United Healthcare Insurance Co., Minnetonka, Minn., will pay $3.5 million to settle whistle-blower allegations that its telephone response unit knowingly mishandled calls from Medicare beneficiaries and providers to mislead the CMS about its performance and obtain higher reimbursement. The CMS compensates carriers and fiscal intermediaries based on certain performance standards. The unit processed durable medical equipment claims from Medicare beneficiaries, providers and suppliers from 1995 to 2000. In a news release, the company's parent, UnitedHealth Group, said, "These reporting errors pertain to an administrative business unit that UnitedHealth Group exited four years ago." The company said it "discovered inherited problems in that business, promptly self-reported them, and cooperated fully with federal oversight agencies." The whistle-blower, a former United Healthcare employee, filed a False Claims Act lawsuit in 2001. -- by Mark Taylor
Former durable equipment carrier settles claims
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