


Policy Violation 

  • Applicants who test positive for drugs, who have a confirmed adulterated or substituted test result, or who refuse to cooperate (see Terms below) in a drug test will have their conditional offers of employment rescinded by UnitedHealth Group.
  • Employees who refuse to cooperate in a drug and/or alcohol test may be subject to termination of employment.
  • Employees who test positive for drugs and/or alcohol or who otherwise violate this policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. 
  • Depending on the circumstances, an employee's return to work, reinstatement, and/or continued employment may be conditioned on the employee's successful participation in and/or completion of any and all evaluations, counseling, treatments, and rehabilitation programs, passing of return-to-duty and follow-up tests, and/or other appropriate conditions as determined by UnitedHealth Group. 
  • UnitedHealth Group may take disciplinary and/or other appropriate action when an employee or contractor is involved in any conduct or crime that damages UnitedHealth Group's operations or reputation.


Voluntary Requests For Assistance 

UnitedHealth Group encourages employees with drug and alcohol problems to seek help from UnitedHealth Group's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) before becoming subject to discipline for violating this or other UnitedHealth Group policies.

Employees will not be disciplined by UnitedHealth Group because they request assistance. Employees may not, however, escape discipline by requesting assistance after they violate UnitedHealth Group's policies or are notified of their selection for drug and/or alcohol testing. In addition, employees who request assistance will not be excused from complying with UnitedHealth Group's policies, including its standards for employee performance and conduct.   


Workplace Crimes Involving Drugs 

Employees who are convicted of, plead guilty to (including a plea of nolo contendere or no contest), or are sentenced for a crime involving illegal drugs in the workplace must report the conviction, plea or sentence to Employee Center within five (5) calendar days after such conviction, plea or sentence. If an employee who is convicted of, pleads guilty to or is sentenced for a crime involving illegal drugs performs work directly relating to UnitedHealth Group's contracts or grants with a state or the federal government, UnitedHealth Group will report such conviction, plea or sentence to the appropriate agency within ten (10) calendar days after it receives notice. 


Records And Confidentiality 

Information and records relating to test results and other medical information shall be kept confidential and maintained in files separate from employee’s personnel files. Such records and information may be disclosed to employees and applicants to whom they relate, any third party designated in writing by an employee or an applicant, the MRO, UnitedHealth Group's EAP, a substance abuse professional, physician or other health care provider responsible for determining an employee's or applicant’s ability to safely perform his/her job and/or the employee's successful participation in and/or completion of any and all evaluations, counseling, treatments, and rehabilitation programs, Employee Center, to and among UnitedHealth Group's Human Capital Department personnel, supervisors, and other employees on a need to know basis, where relevant to UnitedHealth Group's defense in a grievance, arbitration, administrative proceeding, lawsuit or other legal proceeding, or as required or otherwise permitted by law.  



Adulterated specimen – A urine specimen that contains a substance that is not normally present in human urine, or contains a substance that is normally present but is at a concentration in-consistent with human urine.

Alcohol – The intoxicating agent in beverage alcohol or any low molecular weight alcohols such as ethyl, methyl or isopropyl alcohol. The term includes beer, wine, spirits and medications such as cough syrup that contain alcohol.

Company premises – Company premises include, but are not limited to, all land, property, buildings, offices, facilities, grounds, parking lots, and places owned, leased, managed or used by UnitedHealth Group.

Company vehicle – All vehicles owned, leased or used by UnitedHealth Group and all vehicles that are used by employees, regardless of who owns or leases them, while performing work for UnitedHealth Group.

Dilute specimen – A urine specimen that has creatinine and specific gravity values that are lower than expected for human urine.

Illegal drugs – All controlled substances, designer drugs, and other drugs not placed in any schedule by the federal government that are not being used or possessed under the supervision of a licensed health care professional. (Controlled substances are listed in Schedules I-V of 21 U.S.C. § 812 and 21 C.F.R. Part 1308.)

Medical Review Officer (MRO) – A licensed physician who has knowledge, training and clinical experience regarding substance abuse disorders and who will, among other things, review candidates' and employees' positive drug test results and evaluate any medical explanations for such results.

Refuse to cooperate – Refusing to take a drug and/or alcohol test, not promptly proceeding directly to a collection site when told to do so, attempting to provide or providing an adulterated or substituted specimen, failing to provide sufficient specimens, failing to sign testing and other required forms and any other conduct that disrupts or interferes with the collection and testing process.

Substituted specimen – A urine specimen that has creatinine and specific gravity values that are so diminished that they are not consistent with human urine.

Test positive for drugs or alcohol – To take a drug or alcohol test that results in a concentration of alcohol or drugs (or their metabolites) that exceeds the cutoff levels that are established by UnitedHealth Group. See more information in Cutoff Levels for Drug and Alcohol Testing.

Under the influence – To test positive for drugs and/or alcohol or display actions, appearance, speech or bodily odors which reasonably cause UnitedHealth Group to conclude that the employee is impaired because of illegal drug use or alcohol use.