DOJ brings lawsuit against Cigna for allegedly submitting $1.4 billion in false Medicare Advantage claims

Jannie Delucca

The Section of Justice on Tuesday filed a lawsuit from well being insurance provider Cigna alleging that the corporation submitted fraudulent Medicare Gain claims to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Products and services.

The accommodate claims that involving 2012 and 2017 Cigna utilized incorrect diagnostic codes for well being conditions that its associates did not have, ended up not recorded in clinical information and ended up not based mostly on clinically trusted information. About the program of that time, CMS overpaid Cigna by much more than $one.four billion, according to the DOJ.

“[Cigna] intentionally misrepresented these well being conditions as element of a common scheme to coax CMS into paying out a bigger capitated charge on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in [Cigna’s] Medicare Gain strategies,” the DOJ mentioned in its assert.

Cigna developed its 360 Method in 2012, in which strategy associates would acquire an “increased edition of an yearly wellness stop by” from their primary care health practitioner. The application was mentioned to near gaps in care and detect well being conditions that ended up heading undetected.

“Even while [Cigna] pitched 360 in this manner, high-quality of care was not the underlying purpose of the 360 application,” the DOJ mentioned. “The application centered on a business design devised by [Cigna] in which 360 would be utilized to uncover well being conditions that could raise the threat scores of the Plan Associates and hence boost the every month capitated payments that CMS paid to [Cigna].”

The lawsuit also alleges that Cigna sought out vendors that ended up unfamiliar with patients’ well being background to take part in the 360 application. After taking part vendors conducted a specific volume of 360 visits, they received a $150 reward per stop by and ended up paid $one,000 every single time they attended a 360 instruction seminar, the DOJ mentioned.

The office is seeking an sum equal to a few times the sum of the $one.four billion in damages as very well as a civil penalty of $11,000 for every single violation.

WHY THIS Issues

Under Medicare Gain, CMS pays well being insurers a every month capitated charge based mostly on a beneficiary’s threat rating, which is determined based mostly on the member’s relative well being standing.

In this threat adjustment design, insurers received higher payment for strategy associates that have serious and costly well being conditions.

Cigna has mentioned that it will protect by itself from unjustified allegations.

THE Greater Trend

Previously this yr, the DOJ hit Anthem with a very similar lawsuit involving fraudulent Medicare Gain threat scores.

The scenario accused Anthem of a 1-sided assessment of a beneficiary’s clinical chart to uncover extra codes to submit to CMS to attain income, with no also figuring out and deleting inaccurate diagnostic codes. This created $100 million or much more a yr in extra income for Anthem, the DOJ mentioned.

ON THE Document

“We are very pleased of our industry-top Medicare Gain application and the manner in which we carry out our business. We will vigorously protect Cigna from all unjustified allegations,” Cigna instructed Healthcare Finance Information.

Twitter: @HackettMallory
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