United Healthcare Insurance Co., Minnetonka, Minn., and Travelers Insurance Co., Hartford, Conn., will pay $9.7 million and $10.9 million, respectively, to resolve civil whistleblower charges related to their activities as Medicare intermediaries from 1988 to 2000. First Travelers and then United allegedly falsified expense reports to obtain higher reimbursement and performance incentives to which they were not entitled. Travelers, now owned by Citigroup and out of the health insurance market, allegedly kept two sets of accounting books: one with its actual costs and one with the costs reported to the government. When United, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, took over the fiscal-intermediary contracts in 1995 the company "engaged in the same fraudulent billing practices," the U.S. attorney in New York City alleged. Both companies settled without admitting guilt. Travelers spokesman Bob Nolan said the company "denies any wrongdoing in the case. Today's settlement announcement closes a chapter on an issue that dates back almost a decade." United Healthcare officials could not be reached for comment at deadline. -- by Mark Taylor
Firms settle charges over fiscal intermediary work
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